Tuesday 12 December 2017

Mercedes hoping young owners will opt for 'baby' coupe

Eddie Cunningham

Eddie Cunningham

MERCEDES now have a compact four-door coupe on the market here. The CLA looks like a smaller CLS, so beloved for its sleek low-slung looks.

It is the most important of three debuts by the marque here this week – they also introduced an E-Class coupe and a cabriolet.

The CLA is part of Mercedes' drive to attract younger owners and this, especially in white, is smart looking with a particularly striking front, headlights and grille.

The cabin is well decked out and nicely finished.

I took a 1.6-litre 180 BE petrol (4.2l/100km) for a drive. It costs from €29,900 ex-works, which as of now makes it nearly €10,000 less expensive that the 2.2-litre 220 CDI diesel automatic (€39,000).

There will be a 200 CDI diesel from €34,900 later in the summer and a 180 CDI (€32,250) next year.

The petrol was a lot more spritely than I anticipated, and I reckon could fit the bill for anyone not doing too much driving – up to 15,000km and possibly more.

By its nature, it is low slung. Its shallow crescent roofline is integral to its look and stance, of course. However, the penalty you pay is seriously hindered rear-door headroom as you attempt to get in. There's not great room at the back either when you do get in.

There was a good, slick feel to the gearshift and even with two big passengers on board I had plenty of rear visibility. There's a decent boot. It drove lively enough. Suspension settings come in comfort mode as standard, but you can order sports as an option.

I prefer it in white, with red a close second. Not black though. It masks the many little design touches along the flanks and rear.

Mercedes told me their target is, of course, the BMW 3-series – right across the range.

As a four-door, it will also realistically nibble at its own C-Class. They expect 300 or so to buy one next year.

There are five spec levels and an emphasis on apps and social media.

An interesting car and one I think you will notice on the road.

REVAMP

Meanwhile, the E-Class coupe and cabriolet follow the saloon and estate with a major revamp. The coupe looked really well, with sweeping lines from its all-LED headlamps, front bumpers and air intake vents to the slightly raised rear.

The four-seater cabriolet shares with it a range of equipment that includes infotainment and intelligent driver-assistance systems.

There are several petrol and diesel engines – six petrols (with BlueDIRECT lean burn technology) and three diesels in four-cylinder, V6 and V8 formats.

The main seller here will be the 220CDI versions. The E-coupe starts at €47,360 (road tax €200) and the cabriolet 220CDI kicks off from €50,285 (road tax €270).

Irish Independent

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