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2019 Mercedes-AMG CLA 45 S Review | carsales

2019 Mercedes-AMG CLA 45 S Review | carsales

Now Mercedes AMG might be synonymous with
big, brawny V8 sports sedans but there is no shortage of excitement around this car. It’s the new second generation CLA 45 and
we’ll see it in Australian showrooms early next year. The CLA has been a game changer for AMG, opening
the door to a much larger following than before and driving record sales. For take two there is more power, greater
performance and a broadened on-road skill set, partially brought about by changes to
the donor car – the CLA passenger sedan. The headline item for this car is undoubtedly
its engine. The world’s most powerful series production
four cylinder. You’re getting 310 kilowatts and 500 newton
meters which converts to a nought to one hundred time of four seconds flat. The fire power is supported by six piston
brakes up front, a stiffened body shell, wider front track and re-engineered steering rack. There’s also a new all-wheel drive system
with a torque control function which electronically varies the amount of power sent to each rear
wheel. While inside the baby AMG picks up the latest
infotainment, tech and safety. Now yes, there is a lot of focus on those
performance enhancements but on the road there has been a real concerted effort to make this
car more rounded than before, and it shows. The cabin isn’t quite as noisy as the original. The ride isn’t as harsh and the engine has
lost that elasticity that really defined the original. You’ve got an eight speed automatic that’s
a lot smoother with its shifts as well. So, all in all you’re getting more performance
but you’re also getting more comfort and that’s a good thing. Up the ante a little bit and it is incredible
just how effortless it is to hustle the CLA 45 along a back road. You’ve got all that torque from down low
on the rev range, you’ve got a really effective all-wheel drive system and some really handy
electronic parameters which mean that this, kind of, really feels out of its comfort zone. And on a couple of the hill climbs that we’ve
encountered today, I don’t reckon there’s many cars out there that would be much quicker
than this. Everything is just so easy. Downsides for the road? The low speed ride is still jiggly at best
and the CLA is still prone to some torque steer under heavy acceleration, which lends
it an inherent front driven vibe. But that said, there is a new found charm
to the all-wheel drive system. Behold drift mode. What you’re getting is two multi disk clutches
on the rear axle, one for each wheel. And if all of that sounds familiar that’s
because it’s very similar to the system employed on the Ford Focus RS. And, just like that car, the CLA 45 is quite
partial to a little bit of drifting. It works and yes, it still feels inherently
like a front driven car but it really does give this sports car a whole another dimension;
a lot of fun on a closed road. Elsewhere it feels clinical and planted on
a circuit. Unbelievable just how competent this is for
a road car to be doing the sort of things that it does do on a circuit. Yes, it’s not quite as light footed and
agile as the A45 but it does everything up to, sort of, 95% just as well. The thing that I keep coming away from with
the CLA 45 is just how easy it is to exploit speed from. It feels planted, it feels secure and yet,
with the safety net of that all-wheel drive system, it’s a car that you can really,
confidently push. And its dancing around on circuit and I am
barely breaking a sweat. With the changes to the all-wheel drive system,
a more linear power delivery and way more technology, the CLA 45 really punches above
its weight as a junior sports event. And I can’t see any reason why it won’t
continue to be one of AMGs best sellers.

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