We get behind the wheel of the most aerodynamic car on the planet, Geraldine Herbert drives the new Mercedes CLA
What is it? Mercedes have taken the excellent A Class hatchback and turned it into a super stylish and delectable saloon. The result is a slick four seater with rakish looks and coupe like curves.
Who is it aimed at? This sleek baby Benz was created to attract young buyers and aims to turn the heads of BMW 3 Series and Audi A3 saloon drivers.
Styling? The CLA is an unusual blend of aggressive but elegant styling and is simply stunning from every angle. The slopping roofline, muscular arches and distinctive LED lighting combine to give real road presence.
Under the Bonnet? Powering our test car was the 2.2-litre diesel engine a CLA 180 equipped with a 1,596 cc four-cylinder petrol engine developing 122 bhp and returning 50.4 mpg is also available.
What about Inside? Slip behind the wheel and the interior instantly feels luxurious helped by swaths of soft-touch materials and artico black leather throughout the cabin. The dash is reassuringly smartly styled and simple yet high tech. Space is good through and in the back while modest it is not quite the compromise you would expect from the sweeping coupe lines. Its snug but there’s enough legroom for adults and the boot is a very generous 470 litres.
On the Road? While the CLA never quite delivers the sporty performance that the exterior hints at on the road it drives well. The ride may be a little harsh for some but the handling more than compensates and it is as sharp as the CLA looks. Around the city it is noisy and the gear change is noticeably slow but on the motorway its a super smooth cruiser.
And Safety? Numerous driving assistance systems, including advanced Adapative Brake Lights, Attention Assist and Collision Prevention Assist, are standard. This system is able to warn the driver of an obstacle from a speed of 5 mph and to respond with precision braking as soon as the driver steps on the brake pedal.
Options? There are two model lines – Sport and AMG Sport – available with a choice of two engines and two suspension configurations.
What about fuel economy? Our diesel test car proved very economical on both urban and motorway driving and with CO2 emissions of just 117g/km. On a mix of urban and motorway driving it consumes a frugal 62.8mpg.
Okay so the Verdict? Mercedes have always had the ability to innovate and the new CLA brings an affordable dash of CLS glamour to the range. It is stunning to look at and beautifully finished inside and while it may be no hot hatch this stylish four door coupe is a welcome addition to the Benz family.
Why you’ll buy one? One of the most stylish cars on the road
Why you won’t? Visibility is bad; Disappointing drive
BMW 3 series Saloon – From £ 23,185
A3 Saloon –From £22,825
Mercedes-Benz CLA 220 CDi Urban
Engine: 2143cc, 170 bhp @ 3,400-4,000 rpm, 350Nm @ 1,400-3,400 rpm
Max speed: 143mph
0-100 kph: 8.2 seconds
Emissions: 117 g/km
Model price range: £24,355 – £31,555
No of Doors: 4
Euro NCAP: Not yet tested
Fuel type: Diesel
Fuel Economy (combined cycle): 62.8 mpg
Boot Capacity Seats up(down) : 470mm
Car Seats: 2 Isofix fittings in the rear
10th December, 2013