FWD Mercedes-Benz CLA250 sedan gets mixed reviews

Article by Anita Panait, on November 13, 2013

Mercedes-Benz, as a luxury carmaker, typically prices its products at a premium. That could be the reason why its new entry-level CLA sedan front-wheel-drive, which is offered at less than $30,000, excluding destination charges, has raised some differing remarks among reviewers. With its low price and front-wheel-drive configuration, reviewers have voiced their remarks on whether the CLA sedan is really a Mercedes.

For instance, Edmunds.com said that even among rwd Mercedes owners, it is hard to tell if the 2014 Mercedes CLA250 is front-wheel drive, since it accelerates and steers with the precision of more elite models.

Consumer Reports came up with a harsher review, saying the CLA250 is not a smooth-riding Mercedes-Benz vehicle. It said that CLA250 car “feels brittle on some impacts,” making the ride stiff. It added that the CLA has sacrificed cabin quietness.

It noted that while day-to-day handling is decent, the CLA falls short of real agility. AutoWeek is more positive in its review, saying that the car is “as stable and flat as a freshly fried kartoffelpuffer.” It noted that roll, dive and squat for the CLA are controlled better than anything else in the class.

Autoblog, meanwhile, said that improvements can be made in some areas to make the non-AMG CLA “a knockout hit” in the sedan segment. It suggested a more inclusive suspension strategy, improvement of the feel of the electromechanical steering and Direct Steer, and further refinement of the 7G DCT.

Wall Street Journal praised the CLA’s CLA45 AMG 4MATIC engine. It remarked that the single, twin-scroll turbocharger provides CLA’s four-cylinder V8-like torque and flexibility.

The new Mercedes CLA four-door coupe comes with an unmistakable appearance, as defined by its spectacular sporty proportions and its dynamic design idiom as well as by harmonious interplay between concave and convex surfaces.

On the front, the new CLA is marked by a bonnet with power domes as well as by a diamond radiator grille flanked by high-tech headlamps. Meanwhile, the unique layout of the LED units and the light modules – all lurking behind the cover glass of the headlamps -- help create characteristic "flare effect" for the daytime driving lights and indicators. This lighting signature gives the CLA its new face while lending the car with a vivid look.

The new CLA is indeed a further development of the already iconic Mercedes CLS four-door sedan, as evident on the several design details. For instance, the new CLA comes with three prominent lines that lend the side profile of the four-door coupe its structure, depth and dynamism, with the front structural edge over the wings flowing towards the rear section in a distinctive dropping line. The second character line spans the shoulder muscle just above the rear axle, while the third feature line flows -- in a sweeping curve -- from the front wheel to the rear.

Featuring a dynamic yet graceful interplay between convex and concave surfaces and edges, the rear end of the new CLA has been designed to emphasize the coupe’s width, power and sportiness. Its coupe-like nature is revealed on the rear through the gently sloping roof contour and the signature curve of the rear window.

Thanks to drawn-in C-pillars and the shoulder muscle over the rear wheel arch linings, the rear impresses with athleticism. The muscular lines of the shoulders extend into the rear end and frame the tail lights. The lights feature a horizontal orientation while its functions come with an arrow-style layout.

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