Muscle-bound baby Benz gets a new look and more gear

Back in January of 2013, Mercedes-Benz pulled the sheets on the CLA Class at the North American International Auto Show. The car was a bit of a gamble for the German automaker, combining a compact, entry-level platform with four doors and a fastback coupe roofline. The formula ended up working and the CLA went on to be a smash hit, selling in record numbers across the globe. Alongside more pedestrian specifications was the hotrod AMG model, which packed in aggressive styling, driver-oriented interior amenities, sharper suspension, and a serious power boost. Last year, the AMG CLA45 got even more underhood performance, and now, Mercedes is giving it a refresh with new body components and new cabin equipment.

Overall, it’s a pretty mild update for the four-door coupe, but considering the car’s popularity, not to mention last year’s horsepower infusion, Mercedes didn’t need to do much to keep the buyers rolling in.

Continue reading to learn more about the 2017 Mercedes-AMG CLA45.

  • 2017 Mercedes-AMG CLA45
  • Year:
    2017
  • Make:
  • Model:
  • Engine:
    inline-4
  • Horsepower @ RPM:
    375 @ 6000
  • Torque @ RPM:
    350 @ 2250
  • Displacement:
    2.0 L
  • 0-60 time:
    4.1 sec.
  • Top Speed:
    155 mph
  • Price:
    52000 (Est.)
  • car segment:
  • body style:

Exterior

2017 Mercedes-AMG CLA45
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2017 Mercedes-AMG CLA45
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2017 Mercedes-AMG CLA45
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Mercedes says it originally intended for the CLA45 to resemble the much larger (and far more imposing) CLS 3 AMG, and on balance, the similarities are abundantly obvious. This still holds true as we enter the 2017 model year, even down to the slew of minor exterior styling tweaks rendered for the latest CLA refresh.

As far as performance is concerned, Mercedes says the CLA45 now boasts better aerodynamics and a lower coefficient of drag than the outgoing model

As far as performance is concerned, Mercedes says the CLA45 now boasts better aerodynamics and a lower coefficient of drag than the outgoing model. Aesthetically speaking, the new model is every bit as aggressive as before, boldly declaring its sporting intensions compared to the lesser CLA trim levels.

In front, there’s a new fascia, which is dominated by a standard radiator grille finished in silver chrome and bisected by Merc’s tri-pointed star. There’s also a new “A-wing design” front bumper with matte titanium grey inserts and high-gloss black canards in the corners.

LED headlights are now standard, with projectors for the low beams and reflectors for the high beams. The lights use a color temperature that supposedly matches natural daylight, easing eyestrain for the driver when compared to typical xenon lights. They LEDs also consume less energy than xenon or halogen bulbs. Meanwhile, the turn signals, daytime running lights, and corner lamps all use multifunctional fiber-optic cables.

There’s a new bumper in back as well, complemented by a new design for the trunk-mounted AMG lip spoiler and rear diffuser. The exhaust pipes are integrated directly into the bumper. LEDs are once again used in the taillights, which now offer “automatic intensity control,” which reduces glare for following vehicles using three different settings – daytime, nighttime stationary, and nighttime driving.

More aggression and downforce can be had with the optional AMG Aerodynamics package, which adds a larger front splitter, additional canards, a new rear spoiler, and black accents for the faux vents in the corners of the rear bumper.

Paint options include Jupiter Red, Cirrus White, Night Black, Cosmos Black, Northern Lights Violet, Polar Silver, Mountain Grey, Orient Brown, and Designo Polar Magno Silver. Joining these is a new metallic hue called Lunar Blue.

Styling packages include bits and pieces in high-gloss black with the AMG Night package, plus composites galore with the AMG Exterior Carbon-fiber package.

There are two new wheel designs for the alloy rollers. Standard equipment includes 18x8.0-inch ten-spoke pieces in either titanium grey of high-sheen black, or you can opt for the larger 19x8.0-inch cross-spoke pieces in matte black titanium with a high-sheen rim.

Interior

2017 Mercedes-AMG CLA45 High Resolution Interior
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Like the exterior, the CLA45 comes equipped with aggressive cues in the cabin as well, lest you forget its performance-oriented disposition. That means steel sport pedals with grip-enhancing rubber bumps, an AMG-specific flat-bottomed steering wheel, and AMG-specific instrumentation.

The CLA45 comes equipped with aggressive cues in the cabin as well, lest you forget its performance-oriented disposition

Not a whole lot changed inside for the 2017 model year – the look and layout is basically identical to the previous model, and you still get x-cross air vents, highly bolstered sport seats, and tons of red contrast stitching. There’s a silver finish for the center console controls and door-mounted electrically adjustable seat controls, as well as a few bits with a matte painted finish. AMG logos abound. Depending on which upholstery option you go for, color combos include either black and red, or black and silver.

Convenience is upped thanks to hands-free access to the cargo area, an option that’s available through the Premium Package. Just swing your foot around the rear bumper to pop the trunk.

Infotainment is enhanced thanks to the new optional Smartphone Integration package, which offers voice-activated control via Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. A rear-view backup camera is added to the list of standard equipment, as is a slimmer-looking freestanding 8-inch infotainment display screen.

Further interior upgrades come with the optional AMG Dinamica Interior Package, which throws in Dinamica trim pieces and Dinamica wrapping for the steering wheel. Also expect a full leather package, a carbon fiber trim package, and a slew of AMG-branded goodies, from floor mats to bucket racing seats.

Drivetrain

2017 Mercedes-AMG CLA45
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Last September, the CLA45 got a significant drivetrain upgrade, including more power, the AMG Dynamic Select driving mode feature, and shorter gear ratios for the AMG Speedshift dual-clutch automatic transmission. Understandably, this 2017 model year refresh soldiers on without anything new under the hood.

A run from 0 to 60 mph takes 4.1 seconds, while top speed is electronically limited at 155 mph.

That means you still get a turbocharged 2.0-liter inline four-cylinder engine, which produces 375 horsepower at 6,000 rpm, and 350 pound-feet of torque at 2,250 rpm. There’s an eco-friendly start/stop feature, and an ear-hole-friendly active exhaust flap (the exhaust flap is part of the optional AMG sport exhaust).

The muscle is routed through a standard 4Matic AWD system, which usually operates with 100 percent of the torque in the front, but can split 50/50 front to back when needed.

A run from 0 to 60 mph takes 4.1 seconds, while top speed is electronically limited at 155 mph.

Making the stop are AMG sport brakes, which come with drilled and slotted rotors sized at 13.8-inches in front and 13-inches in the rear. Adding that last bit of zing is the option for red paint on the calipers.

Chassis And Handling

2017 Mercedes-AMG CLA45 High Resolution Exterior
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As previously stated, the CLA45 is equipped with the Dynamic Select system, which lets the driver choose between various settings that alter the engine, transmission, and steering for either comfort or sportiness.

The CLA45 is equipped with the Dynamic Select system, which lets the driver choose between various settings

AMG tuned the four-wheel independent suspension, which uses struts and wishbones in front, and a four-link set-up in the rear. The steering is rack-and-pinion with electromechanical power assist. There’s also three-stage electronic stability control.

One very cool feature is the predictive braking technology. Quickly lift off the throttle, and the pads will automatically move closer to the rotors for a more immediate response if needed. The system will also automatically apply friction to the rotors in the rain to clear the surface of water, and it’ll hold the car in place to prevent rollback when starting on a hill.

The standard wheel and tire package gets 235/40 R18 rubber, while the larger optional wheels get 235/35 R19 tires.

Further options include adaptive suspension, as well as a mechanical limited-slip front differential as part of the Dynamic Plus package.

Safety

2017 Mercedes-AMG CLA45 Wallpaper quality
- image 669715

The CLA45 was already outfitted with a variety of passive and active safety technology, and the new model carries these over unaltered. Some of the more interesting features include Active Brake Assist, which automatically applies the brakes when detecting a possible collision, and Attention Assist, which monitors driving behavior and issues a visual and audible warning if distracted driving is detected.

Prices

Mercedes has yet to release exact pricing for the 2017 AMG CLA45, but considering the mild nature of this refresh, I wouldn’t expect a significant price increase over the current $50,000 MSRP. $52,000 should be about right.

Look for more details when the car debuts at the 2016 New York International Auto Show. Dealer deliveries are expected by the third quarter of 2016.

Competition

Audi S3 Sedan

2015 Audi S3 Sedan High Resolution Exterior
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As is tradition, the big three German makes can’t resist a little friendly competition, which means Audi has an obvious answer to the CLA45. Anyone looking for a compact luxury sedan with four rings on the nose will get into the S3 sedan, and like the Merc, there’s a turbo four-cylinder under the hood, and an AWD system making the grip. Output is rated at 292 horsepower and 280 pound-feet of torque, which means the Audi is a little slower to 60 mph, with 4.4 seconds required to hit the benchmark. However, pricing is lower too, starting at $42,500.

Read the full review here.

BMW M2

2016 - 2018 BMW M2 High Resolution Exterior
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While still small and luxury-laden, the M2 is undoubtedly the sportiest pick here, offering just two doors and routing torque exclusively to the rear axle. A turbocharged inline six-cylinder offers 365 horsepower and 369 pound-feet of torque at full chat, which is good enough for a sprint from 0 to 60 mph in 4.2 seconds. Best of all, you can row your own with a six-speed manual gearbox. Pricing starts at $52,695.

Read the full review here.

Conclusion

2017 Mercedes-AMG CLA45 High Resolution Exterior
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Given the power boost that the CLA45 got back in September, this relatively mild refresh from Mercedes is entirely justified. A few tweaks to the aesthetics and some updated features in the cabin are all you really need when there’s a 375-horsepower four-banger under the hood.

All told, this is a fantastic entry into the Mercedes-AMG brand. It’s an accurate representation of models higher up the performance-house food chain, yet it comes at a relatively low price point (at least I expect it too). Sure, it’s not exactly understated or terribly refined, but thus is the AMG way.

If you want class and elegance, look elsewhere. This is a car that’s all about gaudy carbon fiber and full-throttle blasts just to hear the exhaust pop and burble between shifts. And that’s just fine with me.

  • Leave it
    • Ostentatious to the max
    • Track options that’ll probably never see the track
    • More speed for less money offered elsewhere

Press Release

The sporty, expressive design of the CLA is now further honed in a facelift involving new front and rear bumpers as well as new light-alloy wheel designs. The interior also benefits from numerous enhancements, among them new seat covers and trim parts, as well as chrome-plated controls. LED High Performance headlamps, HANDS-FREE ACCESS and further possibilities for integrating smartphones into the control system are all options that serve to enhance safety and comfort. The addition of Active Brake Assist as a standard feature further strengthens the CLA’s credentials as a leader in its class, as does HANDS-FREE ACCESS as an optional convenience feature. The Mercedes-AMG CLA45 now features even more dynamic styling and a further upgraded interior. With a peak performance of 375 hp and maximum torque of 350 lb-ft, it is amongst the most powerful vehicles in its segment.

2017 Mercedes-AMG CLA45 Wallpaper quality
- image 669715

The facelifted version of the CLA 4-door Coupe will make its physical debut at the New York International Auto Show on March 23rd. The 2017 CLA will be available in US- dealerships in the third quarter of 2016.

In undertaking the facelift modifications, the Mercedes-Benz designers have subtly honed the distinctive look of the CLA. All models now have a new front bumper with a silver, black or chrome trim strip. The rear bumper is optionally available with a panel incorporating a trim strip in chrome or black (Night Package) between the tailpipes. The tailpipe trim panels themselves are now integrated flush into the bumper. This adds visual width to the vehicle and ensures a superior high-quality appearance thanks to even and narrow gaps where the panels join.

There is a new metallic paint available, Lunar Blue. Most of the available wheels now feature a new design – overall, six different wheels are available to chose from for the CLA250. The CLA previously included the latest generation of assistance and safetysystems that are, in some cases, only now gradually being introduced in the other model series. Among these are Active Brake Assist as standard (known until now as COLLISION PREVENTION ASSIST PLUS), which is able to trigger autonomous braking as a means of reducing the danger of rear-end collisions, as well as the transmission mode selection function DYNAMIC SELECT. With this system the vehicle characteristics can be adjusted at the touch of a button, as the system modifies the engine, transmission and steering feel. The ambient lighting system, which can be individualized by setting any one of twelve color moods, has been part of the specification since the start.

The interior: slimmer display, new trim parts, chrome-plated controls

The interior also benefits from features such as new seat covers and trim parts, as well as chrome-plated controls. The highlight here is a much slimmer-looking freestanding 8-inch media display with a new-style glass cover, standard equipment in the US. The new-style dials and red needles in the instrument cluster make it easier to read the instruments.

2017 Mercedes-AMG CLA45
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Meticulous attention to detail is also evident from the silver chrome finish to the controls and to the fascia and switches in the doors for the electrically adjustable seats, as well as from the chrome surround to the stowage compartment in the center console.

New trim elements in sail-look finish, matt black ash wood, black DINAMICA microfiber trim (optional in conjunction with the Sport Package Plus) or aluminum with honeycomb grain, serve to liven up the interior. There is also a revised range of seat covers: for the optionally available Interior Package there is a new leather upholstery option in beige/black.

The equipment features: LED High Performance headlamps as an option

The CLA is optionally available with LED High Performance headlamps with a color temperature that is closer to that of daylight than traditional xenon headlamps. This is more restful to the eyes and therefore provides relief to the driver at night. The 34-watt LED low-beam headlamps also have very low energy consumption – around 60 percent less than xenon and around 70 percent less than halogen.

The low-beam headlamps use LED projection technology, while the main-beam headlamps use LED reflection technology. Direction indicators, daytime running lamps and position lights are in the form of multifunctional fiber-optic cables, which are also used for the ’Coming Home’ function. As all lights use LED technology, there is never a need to change a bulb over the entire service life of the vehicle.

The new optional LED High Performance headlamps are combined with automatic intensity control tail lights, which reduce the dazzling effect for vehicles following. The multi-level functionality regulates the brightness of the brake lights and direction indicators in three stages (Day/Night-time driving/Night-time stationary).

Loading becomes easier with the HANDS-FREE ACCESS option. This system allows the trunk lid or tailgate to be opened without any physical contact; all it takes is a motion of the foot in the area of the rear bumper. HANDS-FREE ACCESS is now included as part of the Premium Package.

2017 Mercedes-AMG CLA45
- image 669717

The optionally-available Smartphone Integration Package allows the integration and voice-operated control of iPhones® and Android smartphones via Apple CarPlay® and Android Auto™ respectively. Selected functions can be operated using vehicle controls, thus allowing safe use even while on the move.

A Rear View Camera is now included in the standard equipment for the United States.

Drive system: Efficient and dynamic

The four-cylinder engine in the CLA250 delivers an output of 208 hp and is paired as standard with the 7G-DCT. It is available in both front-wheel drive or with optional 4MATIC.

Latest AMG design language and improved aerodynamics: AMG CLA45

"Avant-garde meets Driving Performance" is the motto for the Mercedes-AMG CLA45. Offering a unique combination of a sporty driving experience, extravagant design and maximum individuality, the CLA45 also benefits from updated exterior asthetics. LED High Performance headlamps now come as standard, as does the twin louver radiator grille finished in silver chrome.

Aerodynamics have been further improved and the coefficient of drag has been reduced, all to the benefit of driving dynamics and stability. Further exterior features of the facelift include the AMG front bumper in a new A-wing design with front splitter inserts in matte titanium grey and high-gloss black flics, and a new design for the AMG lip spoiler on the trunk lid. New at the rear is the design of the diffuser insert, with four vertical fins. An AMG Aerodynamics package is now available as an optional extra. This comprises a larger front splitter, additional flics, a black AMG lip spoiler plus black accents over the simulated air outlets on the rear bumper.

Two attractive light-alloy wheels join the range: the standard specification includes 18 x 8.0-inch AMG ten-spoke wheels painted titanium grey or black and with a high-sheen finish, with 235/40 R 18 tires. Available as an option are 19 x 8-inch AMG cross-spoke light-alloy wheels with 235/35 R 19 tires. Here, too, there are two color variants, with matte black or titanium grey paintwork, in each case with a high-sheen rim flange.

2017 Mercedes-AMG CLA45
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The interior has been similarly upgraded and interiors are given an exclusive finishing touch of red contrasting topstitching. The new AMG trim design features a matte painted finish while the structure still has a polished surface that bears the AMG logo. It is available in black/red or in black/silver, depending on the chosen upholstery. Also new is the optional AMG DINAMICA Interior package with a trim element in DINAMICA as well as a full-DINAMICA AMG Performance steering wheel.

With a peak performance of 375 hp and maximum torque of 350 lb-ft, the Mercedes- AMG CLA45 4-door Coupe is among the most powerful vehicles in its segment, accelerating from 0 to 60 mph in just 4.1 seconds.

Extensive modifications undertaken by Mercedes-AMG last September had already added to the fun at the wheel and emotional appeal of the CLA. Along with the more powerful engine, the new features included the AMG DYNAMIC SELECT transmission modes as standard, plus shorter gear ratios of the AMG SPEEDSHIFT DCT 7-speed sport transmission. A mechanical limited-slip front differential is available in conjunction with the Dynamic Plus package (optional extra).

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