Entry Level Luxury sedan is one of the most popular segment in motoring world since they carry the badges and dignity of some of the most prestigious automakers. This means that these models get the new technologies, drive quality and of course the cachet of automakers.
This section was already red hot in India due to the presence of BMW 3-series, Audi A3, Volvo S60 and to infuriate the fire the luxury car maker Mercedes-Benz recently launched its highly anticipated new entry-level saloon CLA Class after making its debut at the 2014 Indian Auto Expo.
This advanced piece of machinery is based on Mercedes’ new MFA (Modular Front-Wheel Architecture) platform and has been elegantly engineered to be very refreshing, sportier and premium in order to grab young buyers.
The CLA is a gorgeously engineered car with frameless doors; twin exhaust and coupe like design are the main attractions in the car and is also one of the most aerodynamic cars in the world that has coefficient of discharge of 0.22.
Seating: The seat itself gets an integrated headrest much like the A Class. The front seats are electrically adjustable and get memory function as well. For people with low memory and high on comfort demands like the most of us are, Mercedes has added a feature which allows your seat position to be etched into the car’s memory and can be fetched anytime later which just the press of a couple of buttons. Thank you Mercedes, for allowing us to be lazier! ;)
Inside the car: The new three spoke steering wheel is very peppy to hold. The leather-wrapped steering wheel, 60/40 split-folding rear seat feels premium. Trunk space of 470L is good, with a flat load floor and has a few useful storage bins in the cabin for small items.
Offered in two variants, where even the base model gets a panoramic sunroof and electric seats and top-end variant will get you Bi-Xenon headlights, a COMAND infotainment system with 5.8-inch screen and Harman Kardon speaker system and the comfort ground clearance.
The new saloon comes with disc brakes at the front and rear, with 17-inch wheels shod on 225/45 tyres. The amenities include standard rain-sensing wipers, in-car Internet connectivity and Bluetooth hands-free calling and music streaming, HD Radio, and a USB port.
The fine-tuned suspension and Comfort Suspension are enough to provide a comfortable ride. Despite being a front wheel drive, the car is capable enough of provide a more than satisfactory drive.
CLA comes with standard 6 air bags to provide the utmost safety to its passengers. Along with it other cutting edge technologies have also been included like Antilock braking system with EBD, Electronic Stability Program, Antiskid Reduction and the car scored 5/5 in recent crash tests.
Under the hood
Mercedes offers two powertrain options for their notchback vehicle. First one (CLA 200 CDI) is a 2.2 liter four-cylinder diesel engine that churns out 134 bhp and 300 Nm of torque. A 7-speed dual-clutch transmission drives the front wheels. Flat out, the CLA 200 CDI does 0-100 km/h in 9.8 seconds.
Second one (CLA 200) is powered by a 2.0-liter four-cylinder turbocharged petrol engine dissipating 181 bhp and 300 Nm of torque which improves its 0-100 km/h time to 7.8 seconds. The transmission is once again the same 7-speed dual-clutch unit.
Mercedes claims a fuel efficiency of 15.04 km/l for the petrol and 17.9 km/l for the diesel.
The petrol variant is priced at Rs. 35 Lakhs and diesel powered car is priced at Rs. 31.1 Lakh which is quite aggressive looking at the other options from the competitors.
Space: But what disappointed us here is the tight space in the back seat with unsatisfactory thigh support and somewhat difficult entry and exit in through the rear doors. The spare wheel is mounted on the boot floor of the car.
Lousy Engine: The diesel engine is very noisy as compared to its other competitors like Audi’s 2.0 TDI engine. The gearbox also feels a bit lethargic and not matching up with the performance of the car.
High power to weight ratio: CLA at the 1.5-tonne weight also has a very high power to weight ratio and this heavy weight mars the performance of the car up to some extent.
In the nutshell, there are many good points for which this car can be bought, like its looks, build, and ride quality, but we cannot oversee the negatives like the loud engine, space compromises and extra weight. The final decision lies with the buyers! ;)
By Kartik Chaudhary