Punchy, responsive performance; sharp, fresh styling; a fresh alternative to the usual high-performance suspects
Front-biased power distribution takes away the traditional high-horsepower, tail-sliding hot rod appeal; though reasonably well-equipped, items such as a rearview camera should be standard; unproven reliability record may hamper confidence among some car buyers
The Mercedes-Benz CLA45 AMG is all-new and based on the just-introduced CLA-Class platform
The 2014 Mercedes-Benz CLA45 AMG has few direct competitors from other manufacturers offering comparable performance for the price, boding well for this stylish small sedan. Though it lacks a spacious rear seating area and may feel less plush than its high-dollar stablemates, the CLA45 should satisfy most new car buyers looking for a powerful and capable 4-door that won't break the bank.
Unlike the entry level CLA250, the CLA45 AMG is finished with a more generous list of standard items, including leather upholstery and sporty bodywork. That said, we'd suggest opting for a Multimedia Package and calling it a day; after all, this small sedan stands out for nailing the high-performance niche, and CLA45 AMG shoppers are likely more focused on its athletic abilities than luxurious bells and whistles.
The 2014 CLA45 AMG ($48,375) comes in one trim level only, and its MSRP represents a $18,475 premium over the standard CLA250 model. The CLA45 AMG comes with features such as HD radio, sport seats with a 14-way adjustable driver seat, Bluetooth audio, ambient interior lighting and split folding rear seats. Standard safety features include attention assist, LED daytime running headlights and collision-prevention assist.
Cosmetic exterior options include 19-inch AMG wheels in silver or black ($850), a panorama roof ($1,480) and a carbon fiber package ($3,700). Inside, aluminum trim is standard, while burl walnut, black ash or carbon fiber accents run an extra $325. AMG performance front seats ($2,250) add a layer of sportiness to the cabin, while top-stitched MB-Tex simulation leather on the upper dash and door areas add $1,500 to the MSRP, and a performance steering wheel can be had for $500.
The Premium Package ($2,300) offers dual-zone climate control, heated front seats, a Harman Kardon Logic7 surround sound system and SiriusXM radio, while a Multimedia Package ($2,370) includes a rearview camera, an 80-gig navigation system with a 7-in screen and heated seats that can be ordered a la carte for $850.
A Driver Assistance Package ($2,500) adds adaptive cruise control, blind spot assist, lane-keeping assist and collision-prevention assist plus. If you're unsatisfied with the off-the-shelf AMG suspension, an AMG Driver's Package ($1,950) delivers stiffer suspension with 19-in wheels, red brake calipers and a higher top speed. The self-parking Parktronic system runs $970, while the AMG performance exhaust will cost you $450. Blind spot assist can be ordered solo for $550.
|Basic||4 Years/50,000 Miles|
|Drivetrain||4 Years/50,000 Miles|
|Corrosion||4 Years/50,000 Miles|
|Roadside Assistance||4 Years/50,000 Miles|
Audi S3 -- Not quite an apples-to-apples competitor against the CLA45, this upcoming compact sport sedan packs less heat (290 hp) and is more than 8 inches shorter than the Benz. But it will also run for about $6,000 less than the AMG, making it a smaller and lower-performance (but rather attractive) alternative to the CLA45 AMG.
BMW 335i -- It lacks the all-out performance of the CLA45 AMG, but the $43,400 Bimmer is likely to draw some CLA45 shoppers with its proven record, balanced road manners and prestigious nameplate.
Mercedes-Benz C63 AMG -- This soon-to-be-defunct AMG model may sit directly on top of the CLA45 in the Mercedes-Benz lineup (and eclipse the CLA with its $60,250 entry price), but with discounts likely reaching this outgoing model, we wouldn't be surprised if its higher performance lured some would-be CLA45 buyers.