How does that old saying go…? “Competition never sleeps.” This is one of the main reasons why Mercedes-Benz is in the middle of a full-on product offensive. Next to new gizmos and a mushrooming SUV line-up, they’ve also updated their entry-level offerings.
Where did it come from? The CLA compact sedan shares its platform with the A-Class hatchback; but only from the rebellious third generation onwards. Its maker now even offers you an A-Class sedan which, besides the position of the rear number plate, appears to be identical to this CLA four-door coupé.
So what is it? In a nutshell, the CLA is supposed to be a stylish, agile sub-compact executive sedan. And before we string you along any longer, this new C118 model hits all of those marks. Our press car was coated in Cosmos Black metallic with AMG Line kit (plus R52,100) and featured striking two-tone Neva Grey/Black seats.
How much? Prices for the base model start at R665,200 which includes a whole raft of active and passive safety features, as well as most imaginable mod-cons. Some tasty trim and toys are costly extras but we suspect that most CLA buyers will gladly shell out for even more style in their sleek new Mercedes.
Case in point… the new MBUX voice command centre does everything from phoning your granny to setting the temperature. Other highlights were the chameleon ambient lighting colours, space-ship cockpit shapes, multi-function touch-pad, compact digital instruments with multiple themes, as well as heated and vented seats.
Is it fast? Power comes from a 120kW 1.3L turbo-petrol four cylinder driving the front wheels via a 7-speed dual-clutch automatic gearbox. Mercedes claims average fuel use of 5.5L/100km from the 43L tank while 0-100km/h should take about 8.2 seconds with a top speed just shy of 230km/h.
Why you want one: Because it is achingly trendy, endlessly entertaining and decent to drive. The AMG 18- or 19-inch wheels sacrifice ride comfort while handling is pin-sharp with good grip and excellent safety nets. Included in the price are a 2-year warranty and a 5-year/100,000km service plan.
|Engine:||1.3 i-4 turbo-petrol|
|Transmission:||7-speed DCT, FWD|
|Avg. cons.:||Approx. 7L/100km (claimed 5.5)|
|0-100km/h:||8.21 seconds (claimed 8.2)|
|Top Speed:||Claimed 223km/h|