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Discussion Starter #1
I've been talking to some people about the CLA and it seems like most car guys blow it off because its FWD.

Does that bother you at all?

Also for the 4Matic. Are the 4Matics usually rear wheel drive bias?

I'm assuming the CLA 4Matic will be FWD bias?
 

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Personally I do like RWD moreso than FWD, but this is the auto enthusiasts in me talking. Though I don't think FWD are necessarily bad. For my children, I would prefer FWD over RWD because it is far safer.

In terms of the CLA, I will wait for the 4Matic.
 

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Rear wheel drive vehicle i believe handle much better than front wheel drive especially when it has to do with performance. I dont think rwd cars handle too well all year round. So it depends really what your using your car for. As a family vehicle i would prefer fwd.
 

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Here's a simple equation: AWD>RWD>FWD.

The only time RWD is better is on a track for drifting. I am also going to get the AWD CLA.
 

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Here's a simple equation: AWD>RWD>FWD
That equation is debatable, Depends for what purpose. I noticed that AWD don't handle as well as RWD. Whenever I car shop and test drive an AWD vehicle I tend to get turned of by the poor handling of the AWD. But for sure FWD is at the bottom of the food chain.
 

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RWD may have better handling but it's too unstable and causes oversteer. With AWD you may sacrifice a bit of handling but you have far more control/traction so you don't crash.
 

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There are many good reasons why Mercedes went with FWD for the CLA250. I think when you consider the people they're targeting with this car, a good number of wont care if it's FWD, RWD or AWD. I heard FWD setup are cheaper to produce and they get better gas mileage...maybe those are some more reasons why Mercedes decided to start the CLA as a FWD being it's cheapest sedan.
 

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Discussion Starter #8
The RWD/FWD vs AWD debate is different depending on what car you are referring too.

Some AWD systems are RWD most of the time while others are FWD most of the time. Some AWDs are 50/50 front and rear all the time.

Cars that are true AWD and 50/50 split experience some understeering which is what makes people think RWDs handle better. Handling is subjective, it depends if you are referring to lap times or referring to the driving characteristics (turn in, stability during turns, oversteer/understeer) or if you are just talking about pure driving enjoyment.

The 4Matic in the CLA is most likely front wheel drive biased. So its basically a FWD unless the car feels like the rear wheels need power to help it through. Generally when traction in the front is lost during turn in (understeer) it will send a certain percentage of power to the rear to help it through the turn.

Personally I think AWD (RWD or FWD bias) is a better rounded car over a RWD or a FWD. But some RWDs will still perform better vs a FWD bias AWD vehicle.

Keep in mind the base CLA being FWD doesn't mean it will be a bad handling car. There are some FWD vehicles that exhibit very little understeer through enginnering and design of the chassis and suspension.
 

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The RWD/FWD vs AWD debate is different depending on what car you are referring too.

Some AWD systems are RWD most of the time while others are FWD most of the time. Some AWDs are 50/50 front and rear all the time.

Cars that are true AWD and 50/50 split experience some understeering which is what makes people think RWDs handle better. Handling is subjective, it depends if you are referring to lap times or referring to the driving characteristics (turn in, stability during turns, oversteer/understeer) or if you are just talking about pure driving enjoyment.

The 4Matic in the CLA is most likely front wheel drive biased. So its basically a FWD unless the car feels like the rear wheels need power to help it through. Generally when traction in the front is lost during turn in (understeer) it will send a certain percentage of power to the rear to help it through the turn.

Personally I think AWD (RWD or FWD bias) is a better rounded car over a RWD or a FWD. But some RWDs will still perform better vs a FWD bias AWD vehicle.

Keep in mind the base CLA being FWD doesn't mean it will be a bad handling car. There are some FWD vehicles that exhibit very little understeer through enginnering and design of the chassis and suspension.
True!

Well aren't FWD cars usually known to be better handling cars? Aside from RWD cars from Porsche and cars like the FR-S and BRZ that have amazing handling.

I guess an AWD, FWD bias vehicle like the CLA isn't so bad after all.
 

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To answer the original question, "Does the CLA being FWD bother me?," the answer is actually that it's what first interested me in the new model. All handling isn't on nice dry roads with good gripping surfaces. A lot of my driving here in central Maine is on slippery roads from November into April every year, and for that FWD easily beats RWD. I say that having driven FWD, RWD, and 4WD here over the years. FWD is almost as good on snow as 4WD if the vehicles are equipped with decent snow tires.
 

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FWD is much nicer. Not everyone is a tire-shredding maniac like Jeremy Clarkson. Power oversteer looks cool....to 15 year olds.
 

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Discussion Starter #12
People who complain about FWD are people who are usually performance nuts. Or at least people who think they are performance nuts.

In a city driving environment there is no advantage of RWD over FWD. It is only on the track that it makes a difference. Even still there are many FWDs that are faster than RWDs on small-medium sized tracks. So unless you are a weekend track warrior there is no reason to not own a car because it is FWD. Of course unless you like drifting and sliding around the city - which probably isn't the best idea.

A FWD is more practical in wet and snowy weather.
 

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I believe that under 300hp a front wheel drive platform is just as capable as a rear wheel drive. It is only when you surpass 300hp where the front wheels start to have trouble handling the power without major modifications to the chassis and suspension ~~ usually resulting in a very race oriented car no suitable for the street.

There are many instances where a front wheel drive vehicle has kept up with or even exceeded the performance standard of rear platforms.

The revised 4Matic system is a very good one. Even though the 4Matic in the CLA is front wheel drive most of the time ~ it can send up to 60% percent of the power to the rear at a given moment under the right circumstances.
 

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FWD is much nicer. Not everyone is a tire-shredding maniac like Jeremy Clarkson. Power oversteer looks cool....to 15 year olds.
I think you might be the first person I ever have heard who favours FWD over RWD. But Larry is right, the topic did go off direction.

I really don't mind that the FWD, most cars I have owned have been. It's also the reason why CLA can be luxurious and as cheap as it is.
 

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Now with the FWD depending on what purpose your using it for everyday and what type of driver you are. Simply if your one not to care too much but want comfort then drivetrain is not a concern as you travel from A to B. If you were to tell me that the AMG 45 CLA was to come in FWD then i would tell you have a problem. On a front wheel drive with that much horsepower torque steer is your enemy!
 

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FWD vs FWD

I registered to this site since I just learned about this new FWD Merc. I note with interest this particular thread whether FWD can be a turnoff. Personally I would probably not buy a FWD car again, with all due respect to those with their opinion I will explain why. My current car is a '12 335i which of course is RWD, and my previous car was a '08 135i (also RWD).

Living in NE WI we typically have snow from Dec through the middle of April. Regardless of the car you drive, I do believe in having the right tire for the job. All seasons, are usually not very good in the dry, rain, or snow as they are a compromise. Having snows in winter (and performance summer tires the other months) is crucial. So equipped a car with a near 50/50 weight balance can be amazing in the snow.

As an auto enthusiast (why else would you be here?), would you agree that when given the opportunity to have control over the rear with your toe and opposite lock (steering) in a RWD car in an evasive maneuver when sliding is better than plowing straight ahead with perhaps a jab of the brakes to get the rear end out on a FWD car?

Someone sited FWD is safer? How exactly (all things being equal in terms of tire tread)? I submit FWD can be unsafe; let’s say you are doing 65 mph and you hit a patch of ice. The first thing people do is let off on the throttle, with FWD the rear of the car is not geared, and as soon as you lift and the tires loose grip - its hang on we are going off the road backend first! The most common type of car I see in the ditch is small FWD cars. Why? Light weight and probably bald read tires since most people think it’s all up to the front, true until you are doing highway speeds.

Of course most cars are now equipped with all speed traction control that can mitigate this FWD dynamic flaw. I defeat most of my traction control on my car in the snow, as I prefer to control the slip in the rear. Both of my teenage sons drove in the snow in a basic 2wd Ford Ranger p/u.

My company has a corporate Buick GS (270 hp FWD) that I drive in FL. In terms of dry handling, it sticks better than my BMW (Buick has wider stickier tires) and is a FTD car. However, the torque steer and general un-composed feel of the car in low gears at WOT fights me as the electronic control of brake bias and throttle does its best to maintain order of an overburdened front end. It feels inferior to RWD which allows me to have more fun with smoother control.:cool:

AWD is unnessesary IMO; its a bandaid for FWD based cars.
 

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The reason people conclude front wheel drive vehicles are safer in the snow is because of throttle control.

Give a RWD to someone who isn't very good at throttle control and he can get himself in trouble easily in a RWD. Winter tire or not. It's not hard to oversteer a RWD in the snow and to be honest most American drivers do not understand countersteer and do not understand how to handle oversteer.

In a front wheel drive in order to spin out you really have to be going fast. The back of the car sort of just follows the front and though it may step out in slick conditions all you have to do is keep going with the throttle and the front will pull through (in most cases)

Most drivers can't even tell when the back is stepping out. They are so disconnected with their cars they simply don't know what is going on.

Now in heavy and deep snow I can say that going straight in a FWD is easier to drive. In heavy snow storms rear wheel drive vehicles are extremely twitchy going straight, in a front wheel drive you just throttle through all the snow digging your way out.

Plus there is always the chance of getting stuck in a RWD that is front heavy. There just isn't enough weight in the back to get through fresh deep snow. I always get stuck in parking lots during snow storms even with the best winter tire.

From a performance perspective neither is better because not all RWD cars are well balanced. Oversteer hurts lap times as much as understeer does. You want a vehicle that is neutral at its limits. I have driven cars that can have neutral handling characteristics in all formats of engine placement and wheel drive. It all boils down to suspension tuning and chassis engineering.
 

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Traction is physics; 60%+ weight up front kills inertia when you turn on slippery surfaces with FWDriven wheels. I do not like the inability of FWD to power out of understeer in snowy conditions. While I have never attempted winter driving in the last of the nose heavy RWD cars, like a Mustang, I do know that having prepared a Fox body Fairmont for AutoX, they are inclined to understeer with really benign rear ends (unless you dig deep for a power slide) at least compared to a semi trailing arm IRS... For the record I have never gotten stuck in 50/50 BMW's with snow tires.

While one could debate winter driving characteristics, I am old school having grown up with RWD in snow, but also getting indoctrinated to the benefits of FWD in snow via 1800 lbs '80 Fiesta. As an aggressive driver however, I like the flexibility RWD allows for getting power to the ground.
 

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Traction is physics; 60%+ weight up front kills inertia when you turn on slippery surfaces with FWDriven wheels. I do not like the inability of FWD to power out of understeer in snowy conditions. While I have never attempted winter driving in the last of the nose heavy RWD cars, like a Mustang, I do know that having prepared a Fox body Fairmont for AutoX, they are inclined to understeer with really benign rear ends (unless you dig deep for a power slide) at least compared to a semi trailing arm IRS... For the record I have never gotten stuck in 50/50 BMW's with snow tires.

While one could debate winter driving characteristics, I am old school having grown up with RWD in snow, but also getting indoctrinated to the benefits of FWD in snow via 1800 lbs '80 Fiesta. As an aggressive driver however, I like the flexibility RWD allows for getting power to the ground.
I agree that RWD with an experience driver is fine in the winter.

But how many drivers are as experienced as you on the road?

Are CLA buyers going to all be great winter condition drivers?

A bad driver in a RWD in the snow = not good.

I have seen too many BMWs and Mercedes cars spin out of control in the winter. We don't need more old ladys and old men buying BMWs to winter drive them. Either buy FWD or AWD if you suck at driving.

But if you have the skills and sense to drive a RWD in the winter there is nothing wrong with that.

Good thing we have the option for a 4Matic. :p
 

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I have seen some front drive cars that are quick but there is no doubt that a rear wheel drive car is the most fun - even more so than an all wheel drive.

I will be getting the 4Matic version if I purchase the CLA. Best of both worlds. I like the news on the 4Matic system. Seems to be a great 4WD system.
 
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