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First Drive in a Mercedes CLA250

34616 Views 40 Replies 18 Participants Last post by  matthew
That is some negative insight to the CLA. hmmm..

The idea sounded fraught with danger: another sub-$30,000 Benz, this time with a transverse engine, front-wheel drivetrain. Apparitions of chintzy C-Class Sport Coupes (but with terminal understeer) danced in my head as I winged toward the launch in St. Tropez, France. Is the three-pointed star ready to go slumming again? Isn’t this VW territory?

I’ll spare you the suspense, because after driving the car for about as long as you’ve been reading this review, it became crystal clear that this new CLA is no C-Class Sport Coupe. That car was sort of a cynical play to get a low advertised price that could lure folks into the showroom, where they might be talked upmarket. This one is all about meeting Euro CO2 and U.S. CAFE regulations. Mercedes needs people—a lot of new people—to want this car, not one of the bigger ones into which salesmen of yore might reflexively have tried to upgrade them.

Or maybe its for people who own Mercedes vehicles that are more expensive and want a daily driver that is more economical... idiot

And what reasons do I have to buy a C250 over the CLA250? I'd take the CLA250 sorry.

Somewhat miraculously, given the torque at play, the driver’s sense of touch is never troubled with torque steer. I tried standing on the gas from a stop with the wheel turned, kicking down mid-corner at low speeds, and nuthin’. This is impressive, considering there’s no tricky multi-link virtual steering axis front suspension at work—just a humble strut and control-arm setup. It’s either magic, or (as Mercedes asserts) such forces are being cancelled by the electric power steering, which also allegedly compensates for extreme road crowns and heavy crosswinds, and applies corrective steering if the driver hasn’t mastered “steering into a skid.”
For the record, I also sampled a 4Matic all-wheel-drive system that incorporates a power takeoff in the seven-speed DCT, and an electronic clutch on the rear differential that dials in as much rear torque as conditions call for, between 100 percent front-wheel drive and nearly 100 percent rear if the fronts are in mid-air or on wet glare ice. The system is supposedly lighter than most as well.

Did anyone just read that? 100 percent power to the rear for the 4Matic system? :eek:

Overall he seemed to enjoy the car. It is a good read and there are many new photos of the CLA 250

2014 Mercedes-Benz CLA250 First Drive - Motor Trend
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CAR Magazine First Drive CLA220 CDI Review

Mercedes CLA220 CDI (2013) CAR review | Road Testing Reviews | Car Magazine Online

You can read the whole thing there but I'll skip to the best part for me
It handled well. The editor liked the direct steer variable steering rack, the steering ratio is nice and qucik, chassis is very impressive and composed, the ride is still comfortable, the criticism was on the dual clutch transmission. It was knocked for being slow and laggy.
How does the CLA cope in the twisties?

It’s actually quite accomplished. All models get Direct Steer variable-ratio steering racks, which means the steering feels normal on fairly straight roads, but it’s much quicker to respond on tighter twists and turns. Dive into a hairpin, for instance, and you won’t need to move your hands from the quarter-to-three position – it lends a real sense of agility to the CLA.
The chassis is impressive too, especially when you consider our slightly rolly comfort set-up: it bites keenly into tighter corners and ducks and dives along faster sections with a real feeling of agility. Yes, it’s easy to tell that the front tyres are doing the work, but there’s no sense of torque steer on these admittedly smooth roads and traction-control intervention is pretty restrained.
Sadly, what the steering and chassis adds, the dual-clutch gearbox takes away – it’s too dopey in auto mode, and it still lags behind when you’re in manual. VW’s dual-clutcher is far superior.

The CLA might not be perfect, but it’s hard not to conclude that its market positioning is a bit of a masterstroke from Mercedes: it looks distinctive and special (if strangely proportioned from some angles), slots into a market niche somewhere above the VW Jetta and below the BMW 3-series, and generally drives well.
The gearbox is a letdown, you’ll need more space in the back if you regularly carry passengers and we wish the diesel powerplant was more refined, but the CLA will doubtless hold wide appeal for the younger audience that Mercedes craves.

Check out the gallery in the link above.
Whatcar first drive of the Mercedes CLA

2013 Mercedes CLA review - What Car?

What's the 2013 Mercedes CLA like to drive?

The latest A-Class doesn't ride very well at all, so the fact that the CLA has the same basic suspension setup doesn't bode well

The good news is that Mercedes has made various changes to improve comfort, including tweaking the damper settings and installing rubber bushings between the rear subframe and chassis.

These modifications have certainly improved matters. Stick with ‘comfort' suspension – confusingly fitted as standard to Sport models – and the CLA actually rides quite well at high speeds.

Things aren't so impressive around town, though; the suspension struggles to cope over poor road surfaces, causing the car to shimmy nervously.

The fairly soft setup means body movements aren't well controlled, either. Turn the wheel and the body slops over before the nose of the car begins to start pointing where you want it to go. On the plus side the steering is nicely weighted and there's plenty of grip.

Sport suspension (an option on Sport models and standard on AMG Sport versions) certainly sharpens things up, helping the CLA respond more quickly to steering inputs and keeping the body upright through tight bends.

The bad news is that the firmer setup makes the ride choppier at all speeds, and means sharp-edged bumps and potholes send bigger jolts through the cabin. Whichever suspension you choose, there's a fair amount of road noise over coarse surfaces, while at motorway speeds you can hear the wind whistling past the door mirrors.
I prefer that we are getting the sport suspension here in north america. I don't mind the firmness.
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Autoblog Mercedes CLA 250 Sport Mini-Review/Test Drive

Autoblog Mercedes CLA 250 Sport Mini-Review/Test Drive

Hit the link for the gallery and full report
2014 Mercedes-Benz CLA 250 Sport First Drive

Starting at $30,825 in the US with front-wheel drive and around $33,500 with the all-wheel-drive 4Matic system
Wow. This statement made by day.

And this one just made it better

While we did just get finished harping on about the sport suspension's roughness, once we got out on wide open roads with hairpins, bends and the like, this chassis tune showed that it was both capable and smooth – even on those brick-like 18-inchers. Understeer was minimal, weight transfer was very good, and we felt no untoward torque steer while punching the throttle coming out of turns. This was reassuring, seeing as the CLA is 1.5 inches longer and a little wider than a C-Class, while sharing the 2.4-inch-shorter wheelbase of the A-Class, along with the A's slightly narrower tracks. Weighing 150 pounds or so less than the most equivalent C-class sedan also helps its dynamics.
There are lots of new photos and tons of information in the review.

Like this.. Check this out

Mr. Guido Vent in charge of gas engine development on smaller Mercedes vehicles, tells us that there is an unadvertised overboost effect during kickdown with one's foot to the floor, which results in roughly 13 more hp and 15 more lb-ft of torque for brief bursts.
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Edmunds 2014 Mercedes CLA250 First Drive

Edmunds 2014 Mercedes CLA250 First Drive
(2.0L 4-cyl. Turbo 7-speed Automated Manual)

Will Anybody Notice the Difference?
The biggest hurdle facing the CLA is whether it feels like a Mercedes-Benz, or at least what Americans think a Mercedes-Benz should feel like anyway. After driving a CLA250 on a combination of tight back roads, crowded city streets and fast highways, we doubt many people will notice that the front wheels are doing all the work.

Much of the credit goes to the fact that there's very little tugging at the steering wheel during acceleration. So-called torque steer is typically a dead giveaway that a car is having trouble steering and propelling itself with the same wheels. We tried to get the CLA to squirm with big doses of throttle, but the steering wheel barely quivered, even when pulling away from a stop.
Mercedes says this is a result of its Direct Steer system, which is the company's name for its latest electric power steering setup. It not only helps to control torque steer, it makes the CLA more efficient by not drawing power when it's driving in a straight line. More importantly, the engineers were able to tune the feel of the CLA's steering to the point where it provides solid road feel and precise control without the artificial lightness that often comes with electric assistance.
All U.S.-bound CLA250s will have a standard sport suspension that yields a lower ride height and firmer ride quality than the "luxury" model that will be standard in Europe. The ride quality isn't overly stiff and tire noise isn't bad, especially considering how little wind noise there is because of the sleek body.
I am actually surprised at how well people are reviewing the FWD. So it seems like it is a pretty good FWD system. With that said I am even more excited for the 4Matic system. In another article it stated up to 100% power to the rear... I am flabbergasted.
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Autoweek Mercedes Benz CLA Drive Review

Autoweek Mercedes Benz CLA Drive Review

Mercedes-Benz CLA Class drive review - Autoweek

Hit the link to read the full review and view the gallery of the CLA

And the part that we all want to read
What's It Like To Drive?
When you consider that you could spend this much money on any number of compact and mid-sized sedans both foreign and domestic, the value equation of this well-built and well-equipped baby Benz becomes clear. Mercedes loaded it up with safety features including Distronic cruise control, attention assist to keep you between the lines, and collision prevention assist, which senses imminent impacts and puts on the brakes.
A new connectivity feature connects your smart phone via mbrace2 to efficiently and cheaply integrate numerous apps, from Aha to Glympse to Facebook (which it reads to you) and beyond. The only thing missing is a convenient place to stow the connected phone -- in our demos it slid around in the glove box, but Mercedes says an under-the-armrest connection will be on U.S. models.
At 125 mph there is almost no wind noise and the car is as stable and flat as a freshly fried kartoffelpuffer. Handling in both front- and all-wheel drive versions was also safe and stable if prone to occasional understeer when pushed hard. While it's perhaps not lively by sports- and sporty-car standards, that might not have been the engineers' goal. Roll, dive and squat are controlled better than anything else in the class -- and in a few other classes. The ride is on the firm side but not uncomfortable. It's more well-controlled than taut. Europeans will get a choice of suspension calibrations but we in the U.S. will get only the Sport version. If it's not particularly sporty, that just means the AMG version, debuting at the New York auto show shortly, has more room for improvement.
The front seats lack for nothing, with multiple adjustments and plenty of head-, leg- and shoulder room. The back seats, while comfortably adequate for shorter people who don't necessarily want to see much of the outside world, are cramped for adults, especially in headroom. Back seats would be perfect for, say, child stars who don't want to be seen while being chauffered around. Small price to pay for all that style the roofline affords.

Read more: Mercedes-Benz CLA Class drive review - Autoweek
Follow us: @AutoweekUSA on Twitter | AutoweekUSA on Facebook
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AutoExpress Mercedes CLA 220 CDI Review

Mercedes CLA 220 CDI review | Auto Express

Link for article and gallery



The Mercedes CLA is an interesting proposition – it’s a front-wheel-drive Mercedes saloon that offers a little more boot space than the C-Class, but with a design that’s even more eye-catching. Depending on your needs, it could be exactly what you’re after. It’s just worth bearing in mind that rear passengers will be much happier in the roomier but less stylish C-Class.

Read more: Mercedes CLA 220 CDI review | Auto Express
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2014 Mercedes-Benz CLA250 Test Drive - popular mechanics

2014 Mercedes-Benz CLA250 Test Drive

2014 Mercedes-Benz CLA250 Test Drive - Popular Mechanics

Visit the link for the full review and gallery

Driving Character: Does this feel like a Mercedes-Benz? Yes. It also feels like a front-wheel-drive car, but we have a feeling that people looking to put the CLA in their driveway won't care. From the column shift lever to the accurate steering, the CLA is familiar to anybody who has driven its larger siblings.

Motoring around southern France on our preview program, the CLA impressed us with its suspension tuning, which is firm but allows for enough body roll and bump compliance to stay comfortable. And the wind-cheating design has the secondary benefit of keeping things quiet. We could hardly hear any wind noise, even at highway speeds.

Push the CLA hard into a corner and it responds willingly, but steering with the drive wheels eventually reaches a limit that results in mild understeer. We also sampled the 4Matic all-wheel-drive CLA, which sends power to the rear wheels as needed, and found it more eager to jump out of hairpins and more stable though high-speed corners. The seven-speed dual-clutch automatic defaults to an efficiency mode when the car is turned on, and it has a preference for high gears and is reluctant to downshift. It's not a problem during normal driving, but on adrenaline-inducing roads it's necessary to switch to sport mode or shift using the steering wheel paddles.

Read more: 2014 Mercedes-Benz CLA250 Test Drive - Popular Mechanics
Mercedes Benz CLA 220 CDI First Drive - motoring au

Mercedes-Benz CLA 220 CDI: First Drive -

What we liked
>>Perfectly damped ride
>>Lovely exterior design
>>Economical engines

Not so much
>>Cramped rear seat
>>Long overhangs
>>Head banging rear entry

>> Strong and solid, with great ride quality
The single biggest issue with driving any of the CLAs on any crowded road has nothing to do with the engine or the chassis dynamics. It's the vision. You just can't see anything you need to see out of any window save the front one.

The rear window is small enough, but the main rear mirror takes care of it. But the thick B-pillars and thicker, raked C-pillars combine with the front passenger's headrest to make the car's blind-spot warning system absolutely critical. It's very difficult to turn your head and see cars in the next lane.

We tested it several times, with one car moving into another car's blind spot and there are areas on each side of the car that are nigh-on impossible to see into. We even tested it sitting still by walking into blind spots and each time we knocked on the window, it was a surprise to the driver. That sounds damning, and it is meant to be, but can be somewhat mitigated by the Blind Spot Assistant and no car is in more serious need of it.

For all that, it's a very pleasant place to be, especially up front. There is a stylish centre that marries the best of the A-Class's interior with its own flavour and a large feature panel across the dash to add a feeling of width.

The Comfort pack's leather-rimmed steering wheel fits beautifully in the hands, while the seats are instantly supportive and combine with a wrap-around dash to give a cocoon feeling.

The 1.6-litre CLA 200 motor is a nice enough thing, firing up quietly and getting on with the job with a soft-gloved strength that is stronger at its lower reaches than a small four-cylinder petrol engine has any real right to be.

Around town, it's a really nice little package, even with the six-speed manual attached (we weren't offered a seven-speed with it). It climbs up its rev range easily and without tantrum, but it follows the Benz strategy of “down-speeding” its engines as well as down-sizing them, so its best work is all done and dusted by 4500rpm. Sure, it will rev up into the high fives, but its trait of preferring to live in its bottom two-thirds gives it the performance character of a diesel without the extra noise and harshness. Or the fuel economy.

Speaking of which, the 220 CDI's 2143cc motor isn't quite the smoothest four-cylinder prestige diesel going around, but it's strong at almost every point in its rev range. The torque is the star, delivering 350Nm from 1400rpm until the power curve takes over, and that's how it feels to drive.

It doesn't matter whether you're on full throttle or ambling away with the rest of the traffic, the diesel always seems to be operating with plenty in reserve. Its overtaking is simple and crisp with strength in reserve, even though it only posts an 8.2 second sprint to 100km/h.

The CLA 250's engine is easily the strongest package here, though the step up in performance at low to middling rpm isn't quite what you'd imagine.

It's smooth, though, especially below 4000rpm, and delivers some real character when you're asking it to work harder between 3800 and 4500rpm. It can get a little scratchy in its feel out beyond 5300 or so, but that's all part of the down-speeding and it never feels uncomfortable.

If the engine is better described as 'serviceable' rather than 'a highlight', the seven-speed dual-clutch transmission is also less than outstanding. It suffered from a few jolting downshifts in the CLA 250 we drove, which Benz put down to an untested software patch, but was otherwise a little less crisp than we've found in other versions.

It was fine in the diesel, and Benz explained that by admitting the diesel dual-clutch transmissions have different control software for a different, softer feel than the units attached to the petrol engines.

In none of the CLAs, though, are the engines a highlight. They fit into the packages nicely, but none of them leave you thinking “wow” at their prowess, nor do you leave thinking anything negative of them.

The best part of the CLA's on-road package is the way it rides. The steering system is a little slow, particularly in those critical few degrees just off-centre, which means the car isn't going to cut it as a baby sports sedan. Our advice would be to forget the Sports pack, because what it does best is deliver a beautifully damped ride.

The car's damping is absolutely bang on for even the bumpiest roads while the handling is tremendously competent without ever feeling like it's inviting you to explore its depths. Instead of teasing you with baby sports car-style entertainment, it feels calm and reassuring, always promising to take care of you should things go wrong, which isn't a message in keeping with the body style.

It's a hard car to put in a pigeon-hole, though. It looks like a baby sports sedan, but it rides like a baby E-Class, but with even more assurance. It looks small, but is actually quite large, except inside. Its boot is usefully large, but its rear seat isn't.

You'd come for the looks and stay for its unshakeable commitment to keeping you comfortable – and for plenty of people that will be enough.

But given the competition, it's just very good. It's not great and it's no Golf.
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All the reviews seem to agree that it drives and handles decent. Not too much understeer and they like the steering system. I am happy for that. The 4Matic system being able to send all of the power to the rear makes me even more excited to drive a 4Matic CLA.
Preview: 2014 Mercedes-Benz CLA

Mercedes-Benz CLA250 - Road & Track

road and track and on the CLA

Not much we haven't already read.

I am curious if the 4MATIC in the AMG model will be tuned differently. The 4Matic in the regular CLA seems to be tuned towards bad weather rather than performance driving.
Mercedes autos have never been perfect. I'd reserve judgement for your own test drive. Everyone has different expectations and standards.
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