Complex Made Simple

Car review: Mercedes Benz CLA 250 4MATIC

The Mercedes Benz CLA 250 is regarded as a driver’s gateway into the world of the German carmaker, appealing to a younger client base with its relatively modest price of $31,500.

The four-door coupé stirs an initial powerful feel just with its modern appearance, which stands out from other, more classical, Benz models, almost belongs to the iconic AMG collection.

After spending a few days with a bright red CLA 250 4MATIC, it became clear that the car’s exterior never fails to impress its driver, nor passer-by. The combination of its curves and arches constantly recreates three-dimensional sculptures, reinventing its identity from every corner.

Smooth curves run across the length of the car, better accentuating its edges and full exterior. The bright red car, which Aficionado tested for a few days, perfectly suits its contemporary and sporty identity. The frameless door glass, rugged front grille, bold headlights and its panoramic gliding roof all add to the car’s overall modern look and feel.

Performance

Standard features in the CLA 250 include a 2.0-litre turbo-charged four-cylinder 208-horse-power engine, allowing it to generate more power with less fuel. The car also features a racing-inspired seven-speed transmission in dual clutches for a quicker gearshift than the traditional gearbox. The driver can choose between the ECO, Sport or Manual modes.

Meanwhile, a pair of paddles positioned right behind the steering-wheel spokes allow the driver to manually up-shift and down-shift the seven-speed transmission through a simple finger motion, as the hands remain firmly placed on the steering wheel.

The fuel-saving ECO Start/Stop system automatically shuts down the engine when the car comes to a full stop – at stoplights, extreme traffic jams and other situations. However, when the driver removes his/her foot from the brake, the engine restarts and immediately provides an acceleration response. The system can be used or shut off depending on the driver’s preference.

Combining the car’s sporty appearance and attitude, as well as its efficiency features, this model boasts the CLA’s first front-wheel drive system. However, an optional all-wheel drive selection can be set, featuring variable torque – an advanced generation of the 4MATIC developed especially for the CLA model. This system monitors wheel slips and can send up to 50 per cent of the engine torque to the rear wheel to respond to sudden changing conditions.

Interior

The CLA 250 cabin features four sporty seats, with racing-inspired head restraints. An additional seating space is placed for a fifth rider in the backseat. All seats face a smoothly curved dashboard, where a seven-inch screen is suspended at the centre. While built in, the screen looks seamlessly attached to the top of the dashboard and crowns an HD radio receiver with an in-dash DVD/CD space and SD card reader.

On the console between both front seats lies a central controller of the screen and a seven-inch colour display. This provides for convenient control of all audio, video, optional navigation and other functions. Besides the central controller, many features can be set and controlled through buttons placed on the steering wheel.

Safety

Digital visual alarms are integrated in the rear-view mirror and side mirrors, these optional alarms indicate direction of travel and alert the driver of approaching cars or other moving or static objects.

The innovative and adaptive brake system features an automatic brake initiation.

The car boasts an advanced ten-way airbag protection. All eight airbags are distributed with two front airbags, front side-impact head/torso airbags, front knee airbags and side-curtain airbags for both seating rows.

While not as loud as a rugged driver might hope, the CLA 250 is definitely an eye-catcher.