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2020 Mercedes-AMG CLA 45 4MATIC+ Review

CAR SIZE: sub-compact
BODY TYPE: Sedan
The AMG-branded vehicles offensive gained tremendous momentum in 2019. Since the beginning of the year, Mercedes’ performance division has been rolling out its own interpretation of most of the cars released by the mother company, and more are probably on the way.
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Among those many models is the new CLA 45, released at the same time with its A 45 sibling.

The car is based on the new generation CLA that was presented in January this year and joined the already launched CLA 35. The main difference between the two is the fact the 45 packs “the world's most powerful turbocharged four-cylinder engine manufactured for series production.”

1Exterior design & features

Just as with all the other AMG-tweaked machines, the CLA 45 brings, alongside the performance upgrades, a series of visual enhancements meant to give the car both a more aggressive look and better aerodynamics.

At the front of the CLA, these enhancements include the AMG-specific radiator grille with a wider lower contour, pronounced shark nose, and slim headlamps. Jet-like external air inlets are also present to emphasize the car’s relation with the AMG GT 4-door Coupé.

To improve aerodynamics, the car has been fitted with a front splitter that transitions into the side air curtains located in front of the front wheels, optimizing airflow. There is also a diffuser with four vertical twin fins and a spoiler lip on the boot lid.

2Interior design, features
and passenger space

The regular CLA borrowed all of its interior design to the CLA 45, but here too AMG worked its magic to create a unique interpretation of the model.

For the driver, the car offers contoured sport seats with lumbar support (also available for the front passenger), an AMG steering wheel and a center console on which the touchpad and switches for the ESP, the manual transmission mode and the AMG Ride Control are located.

Befitting the German brand, the materials and colors used to dress the interior are of very high quality. As standard, the car comes with Artico man-made leather and Dinamica microfibre on the seats, red designo seat belts and high-gloss black on the center console.

Complementing the look of the interior are red double topstitching on the seats, and yellow splashed here and there on various elements.

Careful detailing speaks for the AMG lineage, like the sports pedals in brushed stainless steel, black floor mats with AMG lettering, and AMG front entry sills.

3Gadgets

At the heart of the car’s communication with the driver lies the MBUX infotainment system. In the case of the CLA 45 though, this is not the regular MBUX, but an AMG-enhanced one.

The tweaks made by AMG to the car’s infotainment system includes the addition of the AMG Track Pace feature, a technology that tracks 80 vehicle-specific data to provide the driver with all the required info about driving style, driving times and car’s performance. Several world-famous tracks, including the Nürburgring or Spa Francorchamp, are already loaded into the system.

There are two screens in the CLA 45, one for the instrument cluster and one for control over auxiliary features. Both are encased behind a single glass sheet, creating what Mercedes calls Widescreen Cockpit.

4Performance

The engine used on the AMG CLA 45 is the same one deployed on the A 45 sibling. That is a hand-assembled 2.0-liter engine that works in conjunction with a new AMG SPEEDSHIFT DCT-8G dual-clutch transmission and the and 4MATIC+ all-wheel drive.

As said, AMG calls this unit the “world's most powerful turbocharged four-cylinder engine manufactured for series production” and the numbers more than back that claim.

The CLA 45 is offered in two versions, namely base and S. As a result, there are two distinct power levels for the engine: 387 hp / 480 NM of torque and 421 hp / 500 Nm of torque, respectively.

The car is capable of reaching a top speed of 250 km/h (155 mph), or 270 km/h (167 mph) for the S, and accelerates from a standstill to 100 km/h in 4.1 seconds (4 seconds flat for the S).

There are six driving modes available for the CLA 45, namely Slippery, Comfort, Sport, Sport +, Individual and Race.

5Safety

AMG spent a lot of effort in making the body of the CLA 45 stronger than the one used on the car it is based on. That’s because the requirements are higher, given the car’s power and performance levels.

The bodyshell of the car has been reinforced to provide “precise self-steering characteristics,” especially when driving at high speeds. The reinforcement was done by adding a lightweight aluminum plate under the engine, a strut tower brace between the front suspension struts and pistol-shaped shotguns, and diagonal struts both front and rear.

6Conclusion

The 2020 AMG CLA 45 goes on sale later in 2019, joining a range of compact performance vehicles that has significantly expanded this year.

Just as the car it is based on, the CLA, this variant aims to attract an increasing number of new customers to the brand, be it from the competition or in the form of buyers making the switch from a Benz CLA to an AMG one.

In Germany, the CLA 45 4MATIC+ retails for €60,095, and the S variant is priced at €65,688.