Mercedes-Benz is recognized as a maker of some of the industry’s most refined and luxurious automobiles. So what happens when performance division AMG goes wild on the company’s new economy-platform sedan? We’re sure happy we got a chance to find out.
There’s no use trying to establish a raison d’etre for the 2014 Mercedes-Benz CLA45 AMG, the hopped-up, high-performance version of the German automaker’s popular new entry-level sedan. It’s not as complete a performance car as the outgoing C63 AMG, it lacks the effortless luxury character of other Mercedes-Benz offerings, and with optional equipment it quickly escalates to twice the price of the relative-bargain $30,000 CLA250.
So why can’t we stop thinking about driving the 2014 Mercedes-Benz CLA45 AMG? Because it makes us feel reckless and alive.
Arrogance of youth
As the little brother in the AMG lineup, the 2014 CLA45 AMG compensates like only a younger sibling can. It wants to be noticed while zipping around town with its aggressive aero package, contrasting black 19-inch wheels with red-painted calipers, and sexy LED taillights. Starting at $48,375, the CLA45 AMG is intended for younger buyers, or maybe simply those with neither the budget limits, refined taste, nor self-control to steer clear of something so brash. But we’ve all felt the itch to break the mold, and this compact AMG-modified Benz is a hell of a way to misbehave.
Living it up while behind the wheel
From nose to trunk, AMG tweaks every inch of the CLA for more performance. The cockpit glows with red and black trim (the black stuff is carbon fiber), and the driving position beckons with Recaro bucket seats detailed in aluminum and a flat-bottom steering wheel with a beefy rim. Get hyped at a stop light by revving up the 355-hp turbocharged four-cylinder engine in neutral for an instant, and savor every absurd crack and pop as the tachometer needle falls back down across the dial.
This small car's exhaust talks a big game, but the 2014 CLA45 AMG can walk the walk, too. In Sport mode the CLA45 launches with gusto, sending the hopped-up four-pot’s maximum 332 lb-ft of torque to all four wheels at as few as 2250 rpm. And you can fully wring out the four-cylinder turbo on your daily commute, while the other AMG cars with their powerful V-8s really only come alive on an autobahn or a track.
Baby Benz with AMG attitude
While the larger, similarly styled CLS63 AMG makes you feel elegant and stylish, the nimble little CLA45 makes you act like a buffoon. Think of it as the Subaru WRX STI in an Armani suit. It’s thrilling to weave through traffic while flicking the seven-speed dual-clutch automatic transmission from gear to gear with the nicely weighted shift paddle and listening to the turbo spit fury with gear change.
Who could resist? Certainly not us. During our time with the 2014 Mercedes-Benz CLA45 AMG, we managed our quickest commute yet to our new Detroit office. We think this speaks volumes not just for the CLA45's performance, but also what it does to drivers the second the road opens up. Whether you’re 25, 35, or 45, you’ll feel forever young in this bad-ass baby Benz.
2014 Mercedes CLA45 AMG
Engine:2.0-liter DOHC 16-valve I-4/355 hp @ 6000 rpm, 332 lb-ft @ 2250 rpm
Layout:Four-door, five-passenger, front-engine, all-wheel drive
L x W x H:184.7 in x 70 in x 55.7 in
EPA Mileage:23/31 mpg (city/highway)
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