Tuesday
July 29, 2014

CLA 200

Monday, June 30, 2014

Mercedes-Benz revolutionizes the coupé sedan

By Carlos A. Pefaur
Herald Staff
The Mercedes-Benz CLA is a compact coupé sedan form that combines the revolutionary range of NGCC models (New Generation Compact Cars) developed by Mercedes-Benz, with which the German carmaker has fully entered a new phase. The other models that make up the range are the new Mercedes Benz A Class and B Class.

I was able to drive the Mercedes-Benz CLA 200 with a 7G-DCT gearbox. This car, like it or not, catches the eye. The CLA Mercedes opens the door to much younger customers. This is the first sedan with a transverse engine and front wheel drive.

The typical roof line of a coupé and the high waistline are pleasant, which along with its highlighted flank muscles offer an overall aerodynamic shape. The combination of different measures leave the new CLA with an air resistance coefficient only found in a vehicle of this kind (Cx 0.23). The design has perfect proportions as well.

High-quality materials and precision workmanship will satisfy customers’ demands.

Outside and inside

The features of the front are quite similar to those of the A Class. It is equally aggressive, but has more personality in the form of optical stretching, lower air intakes and a lower hood. The tires, encased on 17-inch five-spoke rims, have a unique design that combines black with bare aluminum.

While observing the car’s profile, what is striking is that the waistline falls all the way to the rear fender while on the other hand, the lower rib rises. In my opinion the drop in the ceiling and the curvature of the trunk are two of the most notable strengths in the design. They give grace to the overall shape and also much dynamism. The lovely coupé figure of the CLS is deceiving, as there are no window frames.

In short, the car does seem somewhat more compact than it actually is. It is 4.63 metres long and has a generous wheelbase of 2.70 metres, identical to that of the A Class.

The inside is also nice, but less original than the outside, keeping a higher correlation with the A Class, especially in its dash board and commands. Circular air vents with metal appliques, an element that extends the steering wheel, central console and part of the doors, are new incorporations. In the best of Mercedes’ style, elegance and sobriety have been combined with an admittedly youthful style. The dashboard’s guauges feature a colour central display for the computer, which guarantees good reading conditions. There is also top-level materials and finishing.

Its commands make for a comfortable driving position (outstanding seat ergonomics), while the interior features impeccable soundproofing. The most critical point is that the rear seats, while offering proper legroom, for a solid wheelbase, do not offer sufficient headroom, because of the nice roof depression in that sector.

The trunk has a 470 litre capacity, 34 centimetres more than the A Class, which offers 341 litres. It has enough space for a spare tire, but it does not come with one, because the four Run-Flat tires are designed to run even if punctured.

Engine

The 1.6 turbo engine under the hood delivers 156 HP, featuring four cylinders and 16-valve direct injection that delivers maximum power at 5,300 rpm. But more important is torque, which consists of 250 Nm from just 1,250 rpm. It reaches a top speed of 230 kmph, with acceleration from zero to 100 kmph achieved in just 8.2 seconds. To travel 100 kilometres on the highway at 100 kmph, the engine consumes 4.9 litres, and moving up to 130 kmph, consumption reaches 6.7 litres. For the same distance, it uses up 10.5 litres in city.

This is a car that is agile in urban traffic, and agrees very well with the highway because, besides being serene, relaxed travelling is guaranteed by proper gearbox phasing.

This is a highly resilient engine that truly propels “from below,” and also holds up in middle revolutions and still thrusts you forward in higher ones. All this, of course, is the result of a partnership with the fantastic dual-clutch automatic transmission with seven speeds called Mercedes-Benz 7G-DCT, which is both soft and sharp. Additionally, you can choose between two driving modes: Eco, which prioritizes fuel economy, and Sport, stretching gear shifts and delivering a stronger throttle response.

Equipment and safety

It has automatic climate control; on-board computer; multimedia tablet style screen; CD, MP3, USB and Bluetooth input; park assist; electrically adjustable mirrors (not folded); and directional bi-xenon headlights, among the most important features.

ABS brakes stand out in the security category; ESP; traction control; seven airbags; Isofix hooks; and tire pressure monitoring. Its structure allowed maximum five star rating for EuronNCAP in crash tests, with high standards of protection for adults, children and pedestrians.

Conclusions

The car is intuitive and modern, has ergonomic seats, and its commands guarantee an enjoyable driving position. Everything is under control. These parameters offer a desirable degree of comfort in a vehicle. The new CLA satisfies these requirements with flying colours. Standard equipment meets the highest expectations. The numerous options allow the coupé to fulfill the wishes of the most exclusive customization. Finally, the motor is flawless.

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