Had the opportunity to drive two model derivatives in the Mercedes-Benz CLA, namely the CLA 200 & 220D. If I had to name a favourite, from a drive perspective, definitely the 220D, but looks wise, the 200 gets my vote. It’s a good looking sedan for sure, and it gets the heads turning, coupled with great colouring. The matte colour in the 200 was awesome. The design underlines the coupé character with its stretched form and design elements such as the bonnet with powerdomes or the rear licence plate, which has been moved down. As such, it does justice to its predecessor’s status as a design icon.
Mercedes Benz has sold over 750 000 CLA’ S globally since it’s initial launch in 2013. The new edition of the CLA has been developed further in an intelligent way and is even more emotional and sportier than its predecessor. Coupled with new operating systems, it sets new benchmarks for the entire class.
The CLA 200 & 220D are four door coupes. They impress with its perfect proportions reflecting the first design sketch: a long, stretched bonnet, a compact greenhouse, a wide track with exposed wheel arches and our typical GT rear end with a strong distinctive ‘Coke-bottle shoulder. The combination of the long, stretched entry line above the windows and frameless doors give the CLA its unmistakeable sporty and elegant character. Forming the front end is the striking front section which is raked forwards like a shark nose with a long, stretched bonnet featuring powerdomes.
Flat headlamps together with the low slung bonnet and the diamond radiator grille with central star create the vehicle’s sporty face. The two-piece, narrow tail lamps and the number plate housed in the bumper make the rear of the CLA look especially wide.
With the greenhouse moved back, the sporty looking rear design achieves a balance between elegance and sportiness.
In the interior, all elements are arranged according to the overarching design themes of ‘high tech’ and ‘youthful avant-garde’ – be that the steering wheel, the door handle operating module, the centre console or the seats. As in the A‑Class, the unique interior architecture is shaped in particular by the avantgarde design of the dashboard: The designers completely dispensed with a cowl above the cockpit. As a result, the wing-shaped main body of the dashboard extends from one front door to the other with no visual discontinuity. The widescreen display is completely free-standing. The ambient lighting enhances this effect. The air vents in a sporty turbine-look are another highlight. The cabin is quite spacious and rear and front passengers are comfortable.
Its uses the active voice control- MBUX, and you can hail ‘’hey Mercedes ‘’for your needs. Translation is still sometimes a problem however.
The CLA is available in two engine variants – the CLA 200 and the CLA 220d.
The CLA 200 with the M282 engine is powered by a 1.33 litre unit, which generates 120 kW and 250 Nm of torque with a 7G‑DCT dual-clutch transmission. The CLA 220d with the OM654q 4-cylinder diesel engine is powered by a 2.0 litre unit, which generates 140 kW and 400 Nm of torque with an 8G-DCT dual-clutch transmission. New features for both engines include CAMTRONIC for the intake camshaft, and particulate filter as standard. I preferred the drive in the diesel 220 as it seemed more powerful and delivered on that power much better. Handling was equally as good in both, which was exceptional.
The CLA has 4 different modes that you can choose, ECO, COMFORT, SPORT & INDIVIDUAL.
Intelligent Drive: functions from the S-Class
The CLA has the very latest driving assistance systems with cooperative driver support, and thus provides the highest level of active safety in this segment with functions adopted from the S‑Class. For the first time, the CLA is able to drive semi-autonomously in certain situations. To do this, it keeps a close eye on the traffic situation. Improved camera and radar systems allow it to see up to 500 metres ahead. The CLA also uses map and navigation data for assistance functions. For example, Active Distance Assist DISTRONIC as part of the optional Driving Assistance Package is able to provide route-based support to the driver in numerous situations, and to predictively and conveniently adjust the speed, e.g. when approaching bends, junctions or roundabouts.
The new CLA comes with enhanced Active Brake Assist as standard. Active Lane Keeping Assist is able to warn the driver by means of pulsed vibrations in the steering wheel when the vehicle is unintentionally drifting out of its lane at speeds between 60 and 200 km/h
PRE-SAFE® PLUS can recognise an imminent rear-end collision. If the danger of a collision persists, the system can also firmly apply the brakes of the stationary vehicle, thus lowering the risk of injuries by reducing the forward jolt caused by an impact from the rear.
In summary, both models were great to drive, I would buy the 220D before the 200 as a personal choice.
Technical data at a glance
|Mercedes-Benz CLA 200||Mercedes-Benz CLA 220d|
|CO2 emissions – combined||122-129||138-141|
|Retail price (ZAR)||R570 500||R612 800|