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Arguably the most emotional vehicle in its class, the Mercedes-Benz CLA is attractive in any setting. “As a four-door coupé, the new CLA intrigues with its puristic, seductive design and sets new standards in the design DNA of ‘sensual purity,” says Selvin Govender, Marketing Director for Mercedes-Benz South Africa Cars. “In short, the CLA has the potential to become a modern design icon.”
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 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 lower section is visually separated from the main body of the instrument cluster by a ‘trench’, and it appears to float in front of the instrument cluster. The ambient lighting enhances this effect. The air vents in a sporty turbine look are another highlight. The effect is revolutionary, moving the goalpost forward into the future.
Intelligent technology abounds in the CLA – there are functions which can be controlled intuitively, without any need to practise corresponding gestures: In the dark, the reading lamp can be switched on and off by briefly extending a hand towards the rear-view mirror, for example. If the driver reaches over towards the unoccupied front passenger seat in the dark, it will be illuminated automatically. This makes it easier to find any items which may have been deposited on the seat. As soon as the person’s hand leaves this area, the light automatically switches off again.
Being a Mercedes-Benz safety is paramount. Technology has been passed down from the flagship S-Class model. For the first time, the CLA can 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, for example when approaching bends, junctions or roundabouts.
The new CLA comes with enhanced Active Brake Assist as standard. Depending on the situation, it can effectively help to mitigate the consequences of rear-end collisions with slower-moving, stopping or stationary vehicles ahead, and even with crossing pedestrians and cyclists, or to prevent them altogether.
Active Lane Keeping Assist can 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. If the vehicle passes over a solid line, it can pull the vehicle back into lane by applying the brakes on one side. In the case of a dotted line, such intervention takes place only when there is a danger of collision with a vehicle in the adjacent lane (including danger from oncoming traffic).
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.
The range was initially driven by two new advanced engines. These are the 200, 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. With the introduction of the AMG variants there are two additions in the 35 and 45 high-performance models which I will review in a few weeks’ time.
A beautiful car that pushes design boundaries and technology together. At its standard price, there is open window for a variety of optional extras, which unfortunately make this a pricey vehicle.
Audi A5/S5, BMW 2/4 Series Gran Coupé.
CLA200 R637 000
CLA 200d R684 000
AMG CLA35 4Matic R948 000
AMG CLA45 4Matic R1 211 000
The service and warranty
5 years 100 000 km maintenance contract. No customer contribution. Additional extension plans can be purchased. These range between 6 years 120 000 km and up to 8 years 160 000 km, with other alternatives available too.
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