Second generation Mercedes CLA arrives

Hugh Maguire is impressed with this driving experience

Hugh Maguire


Hugh Maguire


Second generation Mercedes CLA arrives

Second generation Mercedes CLA arrives

When Mercedes launched the CLA 4 door coupe back in 2013 there were gasps of admiration at the radical new shape.

The new CLA saloon made a dramatic first impression and since then buyers have been voting with their wallets, it sold very well across Europe and here at home.

Now the second generation has arrived and it boasts new front and rear styling, a new interior and better standard kit.

It's a bit bigger too at 48mm longer, 53 mm wider and with a 30mm longer wheelbase.

It moves up a notch in the Mercedes range too to make room for the smaller A-Class saloon that sits below it. I have been road testing the new CLA 200 auto AMG Line to see just how it has improved.

So has it any street cred?

The styling of the new Mercedes CLA is really superb. I just love it!

Slim new LED headlights, deep front/side air vents, chrome diamond patterned radiator grille and inset Mercedes-Benz star motif enhance its coupé-like features.

At the rear a new tail section design with new tail lights really improves its looks.

What’s it like inside?

The interior has a high-quality finish, a prominent new feature of which is the large rectangular MBUX Multi media system with its integrated 7” digital instrument screen.

The cabin is simply superb. Beautifully built, with great style and excellent design and ergonomics.

The level of standard equipment has improved too highlights of which on this AMG Line version include, Crosswind Assist, Direct Steer system, Dynamic Drive mode selector, Multi collision brake, Nappa leather multifunction sterling wheel with paddle shifts, Mercedes Voice activation (which works really well), heated Sports Seats, 18” AMG alloys, I could go on but don’t have the space.

Accommodation is really as before with marginal improvements in rear space. It seats four adults quite well but the low rear roofline does compromise rear headroom and its a cosy fit for knee room too.

The boot is a good size as before.

What’s under the bonnet?

The new range includes a variety of four petrol and one diesel engine with three trim lines, Style, Progressive and AMG Line as tested here.

The turbocharged 1322cc 163 bhp petrol is a lovely unit and even emits a rather nice sporty growl when revved.

Combined with a 7-speed auto this car gets around very nicely indeed.

I found the performance to be very good.

Its frugal too burning just 5.7 litres of fuel per 100km and it costs just €270.00 for a years road tax.

What’s it like to drive?

The new CLA is marketed as a 4 door coupe with sporting pretensions so I expected a rewarding driving experience and happily I was not disappointed.

I could feel the benefit of the wider track and longer wheelbase as well as improvements to the steering and suspension set-up.

In short it's a better car to drive than its predecessor proving more direct and involving.

Its pretty quiet and refined too and its a car you look forward to driving.

So what is the Verdict?

It's gorgeous, beautifully built, feels top quality, boasts a very high tech interior, proves eminently practical and offers the driver a rewarding driving experience.

There are also a host of personalisation options. Prices start at €34,110 for the CLA 180 petrol while the CLA 200 auto AMG line as tested here costs from €39,420.