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22 Apr 2013 | Text and Photos by Julian Kho. Direct from Saint-Tropez, France

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Delectable Design

A small four-door coupe has entered the market with a flawless combination of good looks and driving pleasure.


Drivetrain

Of the different variants, it will come as no surprise that the A200 will be a popular and, not to mention, satisfying choice amongst buyers. Running a smaller petrol engine of 1.6-litre compared to the CLA250's 2.0-litre, the CLA200 is going to be enough for your daily needs in Singapore.

The 1.6-litre four-pot engine gives the CLA200 sufficient power and torque to reach the century mark in 8.5 seconds



 
All 156 horses is readily available at the calling of your right foot as you open the throttle and see the CLA pass vehicles which are already in high speed.

More significantly, never you mind that the century sprint is two seconds slower than the CLA250 or less than half a second slower than the A-Class, few cars can cut through the air so cleanly and efficiently.

The sharp angled CLA is one of the lowest of any production car to boast an exceptionally low drag coefficient of 0.23 (it's even lower for the CLA180).

The seats will keep you in place when you decide to pilot the stylish coupe with gusto
Keeping the revs low is not a huge challenge as the four-pot engine produces 250Nm of torque from just 1,250rpm. And that's more important than power in most modern driving situations because it allows you to make quick lane changes and to fill gaps on our pack roads with ease and confidence.

At high speeds, the car feels very confident and composed, even when it feels a tad big behind the wheel on the narrow roads of France. But when the opportunity arises and the roads are wider and clear, the CLA is in a far better position to exploit its sporty character.

The car steers with certainty from corner to corner with a tinge of understeer when pushed hard. And its sports suspension - while a bit too soft for enthusiastic driving - holds its own pretty well whenever you go over bumps and ruts, making it the perfect car to have for your day-to-day driving.

While the steering is well weighted, it could do with more feedback - especially around bends

Conclusion


The CLA200 may not be the sportiest of the lineup but it is a cooler, refreshing and more evocative than something as dull as a hatchback. For badge buyers, it is instantly recognisable as a bloodline of Mercedes-Benz and you can well imagine a BMW or Audi owners trading up to one to fulfil life's challenging tasks.

Even though we would have liked it more if the CLA was a rear-wheel driven machine, buyers will be hard put to complain. And if they do, perhaps the wait for the CLA 45 AMG will be well worth.
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