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The all new Mercedes-Benz CLA-Class is a premium compact four-door coupe that's absolutely appealing to the eyes.

17 Apr 2019


For the most part, buyers are generally attracted to cars that are not only appealing to the eyes but also to a brand they can resonate with.

Hence, when a premium carmaker like Mercedes-Benz launches a head-turning car like the CLA-Class, you can confidently expect it to be a hit in Singapore when it arrives in the fourth quarter of this year.

The CLA-Class looks extremely appealing even when you see it from the rear

Loving the way it looks

For starters, the all new CLA-Class that you see here shares a similar look with the new Mercedes-Benz A-Class, with its elongated bonnet with power domes, a diamond-looking radiator grille and sharply raked nose.

While this may sound like the car has a whole lot of things going on around it, it's quite the contrary. The CLA is now covered with a sheet metal that comes across as pure and clean. No unnecessary lines are creased and curved for the sake of aggression. Instead, everything on the CLA has been simplified to enhance its already elegant appearance.

Its side profile showcases a very sporty silhouette

More than just elegance, the new Merc has an amplified presence on the road, too. Thanks to its revised dimensions, the CLA200 that we are driving here is longer and wider than its predecessor. This immediately translates to a car that constantly attracts eyes of envy from snooping spectators who are standing by the road, as we experienced along the towns in Munich.

Just as attractive as the front is its rear. Taillights have been purposefully designed to allow the CLA to appear wider - doing without complicated curves around the boot, which gives the car a much cleaner look than before.

Simplified yet elegant design from the rear is apparent

Pure and sensual

On the inside, things are just as impressive, if not familiar. Similar mechanical parts from the A-Class can be seen on the inside of the CLA as they share the same MFA underpinnings. That's to say that the cabin is generously filled with high-quality leather, solid plastics and knobs and buttons that operate with a slick touch.

More relevantly, tuned to focus on a high-tech theme to match its young and trendy target audience, technology is the name of the game with the CLA. You are nicely greeted by two larger-than-life 10.25-inch touchscreens as you take the driver's seat.

One serves as a configurable instrument cluster while the other is a new touch-sensitive and gesture control-capable infotainment system that includes the 'Hey Mercedes' voice recognition function, where you can speak to the Siri-like system and request for specific songs to be played or adjust the air-con temperature.

Space wise, the CLA-Class doesn't disappoint. Even with its sloping roofline, headroom is sufficient for most Singaporean adults, as is legroom, thanks to an increment in its wheelbase of 30mm.

Drivers are greeted by two 10.25-inch high-definition screens

The way you move on the tarmac...


On the go, Mercedes-Benz promises that the CLA-Class will be sportier and more dynamically sound than the previous model, thanks to a lower centre of gravity and low drag coefficient of 0.23. They're not wrong.

The CLA200 tested here, while capable of just pumping out a modest 161bhp and 250Nm of torque, has a very charming way of entertaining you with its taut chassis, grippy tyres and chatty steering.

1.3-litre powerplant is good for 161bhp and 250Nm of torque

It's not by any means fast and it's not by any means brutal, but what the CLA200 does is communicate whatever there is on the road and translate back to you in a rather accurate and precise manner.

Needless to say, given its output, the engine does sound more strained than stirring when extended, but it's never to the point where it repulses a driver with a good taste for cars. This has largely to do with the CLA's excellent insulation.

External noises are kept well at bay, with the exception of wind noise intruding a tad at much higher speeds along the Autobahn.

There's no denying the high comfort levels in the CLA200

Wait for me to come home

While it's thoroughly arguable that the CLA200 is, to a certain extent, more comfort-biased than sporty in nature, the very fact remains that this car is highly capable of taking you from one point to the next in style.

Several variants of the new four-door coupe will be available for our market. However, the CLA200 will be the first variant to surf into our shores in the fourth quarter of this year.
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