Mercedes-Benz CLA review - does the sporty saloon's drive match its looks? - Mercedes-Benz CLA design

Mercedes-Benz refreshes its compact saloon and estate - but can it compete with the class best?

Evo rating
Price
from £25,395
  • Looks, AMG performance, cool interior
  • Fussy automatic, cramped interior, not that memorable to drive

If being distinctive was your main objective when looking for a compact, premium saloon or estate, then the CLA could well appeal to you. The design itself is well detailed, but thanks to it's front-wheel drive platform can look odd from some angles. It is most obvious when viewed in profile, as the sloping rear and long front overhang put all the visual weight just behind the front wheels, rather than just in front of the rear wheels as per usual Mercedes-Benz'.

The same issue doesn't appear to be a problem on the larger CLS because like the E-Class on which it is based, the CLS had an inherantly cab-rearwards design and far longer bonnet to balance out the sloping tail. This problem can be accentuated in AMG-Line trim as it adds an extra layer of complexity to the design at the front and blockier, heavier bumpers and side skirts.

However Mercedes-Benz' adept hand at detailing and surfacing means that when in the right colour and from the right angle, the CLA can look really special, far more-so than the comparatively staid Audi A3 Saloon. The Shooting Brake doesn't suffer from these awkward aesthetics quite so much, but does look best when following the same colour and trim rules as the saloon.

Most Popular

Porsche Taycan Cross Turismo revealed – 750bhp Turbo S to top crossover range
Porsche Taycan Cross Turismo - Turbo S front static
Porsche Taycan

Porsche Taycan Cross Turismo revealed – 750bhp Turbo S to top crossover range

Porsche expands Taycan range with new Cross Turismo high-riding estate
4 Mar 2021
BMW M3 and M4 lifted to 612bhp by Manhart Performance 
Manhart Performance BMW M3
BMW M3 saloon

BMW M3 and M4 lifted to 612bhp by Manhart Performance 

German tuner Manhart Performance has extracted more performance from BMW’s new M3 and M4
4 Mar 2021
Next Ferrari hypercar spied in development
2021 Ferrari hybrid hypercar prototype - front quarter
Ferrari

Next Ferrari hypercar spied in development

Ferrari’s next ground-breaking hypercar is on its way
3 Mar 2021