Mercedes-Benz CLA review - does the sporty saloon's drive match its looks? - Mercedes-Benz CLA performance and 0-60 time

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

For bombastic performance you’ll have to choose the CLA AMG 45 with its 4.2-second 0-62mph time and electronically limited 155mph top speed.

Among the non-AMG models (and by that we mean the proper Affalterbach-built flagship as opposed to the AMG Line models that are included here), the CLA 250 4Matic is the quickest, using its 215bhp and 258lb ft of torque to good effect through the 4Matic system to reach 62mph in 6.4 seconds.

The next quickest is the CLA 220d, with manages the 0-62mph sprint in as little as 7.7 seconds, while the CLA 180 takes 8.7 seconds and the CLA 200d in 9.5 seconds - depending on whether it’s auto or manual.

Top speeds follow the same hierarchy, the CLA 250 able to manage 155mph, the CLA 220d 144mph, CLA 200d 134mph and the CLA 180 trailing at 130mph (reaching 62mph in nine seconds flat, in manual form). All respectable enough numbers and the diesel is not as tardy as those sprint times would have you believe.

There’s sizeable, if short-lived, mid-range punch from the diesels, both the 200 and 220 CDI needing a peculiar driving style to achieve the best from them. They’re pretty rough too, Merc’s small diesel engines not offering the sort of smooth refinement that even some mainstream makers now deliver from their turbodiesels.

That makes the petrol engines more attractive; the CLA 180 might be the lightest on output at 120bhp, but it’s smooth right up to the top of its rev range - where it delivers its best. The CLA 250 4Matic will sell in single numbers in the UK, but it’s arguably the sweetest of them all; being responsive, powerful and rich in torque it’s a junior AMG in the making. 

Most Popular

Litchfield Toyota GR Yaris 2021 review – superstar hatchback picks up expert UK-tuning
Litchfield Toyota GR Yaris – front cornering
Toyota GR Yaris

Litchfield Toyota GR Yaris 2021 review – superstar hatchback picks up expert UK-tuning

Litchfield’s been fiddling with Toyota’s brilliant GR Yaris with predictably fantastic results
31 Jul 2021
New Audi RS3 laps Nürburgring in 7:40.74
Audi RS3 Nurburgring
Audi RS3

New Audi RS3 laps Nürburgring in 7:40.74

The all-new Audi RS3 has hit the Nürburgring, achieving the fastest time in the compact class
3 Aug 2021
Range-topping Honda NSX Type S coming to Pebble Beach
Honda NSX Type S – burnout
Honda NSX

Range-topping Honda NSX Type S coming to Pebble Beach

It’s the end of the line for Honda’s pioneering NSX, but it’s going out with a bang
3 Aug 2021