New York: Mercedes-Benz AMG unveils the CLA45 AMG

Posted by: Shelton Kwan onMarch 27th, 2013

The time has finally come. The much anticipated CLA45 AMG is finally here at the New York International Auto show, fully undisguised, in person to see what the fuss is all about. The CLA class is a huge undertaking by Mercedes-AMG, a huge departure for the luxury German Brand. A front wheel drive platform with optional AWD (a first for the brand in the US), and a price point to reach a much younger demographic, it’s been a highly anticipated model by the Generation Y crowd, as well as our forum members.

Here at Beyond, we’re performance enthusiasts. Like Ricky Bobby, we want to go fast, so we’ll be focusing more on the CLA45 AMG model. Up close and in person, the car looks like a shrunken down CLS63 AMG. The “4 door coupe” styling is a little upscale compared to the competition, which is what makes this car so attractive. In fact, by offering the 4 door coupe concept to the CLA, Mercedes-Benz has pretty much defined a completely new segment. The 4 passenger seating maximizes room for the rear passengers, allowing you and 3 friends to ride in style and luxury. The most attractive feature, however, is the price. Starting at $48,375, this brings the AMG brand to a huge new audience and target market.

The engine, which AMG boasts as the most powerful series-production four-cylinder in the world, pumps out a staggering 355hp from a 2.0L twin scroll turbocharger forcce feeding 26.5psi of boost into the combustion chambers. Only the limited run Mitsubishi Evolution X FQ-400 has pumped out more horsepower out of a 2 liter motor. Coupled with the all-new 7 speed dual clutch transmission, the drivetrain rockets the CLA45 AMG to 60mph in only 4.4 seconds. An optional sport exhaust system with an exhaust flap allows the CLA45 AMG to bark when full power is demanded, yet comfortably quiet on long road trips.

In the handling department, AMG went all out to ensure that the front wheel drive based AWD platform doesn’t have the understeer inherent in such designs. The AWD system, although front wheel biased, is able to split torque to a 50/50 maximum when necessary. Stiffer steering knuckles and more rigid wheel bearings in the lower link plane up front results in higher camber stiffness, allowing much more lateral load before camber movements. The rear gets a similar treatment, and the entire setup is finished off with specially tuned springs and shocks, as well as larger stabilizers to ensure high lateral acceleration, and reduced rolling tendency in cornering transitions. As if that wasn’t enough, AMG retuned the ESP traction control system for much sportier dynamic, and added Curve Dynamic Assist which helps turn-in response as well as mid corner neutral dynamics by braking the inside wheels slightly (similar to the McLaren MP4-12C). Tires are sized at 235/40-18, wrapped around AMG wheels exclusive to the CLA45 AMG.

Inside the CLA45 AMG, the interior is a combination of sporty, modern, and luxurious. Standard options feature seats wrapped in ARTICO man-made leather/DINAMICA microfiber with red contrast stitching, with red seat belts. The multifunction steering wheel with shift paddles, AMG DRIVE UNIT, and AMG door sills finish off the package surrounding the driver. Sitting in the drivers seat, it feels a lot like the C63 Black Series. If all these standard features aren’t enough, various interior and exterior carbon fiber packages can be checked off the build sheets.

At such an attractive price point, I have no doubts that Mercedes-Benz AMG has knocked it out of the park with the CLA45 AMG. It’s a huge amount of car and performance for the money. Expected deliveries begin in November, and orders will start this spring. Get your deposits in if you want one, as I’m expecting that demand will easily exceed supply in the first couple of years.

Update – AMG just posted the CLS45 AMG Webspecial online.

Like / Share This Post

Tags: , , , , , , ,