Fri, 01 September 2017
The Mercedes-AMG CLA 45 4MATIC coupé is a mouthful to say, let’s be honest. It doesn’t exactly roll off the tongue but, I assure you, the name will stay firmly planted in your brain after you testdrive it.
Dubbed by some motoring critics as ‘the baby CLS’ (it’s certainly easier to say), this vehicle is unmistakably from the same family. Despite its smaller stature, it packs as much punch as its famous sibling and definitely makes an immediate impression.
Flowing curves and sweeping arcs create a body that’s simply beautiful from every angle. Aggressively styled, aerodynamic lower bodywork catches the eye at first glance and hints at the impressive capability under the bonnet (more about that later).
The cabin is spacious and there’s enough room to comfortably seat four adults. The model I drove had bucket seats in the front, a nice touch that really added to the sporty ambience. Speaking of which, the understated, yet elegant, red and black colour scheme looked really cool.
An eight-inch freestanding screen takes centre stage atop the wing-like dash, while aluminium-ringed air vents complete the look. Every shape and surface is designed to please the eye – what else would you expect from this marque?
The steering wheel features a racing-inspired flat-bottom design, thick padding and a leatherwrapped rim with side grips, putting the delights of precise handling literally in the driver’s hands. Convenient multifunction controls do likewise while operating frequently needed vehicle functions.
Once I’d familiarised myself with the settings and the three different driving modes, I set off on an adventure around the island – in Sport, obviously. Regular BTM readers may remember I love the sound of a roaring engine note and this model has a great one. In fact, I even made a couple of passes through a tunnel just to turn the volume up to 11!
Finding a parking space around Manama can often be challenging. Luckily, the dimensions of this car make light work of slotting in, and the nimble, responsive steering requires nothing more than a light caress.
During my test drive, the weather was typically hot and humid. Everyone in Bahrain knows the pain of getting into a car at around midday after parking in the sun – it’s like stepping into an oven. Fortunately, the fantastic dual zone airconditioning kept me cool as a cucumber and didn’t take long to circulate through the entire vehicle – no oven gloves required!
While some drivers are all about letting the car do the work, I prefer a more hands-on approach, literally. Using the paddle shifters I could shift gears quickly and confidently – it makes me feel more connected to the vehicle. Fear not, if you prefer to rely on the seven-speed dual-clutch transmission with AMG SPEEDSHIFT technology, you’re in safe hands too.
When it comes to overall handling, few marques are on par with Mercedes AMG and it never ceases to amaze me how well these cars perform. Light and agile are just some of the words to describe the drive, but if I had to pick just one – powerful.
Under the bonnet, a four-cylinder 375bhp engine guarantees a spirited, dynamic drive. This model makes the 0-100kmph dash in 4.1 seconds, which is not just shorter than it takes to say the car’s name, it’s the exact amount of time it takes for you to fall in love with it!
Call Al Haddad Motors on 17 785-454.