Juliet McGuire


I wanted to start this review off with the notion that you don’t have to drive a Mercedes-Benz E-Class to experience luxury. But I didn’t want to sound patronising. Of course you know that all Mercedes-Benz models are luxurious, it is after all, a premium brand. But did you know that even the ‘entry level’ models feature the kind of luxury you would find in the more expensive models? Let’s take the new Mercedes-Benz CLA for example.

Mercedes-Benz managed to create a new segment with the launch of the first CLA in 2013. Since then, this four-door coupé has seen 750 00 units sold globally. It isn’t the most practical car on the market which suggests that the CLA is a more emotional buy. But what’s even more impressive, is that with this model, Mercedes-Benz was able to capture a returning customer. 75% of European customers who previously drove a CLA as a coupé chose another Mercedes-Benz model for their next vehicle. Boom!


This second generation CLA is quite the stunner. Just look at it.

Mercedes-Benz CLA

What did I tell you? Mercedes-Benz says that the new CLA intrigues with its puristic, seductive design. I could not think of a better word to describe the CLA than with ‘seductive.’ This is not a term I use willy-nilly when referring to cars, in fact, you will be hard-pressed to find that term in any of my previous reviews. It is an elegant car with a sporty air about it. Something that I think appeals to many of us.


The luxury you experience when you step inside is quite unmatched in this segment. All the elements are arranged according to the overarching design themes of ‘high tech’ and ‘youthful avant-garde.’ There is a splendid continuity in this cabin and it makes for a very pleasant place to be.

I have spoken about the Mercedes-Benz User Experience (MBUX) before, both on the A-Class Sedan and the B-Class, so it is a no-brainer that it would find its way in to the CLA. But for an even greater and more luxurious experience, the MBUX Interior Assist option operates in non-contact mode and functions both in sunlight and complete darkness. It enables the adaptation of screen content as soon as a hand approaches the touchscreen or the touchpad. In an almost non-believable way, the system is able to distinguish between the driver’s and front passenger’s wishes and thus knows for whose seat the massage function is to be activated, for example. In the dark, the reading lamp can be switched on and off by briefly extending a hand towards the rear-view mirror or If the driver reaches over towards the unoccupied front passenger seat in the dark, it will be illuminated automatically. As soon as your hand leaves the seat, once you have obviously found what you are looking for, the light automatically switches off again. This has to be the most helpful car in the world, right?!

Mercedes-Benz CLA interior


Like I mentioned earlier, the new CLA really does offer so much in terms of luxury that is usually reserved for the more premium models. Borrowing driving assistance systems from the really fancy-pants S-Class, the new CLA is now able to drive semi-autonomously in certain situations. Improved camera and radar systems allow it to see up to 500 metres ahead and it uses map and navigation data for assistance functions.

The new CLA comes with enhanced Active Brake Assist as standard. Depending on the situation, it can effectively help to mitigate the consequences of rear-end collisions with slower-moving, stopping or stationary vehicles ahead, and even with crossing pedestrians and cyclists, or to prevent them altogether.

Another example of luxurious features trickling down in to this compact model is that of the optional Multibeam LED headlamps. They allow extremely quick and precise, electronically controlled adjustment of the headlamps to suit the current traffic situation. Each headlamp on the CLA incorporates 18 individually controllable LEDs. 


The new CLA is available in two engine variants namely the CLA 200 and the CLA 220d. The latter sees a 2.0-litre turbodiesel producing 140 kW and 400 Nm of torque. It is mated to an eight-speed dual-clutch transmission. The CLA 200 boasts a 1.33-litre turbopetrol engine producing 120 kW and 250 Nm. If you really want to impress your friends, you could wait for the 35 and 45 AMG models to arrive. Keep your eyes on this website for more info. Or you could also keep refreshing the Mercedes-Benz website.


This new CLA will continue to do well among those customers who want a touch of luxury in their lives, but aren’t in a position to fork out the extreme premium bucks for it. It might not be the most practical purchase, but when it comes to an emotional buy, the heart knows what the heart wants, and many a beating heart will want this new luxurious CLA.

Mercedes-Benz CLA



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