Length: 4,630mm Width: 1,777mm
Height: 1,432mm Kerb Weight: 1,510kg
Luggage Compartment Capacity: 470l Turning Circle Diameter: 11m
You will always be beautiful in my eyes
And the passing years will show
That you will always grow ever more beautiful in my eyes
These are just the sort of lines a buyer of the Mercedes-Benz CLA 200 will be humming years after the purchase, for it is undoubtedly one of the most elegant cars built by the company. The spectacular styling and unmistakable proportions—the converging roofline, the muscular bonnet, its coupe-like feel, the twin tail pipes and spectacular tail lamps—made me a little giddy with joy. The dazzling red colour added to it.
There will be few, if any, who will loathe its looks at first sight. The automaker has delivered on the promise of attracting young customers worldwide with the launch of the A-Class last year and this car now. The CLA 200 is going to be an aspirational car for many youngsters and we are glad it has graced our streets.
With well-chiselled looks and a beautifully-sculpted body (its competitor, the Audi A3, lacks on both counts), the Mercedes CLA 200 styles itself in a manner which is perhaps more suited to more expensive cars in other segments. There is little doubt that the car is an aerodynamic work of art. Its large panoramic sunroof (with rain sensors that automatically close at the hint of a drizzle) and frameless-windows made me wonder what this car would look like in a cabriolet avatar with just two large doors, instead of the current four. However, we love the car’s classic good looks and the piece de resistance is the car’s LED tail light with a unique light signature, which makes for a very pretty sight, especially at night.
The cockpit is fashionable with a contemporary design, minus the air-conditioning vents, but the brushed aluminum finish makes up for it. The adequately-sized buttons and switches make life easier, as do the easy-to-read white dials on the instrument cluster. Then there is the automaker’s technological wizardry in the form of a new Telematics Generation 5 infotainment system that eases navigation and also doubles as a reversing camera with a crisp display. Besides, you also get to surf the internet or listen to the Quran on the radio, like we did, when it momentarily tuned into Oman Radio! The 17.8cm infotainment system slightly obstructs the view, but the Audi A3’s system does that, too. The interior uses premium material but it could have been a notch better, considering one is shelling out 043 lakh for the car.
Despite being a sedan, you can’t miss the sports car exuberance, and the seats with integral head restraint add to its sporty appeal. The rear seats, on the other hand, do not offer adequate thigh support and the rear windows seem too tiny, almost making you claustrophobic.
Under the hood is a four-cylinder, 1991cc engine which gives you 300Nm of torque at 1,200-4,000rpm through its seven-speed gearbox. I spent a pleasant day meandering through the outskirts of Mumbai, upshifting and downshifting the gears and using the steering-mounted paddle shifters. Later, on the highway, I buried the throttle and it surged forward, almost pouncing to 100kmph in 7.8 seconds. It turned out to be a rather quiet car, except when driven in the sport mode, which was a rather invigorating experience. While the steering offered plenty of grip, there wasn’t anything extraordinary about it. However, the drive was smooth and the suspension phenomenal.
The Mercedes-Benz CLA 200 can prove to be a capable highway companion, too, and comes equipped with the latest safety features. The car’s boot is a mere 470 litres, most of which is occupied by the spare wheel, leaving you with just enough space to squeeze in a duffle bag for a weekend trip. But, what it doesn’t give you in terms of rear seat and boot space, it makes up for in fuel efficiency. Mercedes-Benz claims it gives you 15.04kmpl under standard test conditions. It definitely is a great looking car with a brilliant chassis and a refined engine, but when it comes to driving dynamics it is just a tad less involving than the Audi A3.