2017 Mercedes-Benz CLA 200 Petrol Review

Posted on Wed ,22 Mar 2017 8:25 pm
Vaibhav Yedavi
Rating by CG: 
    
2017 Mercedes-Benz CLA 200 Petrol Review

Two years on, and the swoopy sedan still turns plenty of heads.

 

When the red CLA that you see in the photos on this page reached our office building entrance, my sceptical colleague asked me if it indeed was the updated 2017 model he was looking at. I don’t blame him for his dimness, as at first glance it is hard for even a seasoned professional to win any points in the “Guess the changes on the 2017 CLA” contest.

 

2017 Mercedes CLA 200 Petrol Facelift Frameless Doors

 

You must be thinking then that the designers in Stuttgart who were high on the brew from ‘Oktoberfest’ couldn’t be bothered with the work, but the real question is how do you improve upon the mini-CLS silhouette, the swoopy curves, the frameless doors, and the beautifully sculpted interior of the CLA, all of which combine to form pure automotive theatre?

 

 

So are there any changes at all on the outside?

Yes, there are a few subtle changes like the new chrome lipped front bumper (same one as found on the A-Class facelift) with a wider air-intake and sleek vertical side slits, a new rear bumper with a black insert (and also a chrome lip), and twin-trapezoidal exhaust tips. Other changes include a full LED headlamp cluster and some tweaks to the dragonfly wing like tail-lamp graphics. There is also a new colour option on offer, a rich metallic Cavansite Blue, which we think will stand out in a sea of red and white CLAs on the road. It is not a shade as polarising as the ‘Elbaite Green’ offered on the A-Class though.

 

2017 Mercedes CLA 200 Petrol Facelift Rear

 

The CLA is the entry point to the Mercedes sedan range and these little tweaks ensure that the styling is in sync with the rest of the current line-up.

 

 

What about changes on the inside?

See that large screen sitting on top of the dashboard? Well that is the biggest change on the inside. It is a new high-resolution 8-inch unit which can now be used to mirror your smartphone besides browsing the usual Mercedes COMAND infotainment system. Apple CarPlay and Android Auto were missing for a long time on Mercedes’s compact cars, but this update takes care of that. The rotary input mechanism used to control the system is still not in sync with the latest touch and handwriting recognition tech found in the newest Mercedes models, but it is still the more intuitive one.

 

2017 Mercedes CLA 200 Facelift Dashboard

 

2017 Mercedes CLA 200 Petrol Facelift Instrument Dials With Red Needles

 

Other changes on the inside of the CLA include new trim materials, satin chrome finished switches, keyless push button engine start/stop, black instrument dials with red needles (looks sporty) and manually adjustable under thigh support for the front seats (great on those longer journeys).

 

2017 Mercedes CLA Facelift Rear Seats

 

The CLA’s cabin never lacked visual drama, and these changes help in adding a little more flair to it.

 

 

Is there anything missing in the CLA?

Unfortunately yes. This update was a chance for Mercedes to offer features which were not part of the package earlier, but it hasn’t happened. The CLA still misses out on basic features found standard in this segment like keyless entry, an automatic climate control, dual-zone AC or even rear AC vents. It doesn’t even get parking sensors (though a rear camera is fitted) which we think is a must have on a car with limited outside visibility. These features are available even on cars which cost a third of the price tag of the CLA and there is no reason for Mercedes to not offer them even as an option. The rival Audi A3 has them all.

 

2017 Mercedes CLA Facelift AC Controls

 

 

Is there any new tech feature on the CLA?

Besides the Apple CarPlay and Android Auto compatibility, the CLA now gets ‘Dynamic Select’ which lets you control the characteristics of the engine, gearbox and steering either as a package or individually. You get to choose from three modes – Comfort, Sport and Individual. The throttle is buttery smooth, the gearbox lazy and the steering dull in Comfort, while engaging Sport gets you a sharper throttle and a slightly less lazy gearbox (it does hold onto the gear till the redline) and a very direct steering. Individual mode lets you control the parameters independently (engine and gearbox settings work only as a pair though).

 

2017 Mercedes CLA Facelift Dynamic Select Screen

 

In the A-Class diesel we recommended switching the engine/gearbox to Comfort and the steering to Sport, but in this petrol CLA we were testing we recommend keeping everything in Sport mode for an engaging drive.

 

 

Driving Experience

The engines are carried over unchanged from the pre-facelift car. There is a 2.1-litre diesel (134-bhp/300-Nm) and a 2.0-litre petrol (182-bhp/300-Nm) which we were driving. Standing outside you could mistake the petrol unit for a diesel due to the clatter, but thankfully the noise doesn’t transfer into the cabin. It revs smoothly and freely to its redline and emits a raspy note at the limit (a rather nice one). A linear power delivery means that it never feels quick despite requiring just 7.8 seconds to reach the 100 km/h mark from a standstill.

 

2017 Mercedes CLA 200 Petrol Facelift Panning Shot

 

The 7-speed dual-clutch automatic gearbox is not the best Mercedes has to offer and it slurs between the changes irrespective of Comfort or Sport mode selected. Changing to Manual mode doesn’t help either as it delay shifts according to its convenience.

 

The firmly setup suspension is more absorbent than the one found in the hatchback sibling. Though it goes over uneven surfaces in a very noiseless way and without discomforting the passengers, it does tend to dislike concrete joints very much. The suspension shines at highway speeds though where it makes the CLA ride absolutely flat and like a car from a segment above. Steering is very fluid and delightfully precise (in Sport setting) which makes it fun while getting into that gap in traffic or on the twisty mountain roads.

 

 

Other things you might want to know

The interior is claustrophobic, especially at the rear. Had it not been for the sunroof, then the cabin would have been rather dark. The headroom at the back is limited due to the sloping roof but there is surprisingly plenty of legroom. The cabin is very quiet too as the CLA is the most aerodynamic car in production, so wind noise disturbing conversations with your passengers at highway speeds is not an issue. The 470-litre boot space is plenty large but the space saver tyre has no dedicated place of its own, so its sits bang in the middle of the boot like a king, making life difficult for your vacation bags.

 

 

Conclusion

The 2017 CLA facelift looks and feels premium inside and out and new features like the LED headlamps, larger infotainment screen with support for Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, and under thigh support on the front seats add value to the car. It still misses out on some critical features like rear AC vents and parking sensors though which would have made the package complete.

 

The only rival the CLA has is the Audi A3 which will soon receive a facelift along with a downsized 1.4-litre turbo petrol motor. It has got some interesting tech too, to keep fuel efficiency numbers high (cylinder deactivation), yet it will be nearly as quick as the CLA petrol. The A3 also has the advantage of better rear headroom than the CLA. What the A3 doesn’t have though is the attention grabbing styling of the CLA.

 

 

 

2017 Mercedes-Benz CLA 200 Sport Petrol Technical Specifications:

 

Engine – 2.0-litre, inline-4 turbo petrol; 182-bhp @ 5500 rpm and 300-Nm @ 1200-4000 rpm

Drivetrain – Transversely mounted front-engine, front-wheel drive

Gearbox – 7-speed automatic

Speed – 0-100-km/h in 7.8 seconds; top speed 235 km/h

Mileage – 9.5 km/l (city and highway combined average)

Dimensions – 4630 x 1777 x 1432 (length x width x height in mm)

Wheelbase – 2699 mm

Weight – 1510 kg

Boot Space – 470 litres

Wheels & Tyres – 225/45 R17

Turning Circle Diameter – 11.0 metres

Price on-road in Mumbai (approximately) – INR 42.01 lakhs

 

*Mercedes-Benz’s Star Ease Maintenance package for the CLA starts at INR 49,000 for the petrol model and INR 63,000 for the diesel. The car comes with a 3-year warranty which can be extended for the fourth year for an additional INR 38,000.

 

 

Words by Vaibhav Yedavi

Photos by Anuj Malandkar & Amith Bhagwan

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