Mercedes-benz Cla Class Coupe

edited picture of a bright red mercedes benz cla class coupe isolated on a black background with the title mercedes benz cla class coupe review

Review Of The Mercedes Benz CLA Class Coupe

Mercedes are treading new water with their affordable Mercedes Benz CLA Class Coupe, their sights set on buyers who may have previously not thought about purchasing from the brand before. It’s an accomplished car, one that represents a bit of middle ground between a hatchback and a larger saloon.

Essentially, if you need a spacious, sporty family car and want a premium badge, it’s a good fit.

Sleek, long and aggressively designed, it offers good performance and handling, decent levels of comfort, and affordable running costs. In terms of safety, it can’t be beaten, with the brand installing an array of cutting-edge systems to make sure it’s one of the safest cars on the planet.

OSV takes a closer look at what it’s all about with our 2017 Mercedes Benz CLA Class Coupe review.

On The Road

There are just two engines available – a petrol and a diesel. The 2.1-litre diesel engine will be the biggest seller, it’s 168bhp feeling very satisfying. It powers the CLA 220 CDI model, and does 0-62 in 8.2 seconds before maxing out at 143mph.

It performs with ease no matter where you are in the rev range. And with 350Nm available, it’s got plenty of oomph to overtake without any hassle.

It’s wedded to a dual-clutch semi-automatic transmission as standard, and there is no option to add a manual ‘box. That’s a bit of a disappointment, as the automatic feels hesitant at times.

side view of a bright red mercedes benz cla class coupe isolated on a black background

The other engine is a 1.6-litre petrol unit that powers the CLA 180. It produces just 120bhp, and takes 9.3 seconds to complete the 0-62 dash. We wager that will be too slow for most of you, but it does come with a smoother 6-speed manual transmission.

In terms of how it handles, you can switch between Comfort and Sport driving modes for more comfort or more agility. For UK roads, we have to recommend the Comfort setting, as the Sports mode makes for a choppy ride – especially at lower speeds. Moreover, the car still feels highly capable through corners.

All models come with the brands Direct Steer System. This boosts feedback and responsiveness, which Mercedes claim will prove useful on backroads. One thing it doesn’t manage to do impressively is shore up composure and agility at the same time.

Mercedes Benz CLA Class Coupe Interior, Design & Build

black leather interior mercedes benz cla class coupe

Not all Mercedes’ feel as upmarket and as luxurious as they’re meant to be – and this is one of those. Like a lot of relatively low-priced Mercedes’, the CLA Class Coupe does sport cheaper plastics and materials here and there. Look hard enough and you will find them.

That out of the way, the dashboard is typical Mercedes fare. The steering wheel houses twelve buttons, the stereo controls are sturdy and easy to use, and each model comes with a 5.8” colour screen. This is fixed high up on the dashboard, and is easy to operate and read.

And as ever with a Mercedes, the CLA Class Coupe gets the brands’ rotary COMAND controller, which is used to control the screen’s functions.

Insulation is good, with wind and road noise well suppressed. However, if you opt for the diesel engine, the car is powerless to prevent its clatter from getting inside.

The seats are comfortable and supportive up front, but rear headroom is compromised by the Coupe’s sloping roofline. And while Mercedes say five adults can sit inside here, it’s only when there are just two adults in the back that everyone will be comfortable with the space on offer.

Storage is good, and includes two cup holders, a few deep door pockets, and a couple of “hidden” cubby holes that shouldn’t be too hard to find. The boot measures 470-litres, which is competitive for this class. The opening is smaller than a Hatchback’s, but it shouldn’t be too much of an issue. You can also easily fold down the rear seats for more space.

Equipment & Safety Of The Mercedes Benz CLA Class Coupe

Standard kit is generous, and includes sports seats, 18” alloys, a multi-function steering wheel, and a 5.8” colour display.

In terms of safety, the CLA has to be one of the safest cars on the road right now. Not only did the increasingly strict EuroNCAP award it 5/5 for its crash test, but it’s packed with a raft of safety systems. Attention Assist is standard on all models, as is Collision Prevention Assist. The former alerts you when you’re getting drowsy, while the latter prepares your brakes if a collision is imminent.

Each model also gets lane keeping assist, a blind spot warning system, and automatic high beam headlights.

Costs Of The Mercedes Benz CLA Class Coupe

Prices for the new car start out from around £26,200 and rise to £51,000. For more information on our leasing deals, check out our page here.

In terms of its running costs, the CLA performs better than you might have expected. The CLA 220 CDI model is the most frugal, and can return 62.8mpg at best. It also emits just 117g/km of CO2. The sole petrol model is unsurprisingly more expensive, and can only return 50.4mpg at best while emitting 130g/km.

Pros and Cons of the Of The Mercedes Benz CLA Class Coupe

Pros:

Looks Good

It’s essentially a sharper version of the A-Class.

Decent-Sized Boot

It’s boot measures 470-litres, which is more than reasonable for this class. It should also satisfy buyers who are considering a Hatchback, but who quite fancy a Mercedes.

Lots Of Safety Kit

Mercedes aren’t holding anything back when it comes to their safety kits these days, and why should they? The CLA will be safe and secure with a kit that includes lane keeping assist, automatic high beam headlights and a blind spot warning system.

Cons:

Bit Cramped In The Rear

Backseat passengers won’t have the best of it on longer journeys.

Questionable Cabin Quality

It’s not a full-fat Mercedes that costs a bomb. As a consequence, you will have to put up with the odd harder plastic here and there.

Mercedes Benz CLA Class Coupe vs BMW 4 Series Gran Coupe vs Volkswagen Arteon

Let’s how the car fares against its rivals in the comparison section of our Mercedes Benz CLA Class Coupe review.

Mercedes Benz CLA Class Coupe vs BMW 4 Series Gran Coupe

The new BMW 4 Series Gran Coupe is pretty much as you were with BMW: Comfortable, classy cabin and good to drive.

Good to drive – but not as much fun as a BMW usually is. For once, BMW has held back a bit and produced a comfortable cruiser than out-and-out sports car wrapped up as a Saloon.

This is no bad thing, as the 4 Series Gran Coupe is still easy to drive. Moreover, all of its engines offer a good amount of power. The only one we’d suggest you overlook is the turbocharged 2.0-litre diesel. It delivers a respectable 148bhp, but it will soon be dumped on the scrapheap at Munich.

metallic blue bmw 4 series coupe isolated in white walls with blue skys and shadows

We like the mid-range 430i petrol engine. It’s quiet and smooth, and can get you from a standstill to 62mph in just 5.0 seconds. For a sportier ride, check out the 440i 326bhp petrol, or the 435d 309bhp diesel models.

For everyone else, the comfort and sense of restrained pace offered by the relaxing 430i model will be more than enough. It really suits this car’s character.

On the other hand, the diesel engines are cheaper to run. The 420d is a good option, and it can return 67.3mpg economy while emitting 111g/km of CO2. The bigger 435d model produces a lot more power and speed, but sees its economy drop to less than 50mpg.

That’s on par with our favourite, the 420i petrol engine. It returns 48.7mpg, and emits 134g/km of CO2. The quicker 440i petrol, meanwhile, returns 42.8mpg.

Inside, you’ll find that the BMW 4 Series Gran Coupe is comfortable, despite being marketed as a Sports Coupe. It’s both refined and smooth, and as ever with a BMW, it looks suave and slick inside. Fit and finish is good, although some buyers might find the design a tad too conservative.

Access is easy, thanks to the two rear doors that the 4 Series Coupe misses out on, and there is plenty of head and legroom, upfront and in the rear. This is despite the sloping roofline that would otherwise threaten to reduce headroom.

Four adults can sit in comfort, with the middle seat only useful for short trips.

The boot measures 480-litres, which makes it a tiny bit bigger than the Mercedes. Fold the rear seats and you can extend it to 1,300-litres. For this kind of car, that’s more than reasonable.

Price:

Mercedes – £26,200 – £51,000
BMW – £33,100 – £47,300

Mercedes Benz CLA Class Coupe vs Volkswagen Arteon

The Volkswagen Arteon is one of the rarer sights on British roads, but it’s a solid alternative to the premium Mercedes and BMW. It boasts a sophisticated look, some good tech, and plenty of interior space.

At the moment, the Arteon is only available with a couple of high-range engines. This is the reason it’s pitted against the Mercedes, with VW suggesting smaller engines with front-wheel-drive will come later.

So you have a choice between a 2.0-litre twin-turbocharged diesel, and a 2.0-litre turbocharged petrol.

dark coloured volkswagen arteon parked on tarmac at sunset

The diesel develops 237bhp, does 0-62 in 6.5 seconds, and has lots of pulling power. Four-wheel-drive is standard, and it helps to give the car the character that its feedback-derived steering doesn’t.

The petrol engine offers a bit more power – 267bhp – and is without a doubt intended to be a performance car. It’s fast, comes with massive 20” alloys, four-wheel-drive, and a lively 7-speed dual clutch DSG transmission. The question is, despite matching the Mercedes for performance, could you see yourself opting for a VW instead?

That’s really the big question here, and one thing the Volkswagen Arteon doesn’t have is an image that matches the Merc. It can boast decent running costs, though, with its diesel engine returning 47.8mpg, while emitting 152g/km of CO2.

Being a performance car, the petrol model is unsurprisingly more expensive to run. It returns 38.7mpg at best, and emits 164g/km of CO2.

Inside, the VW competes with the two German cars for comfort and tech. Despite boasting gigantic 20” alloys, ride quality is mostly good, with only the most scarred roads causing discomfort. Moreover, you can also flick through the driving modes for more comfort.

The design of the cabin is rather conservative and doesn’t really excite. But there is a lot to appreciate about its sense of simplicity and logical layout. There are a few gadgets included that we think buyers will appreciate too, including the 9.2” infotainment system.

Modern tech, meanwhile, includes a lane-keeping assistance system and linked computers, cameras and sensors that automatically slows the car down for speed-limit adjustments.

It scores 5/5 for practicality. It’s bigger than the VW CC that it follows on from, and its long wheelbase ensures plenty of interior space. It’s easy to get comfortable, with everyone afforded plenty of shoulder, leg and knee room. Rear headroom is also far from being a problem, thanks to how the roof curves.

In a nice, luxurious touch, we love how the two outer rear seats are contoured.

The 563-litre boot rounds things off. It’s much bigger than the Mercedes – and not all that much smaller than the VW Passat.

Price:

Volkswagen – £33,500 – £40,000

Verdict Of Our 2017 Mercedes Benz CLA Class Coupe Review

It’s a Mercedes that doesn’t deliver a true Mercedes experience. It’s a bit uncomfortable, there are low-rent plastics inside the cabin, and it doesn’t have the cruising capabilities of more stellar Mercedes’.

On the plus side, it’s an affordable Mercedes with affordable running costs. It’s still got the three-pointed star badge, it still looks amazing, and it’s a very viable option. The new Mercedes Benz CLA Class Coupe is one of the best compact four-door Coupe’s around at this price point.

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