The CLA is the four-door saloon version of the A-Class, although Mercedes likes to call it a coupé because, y’know, marketing. It has the same 2729mm wheelbase as the hatchback and the same body stiffening, so fundamentally it is the same thing – so AMG wants the two to give the same experience.
There are, though, some subtle differences. The standard CLA already runs marginally wider tracks than the A, so its wings don’t have to be reprofiled as much as the A’s to accommodate the 45’s wider front rack, while its rear track remains a few millimetres wider on the AMG too, because the A’s five-door body can’t be pushed any wider.
The CLA also runs 10mm wider rubber, so 255/35 ZR19s front and rear rather than the A’s 245s, and with wheels that are 9.0in wide rather than 8.5in. More metalwork – this is 4693mm long while the A is 4445mm – means the kerb weight is 50kg more, at 1675kg, and the extra is all located low and to the back. I suspect, although Mercedes hasn’t said, that torsional rigidity is a touch higher on the CLA, too.
How does the CLA 45 compare to the A 45?
There are differences, but they’re pretty subtle. The driving environment feels the same – the CLA’s overall height is only 5mm lower than the A’s – so there’s the same overwhelming interior and no difference in the powertrain. My go in the CLA on a circuit was brief and they were sighting laps behind a pace car, so I can’t tell you what the extreme handling differences between the two are like.