What is it?
When it was launched in 2013, the Mercedes-Benz CLA promised refinement and performance in an elegantly swooping saloon package. A world sales total of 750,000 units suggests the cocktail worked, so it’s time for a new generation – including this, the compact CLA 250 four-door coupé.
And compact is the word, even if this new version is both longer and wider than its predecessor. The CLA 250 is based on the underpinnings of the A-Class, and from the inside it will certainly be familiar to those with experience of the popular hatchback.
On the outside, the long, curving bonnet – complete with (in Mercedes parlance) twin ‘power dome’ bulges – and a short boot create a car that is pleasing to the eye, with fine AMG Line design details such as attractive chrome doorhandles and front splitter, plus Merc’s trademark diamond grille, creating a proposition that is aimed squarely at a younger market than is perhaps traditional for the Three-Pointed Star.
Performance with a sporting edge was the intention and on that point, this CLA delivers in a manner that will induce smiles – and in the right circumstances, even a beaming grin. But that compact nature inevitably means compromise when it comes to practicalities. This is not a saloon for everyone – which again is probably the intention.