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Mercedes-Benz CLA45 AMG: Ballin’ on a budget or the real AMG deal?

For many years now, AMG have been churning out ballistic machines with hand-built engines. The cars sole purpose has been to generate power, noise, and tire smoke. Now though, there’s a new generation of AMG vehicles and one of the interesting spots in the lineup is occupied by the CLA45 AMG.

It’s a compact sedan that’s shaped a bit like a coupe and offers up turbocharged four-cylinder goodness. That doesn’t sound like something that the mad minds at AMG would cook up… until you realize that this is one of the most powerful four-cylinder engines ever created.

Still, is it the real AMG experience or is it merely a budget pretender? Let’s watch…

  • PotbellyJoe ©

    The issue, for me, is that this car if it were a Lexus would be praised. I have driven one, it was a heck of a lot of fun and up to standards of luxury and sport. The problem ultimately is that it is not German sports sedan kind of feel. It was just not quite that feeling of perfect that you feel in the BMW and (albeit older) Audis S4.

    The only thing that screams "European" to me about this car is the cost. Everything else feels Japanese wanna-be.

    It just isn't quite right IMO.

    If I were looking for something in this category, I would be hard pressed to not go M235…

    • I'm eager to drive the new Audi S3 – I've heard very good things.
      I would love to try out that M235 but BMW hasn't returned my emails in probably 4 years… so fuck them.

      • PotbellyJoe ©

        Sounds BMW-ish. I remember when I used to have to get their lease offices on the phone if we want to buyout a lease. You were better off just dropping it off at the closest BMW dealer with a post-it on the steering wheel saying "I work at ___ Dealership, call me we want to buy this." and having the BMW dealer process the lease return.

        The only company i have ever dealt with who cared less than BMW was Hyundai and we at one point had a Hyundai shop.

        • AUTO PRESS INSIGHT TIME

          Hyundai is a pleasure to work with, as our a good number of automaker pr departments.

          Ford (West Coast specifically) and BMW don't want much to do with us, Ford is open and honest about it and invites us to regional stuff when they can. I appreciate the direct approach but I do wish they were a bit more lenient with their fleet, as there are TONS of Ford product I'd like to shoot. BMW just doesn't.give.a.fuck. I once reviewed a 335, and I thought we did a great job on the video. In fact, it has over 200k views at the moment: – I emailed the PR s the link… and I didn't even get a reply. It's crazy to me that someone wouldn't at least write a quick "Yep thanks, got it"

          Lamborghini, Bentley, and some ultra exotics are easier to work with in this case. Morgan is easier to work with! Aston Martin is a dream to work with… BMW, ugh.

          I know I slam them a bit, which you can hear on the podcast… but I'm ultra curious to sample the products in the lineup that are actually ultimate driving machines. M235? DYING to drive it. M4? Would LOVE to spend time with it. X4? Wish it would die in a tire fire. i8? Probably one of the most amazing cars on the planet at the moment.

          Want to know about anyone else? I feel chatty… ask away.

          • PotbellyJoe ©

            That's awesome. I've heard Ford is tighter in the last 5 years with who and how on their cars. I used to get invited to regional stuff for the Fords and it was basically, "Go ahead and roast the car, we have more." But a buddy of mine recently got the evil eye for even implying what he wanted to do with the new Mustang.

            I had the chance to deal with Hyundai PR at an event in northern NJ, they were wonderfully accommodating, so I would echo the sentiments, that's why it always confused me that they're business reps were so shitty. Maybe it was just an Mid-Atlantic region issue.

            The one thing truly on my bucket list for cars is I want a tour of the Lordstown plant so badly I dream of it 3 times a week. I have driven past it roughly 30 times a year since 1998 on my way to and from MI. I've seen the lots full of Cruzes and nearly empty when it was Cavaliers. My Father-in-Law was a line manager for the AC Delco plant here in NJ, so my wife has had a soft-spot for GM her entire life. I was raised Ford, but very heavy UAW in the family. When the entire country went to financial shit in 2009, I shed tears driving past Lordstown seeing it barren and wondering if it would ever be fully utilized again. When the Cruze launched, I shed more tears to drive past at 3 AM and see smoke from the stacks and cars in the lot. I hate the state of Ohio, but I love Lordstown.

            How hard would it be to ever pull off a tour there?

            • Good question… I have no idea. Email me at [email protected] and we'll see if we can set something up.

              • PotbellyJoe ©

                Done.

  • Bud Rue

    Beauty may only be skin deep, but this steaming pile's ugliness goes all the way to the subframe.

  • JayP2112

    Nice Hyundai Sonata.

    Edit:l I joke but the take on the A3 is 2 to 1 over the CLA. The A3 looks like an Audi.

    • Maymar

      To be fair, the Sonata looks like a cheap CLS, while the CLA looks like a CLS that shrunk in the dryer, so they're bound to look alike. And not that this is a high bar to clear, but even cheap Benz materials are better than Sonata materials (if you said close to Accord-grade interior though, you wouldn't be far off).

      FWIW, I haven't really been in a CLA yet, but I spent a few minutes with a B250 (which, hey, same platform, similar price point), and I've been moving a new A3 or two every week for months now. The B250 is a monumental step forward over the previous gen B-class (which really struggled to justify its $30k+ price), while the new A3 feels cheaper and less solid than the previous A3. The A3 certainly feels like it'd be an excellent drive, but then the B250's not bad either (although it feels a little tall, something the CLA wouldn't deal with).

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