When it launched back in 2014, the CLA proved you didn't need deep pockets to afford a gorgeous Mercedes-Benz sedan - one that looked thousands more than it cost, no less. During its time on sale, the CLA has become a genuine success story, so much so that Mercedes opted to change very little for the car's first mid-life update.
2017 CLAs don't look a whole lot different than previous model year cars. From the outside, only the most diligent will spot the revised LED tail lamps and the new headlights, which are now also available with full LED beams. A revised front bumper sits just below; on the high-performance AMG model, there are tiny downforce-generating canards, an old-school racing trick featured previously on other AMG products. There are new designs for the alloy wheels on all trim levels, too.
Moving inside, the CLA also benefits from a slightly more glamorous interior. The basic dash and console design are the same, but there's more metal-finish interior trim, standard faux suede interior inserts for the AMG trim, and a bigger 8.0-inch infotainment screen which still happens to look a whole lot like a docked iPad. Available Apple CarPlay further reinforces the visual look. Android Auto is also available for those who don't favour Apple tech. Other upgrades to the CLA's cabin include a standard rear-view camera system, and where equipped, an upgraded hands-free keyless system that pops the trunk's decklid with the wave of a foot.
All CLAs also receive standard emergency autonomous braking, though blind-spot monitoring is an option.
What hasn't changed is the CLA's tiny interior dimensions. The rear quarters are tight, with little leg- and headroom. Those needing greater accommodations may prefer the taller-statured GLA-Class compact crossover or the B-Class tall wagon. All three ride on the same platform.
The standard engine on the CLA 250 is a 2.0-litre turbocharged and direct-injected four-cylinder that develops 208 horsepower and 258 lb-ft of torque. It comes paired with a seven-speed dual-clutch automated transmission that drives the front wheels on the base trim, or all four wheels on the CLA 250 4Matic. With front-wheel drive, the CLA consumes as little as 9.6 L/100 km city and 6.4 L/100 km highway.
Those with a need for speed are sure to appreciate the CLA 45 AMG, which received a big power boost last year. Peak power is up to 370 horsepower, while torque is rated at 350 lb-ft. That's enough to claim victory over its chief rivals, and plenty of more powerful vehicles, some with twice the cylinders and displacement. The more powerful engine slingshots the CLA 45 AMG to 100 km/h in 4.2 seconds - a time that's deep into Corvette and Porsche 911 territory. All from a car that retails for just a hair over $50,000.
Speaking of price, the new CLA 250 starts at $35,300 with the CLA 250 4Matic selling for $37,500. The CLA 45 AMG is priced at $51,800.