Mercedes-Benz calls its CLA-Class a coupe, but since we see four doors, we think it's a sedan. Either way, it's the German brand's smallest car, and it gets a few changes to its lists of standard and optional features for 2018.
As before, there's the CLA 250 with a choice of front- or all-wheel drive, and the double-quick AMG CLA 45, which comes only with AWD.
Both models gain a "sailing" function that disengages the transmission when the driver releases the throttle at speed, a move Mercedes says reduces fuel consumption by taking advantage of the car's forward momentum.
In the CLA 250, a backup camera is standard, shifting from the premium package, which gets LED headlights in place of the formerly optional camera. Those LED lights used to be part of the premium plus package, so a power-adjustable front passenger seat replaces them in that option pack. A new night package is available, too.
The AMG CLA 45 also now includes a backup camera, which has been dropped from that car's premium package, with no replacement. New to the options list here is an AMG performance studio package.
Unchanged are the CLA's fundamentals: both models use a 2.0L turbocharged four-cylinder engine. In the CLA 250, it's tuned for 208 hp and 258 lb-ft of torque, while the AMG CLA 45 boasts 375 hp and 350 lb-ft. Both share a seven-speed dual-clutch automatic transmission.
Conceived to attract new buyers to the Benz brand with its accessible price, the CLA's interior is commensurate with the car's entry-level status, offering usable space for two with back seats best used only in a pinch. In that sense, then, the coupe label is actually pretty accurate.
Direct competitors include the likes of the BMW 2 Series, Audi A3 and Mini Cooper; performance-wise, we could also make a case for the AMG version being worthy of a cross-shop against the Honda Civic Type R, even though the two cars are intended for very different audiences. If you like the CLA but need more space, both the B-Class and GLA-Class are built on the same platform, and all three models drive very similarly.
Standard kit in the CLA 250 includes an electric parking brake, LED taillights and daytime running lights, heated side mirrors, 17-inch wheels, leather-trimmed steering wheel, Artico upholstery, heated front seats with 12-way driver's seat adjustment, ambient lighting, keyless start, seven-inch infotainment display, backup camera, automatic headlights, rain-sensing wipers and active brake assist with hold function.
An optional premium package includes blind spot assist, LED headlights, an eight-inch infotainment screen and smartphone integration; a premium plus pack brings auto-dimming rearview and driver's side mirrors and passive keyless entry with hands-free trunk.
Both the sport and night packages include 18-inch wheels, enhanced engine sound, sport brakes and AMG styling elements.
The CLA 45 comes standard with performance-oriented powertrain and chassis components, plus more aggressive styling that includes 18-inch wheels. There's also a Nappa leather steering wheel and 12-way power front seats in Artico/Dinamica upholstery. The rest of the list echoes that of the CLA 250.
The premium and premium plus option packages carry over too, and then there are additional packages like AMG driver's, track and AMG performance studio packages, and a handful of standalone extras.
Fuel consumption estimates are 9.6/6.4 L/100 km (city/highway) for the CLA 250 and 10.7/7.6 in the CLA 45.