German car maker Mercedes Benz has been launching a barrage of cars for India in a bid to reclaim the title of no.1 luxury car manufacturer. One of the first luxury marques to enter the Indian market, Mercedes Benz’s popularity has steadily declined with the arrival of Audi and BMW. This was partly due to the image of the brand’s lineup. While BMW and Audi’s lineup appeal to the youth, Mercedes Benz has always been a bit of an “old man’s” car.
In the hopes to destroy that brand image, Mercedes Benz abandoned Bruno Sacco’s school of design for a more youthful, zealous design philosophy. With the latest design methodology, Mercedes Benz soon garnered quick attention. Cars such as the new A-Class, B-Class and E-Class soon became best sellers. However, the fight to get to the top is a fierce one and Benz will need all the models it can bring in to fight off its German rivals.
One such area of the market, still untouched by luxury car makers is the entry level sports car segment. While Audi, BMW and Mercedes Benz all have cars such as the RS7, M6 Gran Coupe and the E63 AMG in their lineup of sports saloons, the number of manufacturers catering to the entry level sports car segment is almost zero. Benz has taken advantage of the situation and will soon release the CLA45 AMG sports sedan for the Indian market. Set for a July 22nd launch date, the CLA45 AMG will have no direct competition and will surely be one of the most popular sports cars till date.
The CLA45 AMG serves as an entry point into the mad world of Benz’s skunkworks division, AMG. Despite being a mere entry level model, the CLA45 AMG is powered by the most powerful four cylinder engine in the world. The 2.0 L four cylinder turbocharged petrol engine produces 355 HP and a tarmac shredding 450Nm of torque. Although the very same engine is used on the smaller A45 AMG hatch, the CLA 45 AMG is light enough to still make potent use of the incredible engine. Power is sent to all four wheels via a 7 speed DCT gearbox, similar to the one found on the SLS AMG. Needless to say, Mercedes Benz has not skimped on its baby AMG.
The CLA 45 AMG is undoubtedly one of the best looking cars from the Three Pointed Star yet. Following the new design methodology, the CLA 45 is one of the most aggressive looking cars Mercedes has ever made. The front end features a silver air dam above which sit two massive air intakes on either side. The aggressive body work from the CLA sedan has been further reworked to provide adequate cooling for its souped up 2.0 L engine.
Despite being a four door coupe, the sloping roofline will not allow tall passengers to sit back in adequate comfort. One of the most interesting bits of the CLA 45 AMG are its frameless doors. The five spoke alloys sit on run flat tyres and its red brake calipers add to the overall sporty look of the CLA 45.
The rear features a large, beautifully styled wing shaped tail lamps along with a silver diffuser. The chrome tipped quad exhausts, two mounted on either side of the rear bumper integrate perfectly with the overall silhouette of the car.
The interiors are as expected of a Mercedes. The entire cabin is finished in black, maintaining the sporty theme inside as well. The center console features a host of controls for the music system, air conditioning and other drive settings. The infotainment system’s main screen is located atop the dash, just above the three central air vents. While this may simply look sporty, the ergonomically placed display also aids better visibility for the driver. The three spoke steering wheel is wrapped in premium leather and finished with silver accents. As with all upmarket cars, the CLA 45 AMG also comes with a host of steering mounted controls for the infotainment system.
Despite being released in a highly conservative market such as India, the CLA 45 AMG retains the recaro seats, red seat belts and contrasting red stitching throughout further establishing its AMG DNA. One of the most striking bits of the interiors is the gear lever. Unlike traditional knob shaped gear sticks, the CLA45 makes use of an interesting design.
With an expect price point of around Rs. 50 – 60 lakhs (ex-showroom), the CLA 45 is an ample mix of pedestrian and track ready beast for an unbeatable price!
Image Courtesy: Car and Driver