There is no better place than a race track to safely explore the limits of a performance vehicle and when the car in question is the Mercedes-Benz CLA 45 AMG it was even more fitting as we were keen to discover more about this baby AMG.
You see the CLA 45 AMG was one of the most important launches for Mercedes as here is a car that opens up a new segment for compact performance saloons. Priced at a competitive Rs 68.5 lakh it goes without saying that the CLA 45 will be the best selling AMG in India.
To us other than the obvious relevance to our market we were also looking forward to sample the AMG 2.0-litre turbo which is the most powerful four-cylinder series-production engine in the world. Making 355 bhp this is one quick motor but some questions remained namely does it sound like a proper AMG and does it have the performance that we expect from an AMG?
At the first the sudden rains did dampen my mood but fortunately when I reached it had dissapeared. Press conference over it was time to drive. Mercedes had assembled every AMG sold in India and among the beasts like the G63 AMG the CLA 45 AMG stood out.
Make no mistake this is a gorgeous car that clad in AMG styling details looks even better. Worth mentioning is the splitter is situated at the bottom end of the central cooling air opening, matt titanium grey twin-blade radiator grille, 5-spoke 18 inch light-alloy, wheels with the brake calipers lacquered in red and of course those exhausts. To my eyes you just cannot get a better looking car at this price and front or back there is no bad angle on this car. Brilliant.
Ok, enough looking, we need to drive. Strapped in I have little time to look around but enough to see the AMG performance steering wheel, gear selector and plethora of red stitching. The dash is just like on the A-Class and quality is fantastic. The AMG performance seats are very firm but they signal one thing- this car is about performance.
Following an SLS, first impressions are good. The CLA 45 while not having the rich V8 sound, manages to sound good but its only when you really cane it. Another important factor is that the CLA 45 is four-wheel-drive but that is only when it is 'necessary' as otherwise its front-wheel drive.
Getting into the first corner there is understeer which means the CLA 45 actually feels more like a front-wheel drive car. Then with a sight of a long straight I give full throttle and then the CLA 45 unleashes its wild side as to us the performance is what make this special.
Mercedes says it will do 0-100 kmph in less than 5 seconds and we can vouch for that. This engine feels strong and very eager with no lag. We saw nearly 230 kmph when we slammed on the brakes which by the way are epic. It also changes direction beautifully and the stiff suspension just suits the car. The car was kept in Sport mode for one lap and manual in another. We loved the manual as it lets you hold on to gears till eternity.
Before I knew it my time with car was over but this first taste reveals what a desirable car this baby AMG is. We like.