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Test drive: Mercedes CLA coupe, splendidly stylish

The latest iteration of the popular Mercedes A-Class continued in its predecessor’s hatchback guise, quickly followed by a saloon, an estate and four-door coupe.

I drove the first of the quartet not long after launch and have spent a week behind the wheel of the last, the splendidly stylish CLA coupe, a lavishly-equipped 250 AMG Line Premium Plus model.

With its svelte yet dynamic lines, the car is slightly longer than the previous model.

The interior borrows finishing touches from the flagship S-Class, including a steering wheel with touchpads and the fully-digital cockpit display. Highlights of standard equipment include the all-new MBUX user experience with a touchscreen interface – first introduced in the new A-Class – and ‘Hey Mercedes’ intelligent voice recognition.

Mercedes CLA Coupe

AMG Line models come as standard with a 10.25-inch digital touchscreen infotainment display, seven-inch digital cockpit display, navigation with three years’ live services, LED high-performance headlights, privacy glass, two-zone automatic climate control, keyless-go starting function, DAB radio, smartphone integration, including Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, and wireless mobile phone charging You will also find features including heated front seats, leather upholstery, parking package and mirror package.

AMG Line Premium trim adds augmented navigation, ambient lighting, with a choice of 64 colours, a 225w sound system, illuminated door sills with ‘Mercedes-Benz’ lettering, and a rear armrest, while AMG Line Premium Plus further includes a panoramic sliding sunroof, multibeam LED headlights and adaptive high-beam assist plus and memory seats with lumbar support for the driver and front passenger.

‘The CLA gives new depth of meaning to the word impressive, with an infotainment system that places two digital displays in a continuous sweep across the top of the dash’

Sharing its dash design with the A-Class, the CLA gives new depth of meaning to the word impressive, with an infotainment system that places two digital displays in a continuous sweep across the top of the dash.

The turbine-style air vents and climate toggle switches, look just right, too. And, speaking of looks, the swooping roofline, planted stance and AMG Line body-styling pile on the kerb-appeal.

The AMG Line touches are: front apron with front splitter in chrome; bonnet power domes; side-sill panels, and a rear apron with chrome trim. There’s a ‘diamond’ front grille with pins in chrome, a silver-painted louvre and chrome insert.

All that tasty detailing flags up a car with lots of go, and the CLA Coupe doesn’t disappoint – the two-litre, four-cylinder petrol engine delivering 224bhp, with 0-62mph in 6.3 seconds and a top speed of 155mph, electronically limited, via its seven-speed automatic gearbox.

Combined fuel consumption is 41.5mpg-38.7mpg (all maker’s figures). That slick transmission is operated via a steering column stalk, an unusual arrangement that takes a little getting used to but works so well, adding to a driving experience that is as involving as you want to make it, with a series of ‘modes’ to select.

‘Sport’ sharpens up an already seriously quick car that boasts crisp handling, well-judged ride and bags of usable power.

Price: From £36,680 OTR.

Frank Turner
Frank is a respected journalist who has specialised for many years in writing car reviews and motoring industry news for national and regional newspapers.

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