Mercedes-AMG CLA 45 - best performance cars
Mercedes used to claim it had the world’s most powerful four-cylinder production engine in the front of the CLA 45 – and it did until the latest Volvo V60 Polestar emerged.
Nevertheless, 355bhp and 450Nm of torque are still mightily impressive calling cards, and with the help of a twin-clutch gearbox and launch control the CLA 45 will dispatch 0-62mph in a rapid 4.5 seconds. With suspension that’s lower and stiffer than the standard car, and with standard 4MATIC all-wheel-drive, the CLA 45 can corner very fast indeed. Other upgrades over regular CLAs include sportier settings for the steering and automated gearbox, as well as beefed up brakes.
The downside is suspension that’s uncomfortably firm at low speed, but such gripes are soon forgotten when you’re pressing on in the baby Merc sports saloon – or four-door coupe, as the maker prefers to call it.
The exhaust sounds fruity, but without the extra pops and bangs of the same engine in the more frenetic AMG A45, as the CLA 45 is geared towards a slightly more laid-back user. Really cool cats can opt for the CLA 45 in Shooting Brake estate guise, but the extra weight will cost them a couple of tenths over the 0-62mph sprint.
With styling inspired by the highly successful CLS, the CLA 45 is an eye-catching if rather expensive choice. AMG visual upgrades are typically subtle, but include 19-inch alloys, deeper bumpers and squared-off twin tailpipes.