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.

Mercedes CLA 45 AMG front

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.

Top 10 best performance cars on sale now

  1. Ford Focus RS
  2. Mercedes AMG C63
  3. BMW M2
  4. Volkswagen Golf R
  5. BMW M3
  6. Lexus GS F
  7. Audi RS3 Sportback
  8. Mercedes AMG CLA 45
  9. Vauxhall VXR8
  10. Subaru WRX STi

Most Popular

Genesis G80 vs Mercedes E-Class vs Lexus ES
Genesis G80 vs Mercedes E-Class vs Lexus ES
Genesis G80

Genesis G80 vs Mercedes E-Class vs Lexus ES

The Genesis G80 looks to make an impact in the executive saloon class as we pitch it against the Mercedes E-Class and Lexus ES
18 Sep 2021
'The death of cheap cars will be a travesty for personal mobility'
Opinion cheap cars
Opinion

'The death of cheap cars will be a travesty for personal mobility'

Our appetite for small, cheap cars is as strong as ever - although Mike Rutherford warns they may no longer be profitable
12 Sep 2021
E10 petrol explained: UK prices, checker tool and is it OK for your car?
Petrol pump
News

E10 petrol explained: UK prices, checker tool and is it OK for your car?

E10 petrol is up to 10 per cent ethanol and is available at UK fuel stations now as part of the bid to cut CO2 emissions
1 Sep 2021