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Mercedes-AMG CLA 45 2022 in the test: AMG baby with bite
Mercedes-AMG is relatively new to the AWD subcompact sports car game, but it's come a long way in the few years it's competed in the US, and the Mercedes-AMG CLA 45 is the proof you need. This second-generation luxury subcompact packs a whopping 382 horsepower from its 2.0-liter turbocharged four-cylinder engine and rolls off the starting blocks thanks to a 4Matic AWD system and an eight-speed dual-clutch automatic transmission. The exterior and interior of the CLA 45 also exude style and the list of standard equipment is impressive. Combine that with a tricky AWD system, launch control and even a drift mode, and it's an impressive performance machine that will make even inexperienced drivers look like superheroes. It might be a significant step up from its predecessor, but it has what it takes to shake off a new one.Audi RS3and a massive overwhelmedCadillac CT4-V Blackwingin a segment where BMW doesn't even show up at the party? The simple answer is that this fight is closer than ever.
Read this review:
- design the exterior 10 /10
- Performance 10 /10
- fuel consumption 8 /10
- interior and cargo 10 /10
- Infotainment and features 10 /10
- reliability 7 /10
- Security 10 /10
- cost-benefit 8 /10
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Changes to the Mercedes-AMG CLA 45 2022:How is it different from the 2021 AMG CLA 45?
There are not many changes for the 2022 model year. The new car differs from the 2021 AMG CLA 45 sedan in terms of design and minor technological additions. Mercedes-AMG introduced the AMG Night Package Plus, which includes all the extras of the AMG Night Package with the addition of black grilles and black exterior badges. Rose gold complements the exterior color palette, the optional Premium Pack now includes SiriusXM satellite radio and a USB-C cable is included as standard.
Advantages and disadvantages
- elegant exterior design
- Drift mode is more than just a gimmick
- The handling flatters even novice drivers
- interior premium
- Lots of standard technology
- Punches well above his weight class
- narrow back height
- small trunk
- Small size, AMG price tag
- A little too dependent on baby monitors
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2022 Mercedes-AMG CLA 45 4MATIC
2022 Mercedes-AMG CLA 45 4MATIC
2022 Mercedes-AMG CLA 45 4MATIC
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2022 Mercedes-AMG CLA 45 trims
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|AMG CLA 45 4MATIC|| |
all wheel drive
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Handling and generating impressions
Gone are the days when driving an AWD performance car meant excellent grip in a straight line but terrible understeer everywhere else. The previous generation CLA and A-Class AMG cars will always be remembered for their fantastic acceleration, but also for their appalling understeer and general lack of entertainment behind the wheel. Mercedes-AMG has corrected its mistakes with the new generation and what a huge difference.
The CLA 45, unlike its little brother the CLA 35, features sophisticated torque distribution technology that allows the CLA 45 to drive like a rear-wheel drive car. That means plenty of on-demand oversteer, and not just in drift mode. Even in Sport mode, the CLA 45 kicks out under heavy accelerating loads, while the front wheels retain enough traction to steer things in the right direction. Driving like a normal human, the CLA 45 is refined, if not a little stiff; for this reason we recommend the optionally available adaptive damping for relief. But this car's target market will understand that a little stiffness comes with territory.
Drive the baby AMG hard around corners and the grip becomes apparent; You are absolutely gorgeous. The CLA 45 packs a lifetime and does not disappear into understeer misery when it becomes too much for him. The CLA 45 is fun in every direction. The only caveat is that we think a little too much of her incredulous ability as the result of computers and electronic gimmicks. That flatters novice drivers and makes good drivers feel superhuman, but it will also give plenty of drivers plenty of confidence, and when the nannies are gone the CLA 45 will bite you.
Verdict:Is the 2022 Mercedes-AMG CLA 45 A a good car?
While models like the Subaru WRX STI are dead, signaling a slowdown for the AWD sports sedan, Mercedes-AMG has proven they can still be exciting even in the modern age. The improvement from the first to the second generation of the Mercedes-AMG CLA 45 is monumental and represents a quantum leap in the way we see Mercedes-AMG products. We never thought we'd see the day when a FWD-based AMG product could slide and carve corners with equal precision and driving pleasure, and yet AMG pulled a rabbit out of its hat here. Now the CLA 45 runs confidently, with a chassis balance that was previously lacking. Tires are no longer a shield used to overcome poor suspension setup, but work coherently with the rest of the mechanics. The gearbox is a huge improvement, the steering even feels better. While BMW doesn't offer a really hot version of the 2 Series Gran Coupe - even if the M235i GC already did, the M235i GC has let us down - Audi's new RS3 will face stiff competition from AMG.
As for the cons, rear visibility is compromised and even a subcompact Mercedes AMG CLA 45 is no longer subcompact, meaning there's plenty of room to maneuver. These are minor flaws in the grand scheme of things, however, and while purists might still find a little more enjoyment in a BMW M2 coupe, the AMG CLA 45 is a performance car for the everyday driver who doesn't need motorsport experience to get the most of it to offer.
Check out other Mercedes-Benz CLA Class styles
AMG-CLA 35 Compare
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2022 Mercedes-AMG CLA 45 vs. Mercedes-Benz Class CLA
These cars are obviously siblings, with the biggest difference under the skin. Like its bigger brother, the CLA 250 is attractive, but it cannot match the CLA 45 in terms of aggressiveness. Inside, both share a similar interior design, but again, the CLA 45 outperforms the CLA 250 in terms of overall styling and its sportier seats. However, both cars share the same interior and trunk. The CLA 250's 2.0-liter turbocharged engine produces 221 hp and 258 lb-ft of torque, sending its power to the front or all four wheels in the 250 4Matic configuration. Performance levels between these cars vary greatly, but the CLA 250 has an advantage; it's much lighter on fuel. The 2022 CLA starts at $38,200, which is a far cry from the roughly $55,000 you pay for the CLA 45. Choose the 45 if you're a wild animal, or opt for the CLA 250 coupe if you're an entry-level real estate agent.
See Mercedes-Benz CLA class overview
2022 Mercedes-AMG CLA 45 vs Mercedes-AMG CLA 35
The Mercedes-AMG CLA 35 is the baby of the AMG family and sits below the CLA 45. The 35 is powered by a 2.0-liter turbocharged engine similar to that of the CLA 45, but it produces 302 hp and 295 lb- ft less powerful, a difference of 80 hp and 56 lb-ft. The CLA 35 reaches 60 mph in 4.8 seconds; almost a second slower than the CLA 45. Power is sent to all four wheels via a seven-speed automatic transmission that doesn't feel as crisp as the CLA 45's eight-speed unit, and the lack of any sort of torque vectoring at the rear means, that the CLA 35 loses any real drift ability, while the 45 can feel almost entirely rear-drive under certain conditions. The 35 is a fast car, but it feels almost sluggish compared to its bigger brother and fails to replicate the antics of the CLA 45. Is the CLA 45 worth $8,000 more than the CLA 35? Well, if you prefer getting every ounce of performance, definitely. But if you prefer luxury to pure performance, you'll save some money.
See the Mercedes-AMG CLA 35 review
2022 Mercedes-AMG CLA 45 vs Audi RS3
After a one-year hiatus in which the CLA 45 was left to its own devices, the Audi RS3 is back for 2022! It is based on an updated version of the MQB platform and is more of an evolution than a revolution. Like the AMG, the RS3 now also has an all-wheel drive system with drift mode and, like the AMG, a dual-clutch automatic transmission, but with seven gears instead of eight. The Audi's party trick, however, is a 401-hp, 2.5-liter, turbocharged five-cylinder engine that howls, howls, and sings, while the four-pot CLA 45 sounds like a raging washing machine in comparison, and has just 382-hp and 354 lb-ft. The Audi does 100 km/h in 3.6 seconds, four tenths faster than the AMG. Both are well specified and much of the ownership experience comes down to brand preference, but the Audi lacks practicality with a smaller trunk, which makes up for it with traditional sedan proportions and more rear headroom. These two have never been as close together or as dynamically talented as they are now, but with Mercedes refusing to bring a full CLA 45 S to America, Audi has the upper hand in terms of performance, which is enough to ever sway our judgement so slightly in its favor, despite costing $3,000 more in basic form.
See the Audi RS3 review
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