The Mercedes CLA45 AMG is a complete hoot to drive on the track, it has impressive grip
Of late you must have heard many auto journalists say “Ah My God!”. No, it’s got nothing related to automotive excise duty cuts but there is a new kid on the ‘AMG’ block known as the Mercedes CLA45 AMG that urges you to give that expression. Mercedes-Benz invited us to the launch of the new compact performance sedan at the Buddh International Circuit to taste the track behaviour of the baby AMG. Earlier this month we reviewed the CLA45 AMG on the urban streets of Mumbai and its twisty outskirts but on the track we got to experience the meteoric Mercedes in its untamed avatar.
There’s no denying about the fact that the Mercedes CLA45 AMG looks astonishing from every angle. The low slung skirts hug the tarmac and look quite racy, the imposing front profile wants to eat you while the coupe roofline ends at a zealous tail. I couldn’t resist and pick the Jupiter Red colour to paint the circuit red. The pit lane was full of white and red CLA45 AMGs and two leading senior AMG cars for instructors including the E63 and SLS AMG. Before getting the green signal to go, I explored the familiar A-Class interior on the CLA45 AMG that gets extensive AMG treatment, which makes it special. The red stitching, red seatbelts, Affalterbach AMG gear knob, sporty bucket seats and the Alcantara on the steering wheel makes you feel confident to attack the track.
Accelerating hard at the back straight saw the CLA45 AMG nudge past the 200 km/hr mark
Exiting the pit lane was like the silence before the storm because once I hit the track and buried the throttle, the world’s most powerful 4-cylinder engine really came into its own. It’s quick off the line and 0-100 km/hr comes up in just 4.6 seconds. The baby AMG reaches from one corner to another swiftly and the quick revving engine feels happy to be revved hard and shines in the mid-range. It’s only at the long straight where the junior AMG takes time to reach 200 km/hr mark compared to the senior AMGs. Also, the CLA45 AMG doesn’t sound as crazy as its elder siblings and instead there is a muted sporty engine and exhaust note with a kickback.
The 7-speed AMG gearbox is quite responsive and using the manual mode with paddle shifts was quite a joy. The best part of this gearbox is that it doesn’t upshift in manual mode on its own until you command it to shift. We maxed at around 220 km/hr on the back straight and the stability of this compact sedan is truly commendable. The steering feels confident at high speeds, suspension stays planted and when you stand on the brakes at 220 km/hr, they do an excellent job with linear bite and stop the car without any hint of fading. The Buddh International Circuit is a good blend of sharp corners, bends and fast straights and the CLA45 AMG felt exhilarating on the track.
The all-wheel drive AMG 4MATIC system provides immense grip while cornering hard, which is razor sharp but it tends to understeer when you push it too hard. The low profile, wide section tyres further provide confidence on attacking corners and I thoroughly enjoyed doing so with a cocooned feeling that the compact performance sedan gives. All in all, the Mercedes CLA 45 AMG is a sweet track car and a practical one too. You can enjoy the occasional track days as well as move about in style with four people onboard. Also, the Mercedes CLA 45 AMG has got a fairly attractive pricing so it’s a low hanging fruit for performance seekers.