Mercedes-Benz CLA 45 AMG: Track Test
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AMG’s are always a delight to watch, but when it comes to being behind the wheel the entire experience is way more than tantalizing. Mercedes-Benz India recently came to the party with their latest entry level sports sedan called the CLA 45 AMG that has a price tag of Rs 68.5 lakhs (ex-showroom Delhi). So does it only provide a visual appeal or is there something else that directly relates to the AMG DNA is what we intend on find out.
The CLA 45 AMG was showcased for the first time in India during this year’s Auto Expo for which Mercedes received a whole lot of appreciation from both the media as well as perspective customers leave alone enthusiasts. And a few months down the line and we have it right here for sale. We drove the car recently but that was all on public roads and the beast was restricted. Now however we get to drive it on a proper race track. That’s right, what is more interesting than the hair raising experience while lapping it up at India’s most talked off F1 track – Buddh International Racing Circuit.
First glance and “Ah My God” phrase literally comes alive not to dismiss that AMG feeling which comes intact with a 2.0 litre four-cylinder turbo charged petrol engine under its hood. Mercedes CLA 45 AMG is therefore purposely made to attract the eye of the beholder which in its case works brilliantly due to its flowing lines that provide it a very attractive visual appearance. Blending immaculately into the profile are its frameless windows and a high belt line that runs right across from the front to the rear.
Its front is typically characterized by the prominent three pointed star logo which when clubbed with AMG body styling gives it an aggressive appeal. Detailing like matt titanium grey finish provided to front splitter and rear apron along with side panels just goes to show its sportiness from the outside. Plus 18 inch 5 twin-spoke really highlights the side profile. Merging almost effortlessly into the overall design is its muscular tail end which comprises of a pair of LED lamps, chrome plated twin tailpipes and a diffuser that complete the look. Seeing all of this, instantly there is a level of excitement to get in and just drive away which is exactly what we did on the track.
This is not the first time that we are driving an AMG, in fact in the past we had a couple of sessions concerning the E63 AMG and the AMG Driving Academy in general therefore I hope you get the drift that getting behind the wheel is a huge adrenaline delight in itself. Door with frameless window is the first thing that comes in notice, once seated the cabin is very similar to what is expected from an AMG. Leather wrapped AMG inspired steering adorns the interior with sporty dials directly implying its breed.
Going by the sheer nature of this machine, the seats provided herein are a perfect snug fit especially at the time when attacking those curves and hair bends that tend to unsettle an occupant. COMAND online which basically comprises of a 7 inch screen with TFT technology provides a hard disc with navigation system in addition to a DVD player, radio and 10 GB memory space to purpose of entertainment.
However, since we are out on the track all these aspects do not hold much relevance rather this was just for information that the sedan also offers Active Park Assist with a Reverse Camera that is helpful especially while parking in those confined spaces. We are sitting at the mid of the year and temperatures aren’t really helpful in enjoying a track session but would like to point out that the THERMOTRONIC automatic climate control system works really well in the CLA 45 AMG to keep the cabin well cooled at all times.
Now to the most anticipated part of this experience, the drive. Mercedes-Benz CLA 45 AMG showcases a purpose hand built Inline 4 Cylinder 1991cc turbo-charged petrol engine that develops a maximum power output of 356 bhp with 450 Nm of torque. What this translates into is a power horse on four wheels which sets up the stage for fulfilling your appetite for speed leave along testing one’s skills while negotiating corners and hairpin at the 5.14 km long track.
In performance this particular AMG can accelerate from 0-100 kmph in 4.6 seconds and is said to have an approximate top speed of 250 kmph however in real time we were able to clock a 210 kmph on the long straight. Its dual clutch transmission in the form of an AMG SPEEDSHIFT DCT 7 ensures spontaneous gear shifts with shorter duration. Within in it are two sub-transmissions, one that transfers the tractive power to the wheels while other is preselecting the next gear. In all practical purposes, the manual transmission which is optimised through paddle shifters work exceptionally well to provide spouts of power as and when required.
The 4Matic system further provides an all wheel drive that is a mix of dynamism, traction and efficiency. It caters to a fully-variable torque distribution system that can split the power generated in 50:50 ratios to the front and rear wheels for traction and control at all times. Riding on 235/40 R 18 wheels, this front wheel drive machine is brilliant supported by independently developed front and rear suspension that gives it enough ability to corner well though on a few occasions it does under steer a little but otherwise is fun on the track nevertheless.
In the end after an interactive track session on the track with our star of the day, one can only say that the Mercedes-Benz CLA 45 AMG is perhaps the cheapest AMG in the country at a very cost effective price (Rs 68.5 lakhs ex-showroom Delhi). However had it been a rear wheel drive sedan then the driving dynamics would be slightly different but nevertheless this particular sedan as all the right ingredients to be city car as well as a performance based machine when required to be.