I want to start by highlighting how sexy that thing is. Even though it is the cheapest Mercedes Sedan you can buy, for me it looks much better than its bigger cousins. That front hood, that smashed rear with those beautiful rear stop lights, those two exhaust tips and all of that put together with a zest of aggressiveness, Mercedes created a category of their own, the “compact sedan”.
Being heavily based on the A200, it features the same interior, the same front-wheel-drive system, same seven-speed dual-clutch automatic transmission and same 1.6 liters turbocharged 4 cylinder engine developing 156hp and 250nm of torque. Performance was pretty similar to the A class. You really have to push it in order to squeeze power out of it. But when you do, performance isn’t bad at all. Handling was fine, specially on those 18 inches wheels. Cruising around town, the CLA was very comfortable and its size wasn’t a hassle even on our small narrow streets. The active dynamic steering, front and back sensors and rear view camera made that thing a joy to park. You would be surprised but its boot is really big with a capacity of 470 liters (versus 341L for A-Class). In standard form, the CLA 200 comes with bi-xenon headlamps, a panoramic roof, leather seats, front and rear sensors, a rear view camera, cruise control and Bluetooth phone/audio connectivity. All of that for a total price of $58,500 in Lebanon.
All in all, loved the package, aesthetically speaking the car looks fine from the inside (except for that floating screen) and so damn hot from the outside. I think it is fairly priced for what it is worth and compared to prices of other sedans in Lebanon. In case you’re more of a performance junky you might want to consider the CLA250 with its 208hp. Other than that, the CLA200 would be just fine. Special thanks obviously goes to Mercedes Lebanon for putting that beautiful German creature in my hands for a weekend.
I must say that A200 was quite a surprise. The engine, a 1,6 liters Turbocharged engine was a joy to drive. Even though it has an output of 156hp and 250nm of torque, it manages a very respectable 0-100km/h time of 8.3 seconds. The car feels light, has a very precise steering and really grips through the corners. Suspension was comfortable yet there wasn’t too much body roll. Yes I have to admit it, in order to enjoy it you have to floor it constantly but, with the 3 instagram winners of the “A200 cruise” as passengers, the car was able to climb from Beirut to Baabdat through Metn el Sari3 highway with not too much struggle. The seven speed dual-clutch gearbox was smooth but felt less responsive than the DSG. The fact that there is no gear shift was very weird at first but I got used to it pretty fast specially thanks to the paddle shifts.
Aesthetically, the car looks really good from the inside but that small screen with huge borders looks a bit odd, reminds me of that digital photo frame I offered my grand mother last Christmas. Seats looked really good and were comfortable. You do feel that you are in a Mercedes. As driven, that blue hatch costs $46,500. (Keep in mind a 116 one series BMW with its 136hp costs around $40k)
So would I advise you to buy one? If you are a girl looking for a first car, and daddy would never accept to buy you other than a Mercedes because it would ruin the reputation of the family, that is the car for you! A BMW 1 series could be suitable as well as an economical, not very fast and safe first car in the same budget. (If your dad is one of those anti-front-wheel-drive kind of guys). Personally, as a car to get a first driving experience on, I would rather get a 1,6 Golf 7 (even-though it has only 105hp) which looks as good if not better from the inside and the outside and satisfies the same purpose as the A. Last but not least, I would like to thank Mercedes Lebanon for this wonderful opportunity they gave me to test one of their newest models. Had a blast!
I mentioned the SLS AMG in my previous post “Super Service” that featured Roger Federer. For this commercial, Mercedes has attempted to win the Guinness World Record for the ‘Furthest Golf Shot Caught in a Moving Car.’ Jake Shepherd (professional UK golf player) launched the golf ball from the tee at a speed of 286.46 kmh, and David Coulthard (professional British Formula one driver) made sure it landed in the SLS AMG, 275 metres down the runway. Mercedes were the ones to set the record, there were none before. With this trend of creating a convertible edition of every super car, I think the record is gonna be broken very soon.