Hot 415bhp Mercedes-AMG CLA 45 S saloon has reached the UK market, with a base-price of £52,145
The new Mercedes-AMG CLA 45 S 4MATIC+ is on sale in the UK now, priced from £52,145. It’s Affalterbach’s latest rival for the Audi RS3 saloon, which it now outguns by 20bhp thanks a total power output of 415bhp. First deliveries are due to arrive by winter this year.
Like the new Mercedes-AMG A 45 S, the CLA 45 S is powered by a turbocharged 2.0-litre four-cylinder engine, producing 415bhp and 500Nm of torque. As such, it has the highest specific output (horsepower per litre) of any production engine.
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The engine sends drive to all four wheels via an eight-speed dual-clutch transmission. Mercedes claims the compact super saloon can dispatch the 0–62mph sprint in four seconds flat, before reaching an electronically limited top speed of 168mph.
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Standard equipment for the CLA 45 S 4MATIC+ includes a set of 19-inch alloy wheels, red brake calipers, an AMG-branded steering wheel, a 64-colour customisable ambient lighting system, a 10.25-inch digital gauge cluster, a 10.25-inch infotainment system and a pair of heavily bolstered sports seats trimmed in artificial leather and suede.
The range-topping CLA 45 S 4MATIC+ Plus variant adds Multibeam LED headlights, a panoramic sunroof and a premium Burmester surround sound system. A restyled AMG body kit is also included, along with a suite of additional safety technology including traffic sign assist and blind-spot assist.
Mercedes’s latest 2.0-litre four-cylinder engine is essentially one bank of the twin-turbo V8 used by the AMG GT. The engine’s upgrades include several features from the brand’s super coupe, including low friction bearings for the turbo and a special coating for the cylinder liners.
Among other changes, the engine block has been spun through 180 degrees (relative to its position in its predecessor’s engine bay), which moves the intake manifold towards the nose of the car, and the turbo and exhaust manifolds towards the back.
Mercedes-AMG claims this change improves cooling, while an improved two-stage fuel injection and larger exhaust valves in the cylinder head support the engine’s extra power. The exhaust itself has internal valves which open to produce a more raucous soundtrack under hard acceleration.
Mercedes-AMG says that it has tried to give the engine a character more akin to a naturally aspirated unit. As a result, the twin-scroll turbo is designed to minimise lag, while delivering peak torque quite high; between 5,000 and 5,250rpm. The rev-limiter, meanwhile, cuts in at 7,200rpm.
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The CLA 45 S’s rear differential has a pair of clutches, one for each driveshaft, which allows power to be metered out precisely between each of the rear wheels. This, according to Mercedes, not only helps traction but allows the introduction of “Drift Mode,” meaning that the CLA 45 will engage in the sort of lairy tyre smoking action that’s something of a trademark of Mercedes-AMG models.
To keep pace with the extra output, the chassis has received further attention too. The bodyshell is reinforced, while extra underfloor struts and a brace between the front suspension strut towers all allow a more rigid base to allow for more precise suspension and steering geometry.
Many of the suspension components are made from aluminium to reduce unsprung mass, the front track is wider, and the ESP system is able to nip the brakes individually to improve turn-in. These changes, according to Mercedes, are claimed to significantly increase cornering speeds.
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The CLA’s styling is separated from its hatchback A 45 cousin thanks to a subtle reshaping of the front air dam, while the bonnet features a pair of “power dome” bulges. Around the back, the rear diffuser is bookended by four tailpipes, each measuring 90mm in diameter, while a subtle lip spoiler sits on the boot lid.
Mercedes’s MBUX infotainment system offers several AMG-specific displays, including one which positions a large rev counter right in the centre of the 12-inch digital instrument panel. In addition, there’s a unique gear indicator, a G-meter and lap timer. Take the CLA 45 to a track and (should the circuit be pre-installed on the system), its augmented navigation screen is also able to display racing lines in real-time.
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