2014 MERCEDES BENZ CLA 250

The new   2014 Mercedes Benz CLA 250 is the much awaited  smaller, more affordable front-drive cousin to the much admired Mercedes CLS sports sedan.

It takes some remote styling cues from the CLS With its squat muscular looks, aggressive front fascia and defined detailing it certainly looks expensive and like a typical Mercedes.  Impressive is the shark-nosed front aspect with wide single air intakes above and three below the bumper.

Meanwhile the side profile is sleek with frameless windows and an arching coupe–like roofline. The rear fascia has cool tear-drop-shaped tail lights and a duo of   rectangular exhaust outlets.  All in all, the looks are mini -CLS yet aimed to be a more affordable entry level Mercedes for those fans of the marque.

For now Canadians will gain a 2.0-litre powered direct-injected cylinder engine version with an intercooled and turbocharger. This engine will produce 211 horsepower and around 260 lb.-ft of torque.

A 7-speed dual-clutch transmission is the only transmission for now (Although Europeans receive a manual version) and drives the front wheels as standard, whilst all-wheel drive is optional.

Standard equipment on the 2014 Mercedes CLA will include 17-inch alloy wheels, a 5.8-in information display, 12-way power driver’s seat, Artico leather seats, Nappa leather steering wheel, collision prevention system, Distronic cruise control which  keeps the vehicle at a  safe distance from the vehicle in front and also features attention assist to keep you in your lane. Interior wise, the CLA has the prerequisite hallmark Mercedes Benz cabin.  High quality premium materials, excellent switchgears, and superb ergonomics demonstrate attention to detail. All imposing leather trim is available if you desire tempered with more sporty looking touches such as red stitched sport seats  and SLS AMG type gauges,  slick aluminum trim  and aircraft style   air-vents.

Front headroom is good along with foot and shoulder room, however that arcing swoopy roofline means rear headroom and entry/egress is slightly compromised for taller adults.  Trunk space is good at a hefty 470-litres and the rear seat split for extra versatility.

On the road, the 2014 Mercedes Benz CLA 250 is impressive with the 2.0 litre engine spooling up with no delay.  The engine is delightfully responsive and has lots of pep and performs well in low end to high torque applications.

It is a credit to the engine designers just how the power delivery is so smooth, unruffled and with the just the right note of muted aggression.   Only under full throttle is when you can hear the four- cylinders roots.  The 7-speed dual clutch automatic shifts with ease and has well timed shift parameters. An optional sport mode operated by a button will change the metrics to allow for faster throttle responses.

Ride, the 2014 Mercedes Benz CLA has excellent grip and good cornering ability thanks to the sport suspension.  Steering inputs need a just gradual nudges and the CLA displays neutral balanced dynamics. Torque steer is almost absent although under full  throttle.

On highway performance is good with a quiet smooth ride and whisper quiet road and wind noise.

Urban and busy city driving show off the CLA’s quick reflexes and demonstrates the good braking with well-modulated stopping.

If you have always lusted after the CLS, but deterred by the substantial price tag. The CLA looks very attractive.

`It had the sporty expensive looks, the three pointed star on the hood and offer decent performance.  It makes excellent sense as a   stylish new entry point to the Mercedes Benz brand for a comparative price to non-premium brands. Highly recommended.

2014 Mercedes Benz CLA. Base starting price of $33,900.