Mercedes-Benz CLA variants
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Read our Mercedes CLA review

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Finance representative example (PCP)

Total cash price £26,999. Borrowing £21,599 with a £5,400 deposit at a representative APR of 12.9%.

49 monthly payments
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Annual mileage limit
6000 miles

Mercedes CLA buying guide

CLA models come with a few different trim and engine options, so keep reading to find out which version is the best for you.

What Mercedes CLA trim levels are there?

There are three trims offered for CLA models, all of which include fairly generous kit lists.

The range starts with AMG Line – this would normally be considered an upgraded trim on lesser Mercedes models and gets all the kit you’re likely to want. AMG Line CLA cars get alloy wheels, front and rear parking sensors, leather upholstery, heated front seats, climate control, cruise control, automatic emergency braking, lane-keep assist, a reversing camera, a sporty AMG body kit, LED headlights, and an infotainment system with built-in sat nav, DAB radio, wireless charging, Apple CarPlay and Android Auto.

Stepping up to AMG Line Premium brings extra luxurious touches including a larger digital dials screen ahead of the driver, an upgraded stereo, ambient interior lighting, and an augmented-reality sat-nav that projects directions onto the road in front of you.

Range-topping CLA cars come in AMG Line Premium Plus trim. Despite the mouthful of a name, this trim stands out with upgraded LED headlights with automatic high beams, a panoramic sunroof, traffic sign monitoring, and electric adjustment for the front seats.

Mercedes CLA interior and technology

Mercedes interiors have earned a reputation for being some of the most luxurious options in their respective classes, and the CLA is no exception. The dashboard is dominated by the two large screens that form the infotainment system and driver’s display, helping it feel bang up to date. Beneath the centre screens sits a tidy centre console and Mercedes earns points for retaining the physical controls for the heater and air conditioning, rather than hide them in a screen, which can be hard to use on the move.

The CLA features Mercedes’ latest MBUX infotainment system which is, on the whole, excellent. Menus are clear and logically laid out, and the screen responds quickly to inputs – plus, you can still use a physical trackpad between the front seats to interact with it, making it easier to use when on the move. Upgraded models feature Mercedes’ high-tech augmented reality navigation system, which can project road directions onto the windscreen to make them appear to interact with the physical world around you.

As covered above, the tradeoff here is practicality. The CLA is not a difficult car to live with, by any stretch, but it’s not as accommodating as the C-Class or A-Class saloons, with rear-passenger space being particularly impacted. If you only use the rear row for occasional use, this won’t be a problem but, for anyone with kids or regular rear passengers, we’d suggest trying something larger. Boot space is reasonably good – especially so in the Shooting Brake model – but the narrow opening means it’s not the easiest to load wide items in.

Mercedes CLA engine range explained

Mercedes CLA 180

This is the entry-level engine for CLA models and it’s a 1.3-litre turbocharged four-cylinder. It makes 136hp, which is enough to complete the 0-62mph run in nine seconds. This is probably enough power for most buyers and won’t feel like it’s struggling to overtake on the motorway.

Mercedes CLA 200

Next up is the CLA 200 version. This boosts the 1.3-litre engine up to 163hp, dropping the 0-62mph time to 8.2 seconds, helping this model feel a little more eager when you put your foot down.

Mercedes CLA 250

For more punch, check out the CLA 250. This car swaps in a 2.0-litre turbocharged four-cylinder engine, with power jumping to 224hp and the 0-62mph time falling to a hot-hatch-rivalling 6.3 seconds.

Mercedes CLA 250e

If you want a more powerful engine but have one eye on your fuel bills, take a look at the CLA 250e. This is a plug-in hybrid model that blends the existing 1.3-litre turbo petrol engine with an electric motor and battery pack for a total of 218hp. The combo offers great performance, especially off the line, with a 0-62mph time of 6.8 seconds. Average fuel economy can actually stretch as high as 250mpg if you make careful use of both power sources or, if you solely rely on the battery alone, you can travel around 40 miles on a full charge.

Mercedes CLA 220d

While it’s not quite as ubiquitous as it once was, there’s still a diesel option in the CLA lineup if you’re a high-mileage driver. This 2.0-litre four-cylinder turbodiesel makes 190hp and can hit 62mph from rest in 7.1 seconds but, if you drive gently, can average as much as 55mpg.

Mercedes-AMG CLA 35

This is the first of two high-performance options available in the CLA range. The 35 engine features a 2.0-litre turbocharged four-cylinder petrol engine making 306hp, fed to the road via a grippy four-wheel-drive system. That’s enough to hit 62mph from a standstill in just 4.9 seconds, putting it comfortably into serious sports car territory.

Mercedes-AMG CLA 45

If you require the maximum bragging rights, however, you’ll need to upgrade to the AMG CLA 45. This also uses a 2.0-litre, four-cylinder petrol but with power boosted to a scarcely believable 421hp – no wonder AMG internally nicknamed this engine ‘the beast’. The 0-62mph sprint is completed in four seconds flat, which effectively earns this model a seat at the supercar table.

Mercedes CLA FAQs

The CLA comes in two different versions. The first is the regular CLA, which is a four-door saloon featuring a coupe roofline and a traditional saloon boot opening. For a little added practicality, there’s also the CLA Shooting Brake, which is a five-door estate that also features a coupe roofline, with a hatchback-style boot opening.

Mercedes offers several other models that fall into a similar sizing category, which you might also want to consider. These include the five-door A-Class hatchback, the four-door A-Class saloon, and the popular five-door GLA compact SUV.

The CLA is a little less than 4.7 metres long, which makes it more or less the same size as a pre-2021 C-Class saloon. The CLA is longer than its rivals, with the BMW 2 Series Gran Coupe coming up around 150mm shorter, and the Audi A3 Saloon measuring nearly 300mm shorter. The CLA is also longer than the related A-Class saloon, which is about 140mm shorter. That size means the CLA might not be the easiest car to park in tight spaces, especially with the limited visibility provided by the narrow rear windows, but standard-fit front and rear parking sensors do help to make the job easier.

To achieve the CLA’s handsome shape, some practicality has been sacrificed compared to the more sensible A-Class. There’s enough passenger space for four adults to sit in relative comfort, but those in the back will find legroom limited and headroom compromised by the sloping roofline. The centre-rear seat is very cramped so is only good for taking a fifth passenger on very short journeys. Space in the boot is fairly good but the narrow opening means it’s not as easy as it could be to load large or awkwardly shaped items.

As a premium car, there are no bargain-basement options in the CLA’s engine range. All models have reasonably good performance and fuel economy, so it’s simply a matter or selecting how much power you’d like. All cars with a smooth automatic gearbox as standard.

CLA is the model name for Mercedes' smallest four-door coupe. It might look like one, but the name isn't actually an acronym. While the 'CL' part has traditionally signalled 'coupe luxury' in Mercedes' speak, the 'A' part is simply derived from the A-Class – marking the CLA out as the four-door coupe descended from this compact model.

The CLA hasn't appeared in enough reliability surveys to get an accurate picture of its long-term dependability. Mercedes as a brand hasn't performed very well in recent reports, with electrical gremlins occasionally rearing their heads to spoil the ownership experience.

That said, the CLA is mostly based on the A-Class which, as a model, has performed a little better than Mercedes' average according to respondents.

Select an extended warranty when you purchase your CLA to protect yourself from unexpected repair costs should something fail.

For most buyers, it won't really matter whether the CLA is a good car or not because it's the way it looks that will be the key selling point. The handsome bodywork really does stand out next to more conservative rivals and there's lots of styling flair in the cabin to lift the experience.

It's handy then that the CLA is, in fact, a good car. It won't challenge the practicality offered by some similarly sized vehicles but it's a fair trade to make in return for the car's show-stopping styling. On the road, the ride is smooth and the engines are responsive, while the flash dual-screen infotainment setup looks extremely modern compared to older models in this class.