Showing signs that the end may finally be near for the miscategorization of automobiles (yea, right), the word ‘coupe’ appeared but a single time in the press release for this decidedly four-door machine. Whatever one decides to call it, the CLA 35 cuts a svelte shape, wearing widened wheel arches and two power domes on the hood. Slathered in yellow paint, it is as bold as a modern Audi is stoic. Around back, wide-set exhaust finishers and space for a license plate in the bumper give the illusion of additional width.
Under the swoopy hood is a newly developed 2.0-litre turbo engine. Making 302 horsepower and 295 lb.-ft of torque, the latter coming online at just 3000rpm, the CLA 35 4MATIC should scamper to 100km/h from rest in just under five seconds. The engine works in tandem with a seven-speed dual clutch transmission. The exhaust system features an automatically controlled exhaust flap so the neighbours are likely to hear you fire this thing up on a cold morning.
Being an all-caps 4MATIC means power is sent to all four wheels, up to a 50:50 distribution depending on the driving situation. The system takes into account several factors such as speed, steering angle, and yaw when figuring out where to mete power. There are the usual selectable driving modes including a Sport+ setting which performs “double-declutching during downshifts”. Dom Torretto would be proud.
Its interior is typically Mercedes, which is to say filled with screens and sumptuous materials. The MBUX infotainment system, a moniker which reliably reminds your author of a cryptocurrency or game of Monopoly, dominates the dashboard like Lady Heather used to dominate Gil Grissom on old episodes of CSI. Spanning over half the cabin’s width, MBUX features AMG-specific content in this CLA 35, such as a Supersport mode which displays a big rev counter and telemetry data.
If the steering wheel looks a bit different, give yourself a cookie. Those little black nubs are touch-sensitive buttons allowing the driver to swipe in four different directions for four different functions. Taking a page from other sports car manufacturers, an optional round controller with an integrated display can be fitted beneath the right-hand steering-wheel spoke while two vertically positioned colour display buttons with switches can be installed beneath the left-hand steering-wheel spoke. These will activate different AMG drive programs, showing information on the colour LCD display which is directly integrated in the controller. Yep. Sounds like screens on the wheel to me, too.
The new Mercedes-AMG CLA 35 4MATIC will celebrate its world premiere during the New York International Auto Show (NYIAS) on April 16, 2019. The vehicle will have its Canadian market launch in the winter of 2019.