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New models - Mercedes-Benz - CLA - 250 Sport 4Matic

Driven: Mercedes’ AWD CLA 250 hits the market

Four for two: Customers who had already signed up for a front-drive CLA 250 will get additional driven rear-wheels at no extra cost.

Benz four-pot petrol turbo AWD coupe-sedan steps in for the aborted front-drive CLA

10 Jul 2014

By BYRON MATHIOUDAKIS in NEW ZEALAND

MERCEDES-BENZ has added the 250 Sport 4Matic version of the popular CLA ‘coupe-sedan’ in Australia, bumping off the front-wheel drive version before it even eventuated.

On sale now from $64,900 plus on-road costs, the 250 Sport 4Matic is expected to account for about half of all CLA sales, with the remainder split evenly between the base 200 petrol FWD, 200 CDI diesel FWD and high-performance 45 AMG 4Matic flagship variants.

Initially not slated for this market, the 4Matic version of the 250 Sport was decided upon only after Mercedes-Benz Australia-Pacific (MBA-P) launched the CLA range in Australia last August.

At the time, growing production delays for the 250 Sport FWD scheduled for an April 2014 release prompted MBA-P management to take up Germany’s offer of the more-freely available 4Matic instead.

In the process, a modest $1500 price rise was negotiated, although people who had already signed up for the CLA 250 Sport FWD by the February 13 announcement scored the 4Matic upgrade at no extra cost, in part to compensate for the additional waiting time the newcomer attracted. As with all CLAs, the 250 Sport 4Matic is built in Hungary and is based on the MFA platform shared with the B-Class, A-Class and GLA crossover.

Powered by a 2.0-litre four-cylinder turbo-petrol engine delivering 155kW of power at 5500rpm and 350Nm of torque between 1200-4000rpm to all four wheels via a three-mode seven-speed dual-clutch transmission, the midsized sedan hits 100km/h in 6.6 seconds, which is also the same number in litres per kilometres that it averages. Carbon dioxide pollution is rated at 154 grams per kilometre, while top speed is 250km/h.

Employing the 4Matic set-up of Mercedes’ own design, this aluminium-intensive device adds about 50kg to the CLA 250 Sport’s kerb weight of 1590kg, and is an on-demand system with reaction times of 100 milliseconds.

Using a multi-disc clutch pack integrated into the rear axle, up to 50 per cent of available torque can be channelled from the front wheels according to prevailing road conditions and driving style.

As with all MFA models, the CLA uses a transverse engine layout, bookended by electric rack and pinion steering, MacPherson struts and solid disc brakes up front and a multi-link and ventilated discs on the rear axle.

Being a Sport model, the 250 4Matic’s suspension is in a firmer state of tune, backed up by 235/40 R18 tyres wrapping AMG five-spoke alloy wheels, while the racy theme continues with a diamond grille design, sports seats that are heated and electric up front, red seat belts and aluminium trim inside.

Standard features include a reversing camera as part of a Becker ‘Map Pilot’ satellite navigation system, dual-zone climate control air-conditioning, Bluetooth phone and audio streaming and Mercedes’ Artico vinyl seat trim.

Rivals include the $62,200 Audi S3 2.0 TFSI Quattro sedan, $67,900 Infiniti Q50 Hybrid S and $71,990 Volvo S60 T6 AWD R-Design.

Note that the CLA is both longer and wider than the outgoing C-Class four-door sedan, although the latter’s less-raked roofline allows it 37mm more rear-seat headroom.

Mercedes-Benz CLA-Class pricing*
200 (a)$49,900
200 CDI (a)$50,400
250 Sport 4MATIC (a)$64,900
45 AMG (a)$86,900
*Excludes on-road costs.

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