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Mercedes CLA45 AMG Road Test 1 web

Mercedes-AMG have given India its first high-performance compact sedan, marking the début of the world’s most powerful four-cylinder engine in the process. Just how red-hot is it really? We put it through a twin test.

Story: Jim Gorde
Photography: Sanjay Raikar

Have you ever noticed how some toys carry warning labels? ‘Ages 8 and Up’ or ‘Caution: Contains small parts’ and the like are not uncommon, and we, as adults, pay keen attention when picking them up for our children, don’t we? But what happens when you get a bigger track toy which looks as appealing as ice-cream on a hot summer day, but also so sleek, sculpted and detailed that you never expect the firepower it brings underneath. Mercedes should have a warning label on the CLA, saying ‘Crazy Little AMG’!

Mercedes CLA45 AMG Road Test 1 2 web

One look at the car tells you that it’s not just another compact sedan. Sure, overseas, the baby CLS has a 220 CDI diesel and costs a lot less as well, but with a car like this, you can’t give it 170 PS and get away with it that easily. No, there has to be something with oomph beating out of its valves as much as fire. That’s where the good people at Affalterbach come in.

When AMG take a compact, front-wheel-drive car which can’t be stuffed with anything more than a four-pot to work their magic on, explosive things are bound to happen. The result? The world’s most powerful series-production four-cylinder engine is born.

Mercedes CLA45 AMG Road Test 3 web

Marking the 45th Anniversary of AMG also meant the designation sorted itself out – 45 AMG. Coincidentally or not, the tiny 1,991-cc motor makes 360 PS and, as the name might seem to suggest on some level, 450 Nm of torque. Mercedes’ new MFA (Modular Front Architecture) platform spawned the A- and B-Class, which then led to the CLA and the GLA. Thankfully, the engineers at AMG didn’t have to worry about petty things such as torque-steer, they had 4MATIC to work with and so the CLA45 AMG is, surprisingly or not, 100% front-wheel-drive for most part, with the smart electronics, which monitor everything from steering angle to pedal position, coupling the rear differential the instant they detect any slip. Although primarily front-biased, up to 50% of the drive goes to the rear if the situation so demands.

Mercedes CLA45 AMG Road Test 4 web

More on page 2 >

 

About the author: Jim Gorde

 

Automotive Correspondent at Bike India and Car India.
Believes that learning never stops. Loves V8 engines as much as a good breakfast.
t: @BikeIndia / @CarIndia

 

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