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The 2017 Mercedes-Benz CLA-Class boasts styling changes. Now in its fourth year, the CLA-Class is an entry-level luxury car. The smallest sedan that wears the Mercedes-Benz badge, it looks more like a coupe than a sedan and is shaped like the larger CLS-Class, which is referred to as a four-door coupe.
The 2017 CLA-Class sports new bumpers, a new front fascia with expressive air intakes, LED headlamps and taillamps, and a new rear spoiler. The styling updates scratch the surface of relative flamboyance and make its chief rival, the Audi A3, look downright dowdy. More changes for the 2017 CLA-Class include new upholstery, trim, and gauges with red needles.
The entry CLA-Class is the Mercedes-Benz CLA 250 with solid and economical performance from a 208-horsepower, turbocharged 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine with a strong 254 pound-feet of torque, mated to a 7-speed dual-clutch automatic transmission.
The engine is mounted transversely, with front-wheel drive standard, making the CLA 250 the first front-wheel-drive Mercedes-Benz sedan ever sold in the U.S. All-wheel drive is optional. The CLA 250 can accelerate to 60 miles per hour in less than seven seconds, and it gets an EPA-rated 26/38 miles per gallon City/Highway, or 30 mpg Combined. With all-wheel drive it’s three miles per gallon lower.
The CLA45 AMG ups the performance by a ton. It’s the hot rod, as any AMG is, designed for the enthusiast. It uses the same basic 2.0-liter turbocharged engine, pumped up to an amazing 375 horsepower and 350 pound-feet of torque. (We wonder whether the CLA 250 is super-durable because it’s apparently so under-stressed.) A vast number of mechanical parts on the CLA45 AMG have been strengthened or in some way improved, including the 7-speed dual-clutch transmission. It’s all-wheel drive. It will zoom to 60 in just 4.1 seconds.
Curiously, although they both use a 7-speed transmission, neither car comes standard with paddle shifters, they’re optional, for both. The CLA 250 uses a retro column selector, and the AMG shifts on the console.