No, we aren't talking about the claw from that iconic scene in the first Toy Story:
However, as the tri-eyed plasti-alien says, this CLA will in fact take you to a better place.
We're talking about the 2015 CLA45 AMG!
Do you remember that kid on the playground? He was kinda small, a little unruly and didn't appear to have much to contribute? The CLA45 AMG is kinda like that. In the best way possible. It's spry, doesn't quit and perhaps has a chip on it's shoulder.
At first glance it doesn't look like much. It's compact, displays smooth — not exactly aggressive — lines, and.... is that.... a 4-cylinder??
Now, we know what you're thinking, BUT before you close your browser window in disgust, give this wolf in sheep's clothing just a sec to defend itself.
Car And Driver does an excellent job of explaining it:
Warning: Weapons-grade four-cylinder underhood.
The steroid-enhanced version of Mercedes’ slinky CLA-class sedan comes with a potent 355-hp turbocharged four-cylinder engine, a seven-speed dual-clutch automatic, all-wheel drive, and a sport-tuned chassis. The result: outstanding performance by almost every measure.
Until the CLA, nearly every car to make the trip to Affalterbach was packing an engine with a “V” cylinder layout. (The C30 five-cylinder diesel was the lone exception, and it never made it stateside.) So when the power brokers at AMG began dropping not-so-subtle hints that they’d already had their way with the CLA’s inline four-cylinder powerplant, our curiosity was piqued. Would the result be a roguish, hair-triggered toy or a true CLS63 AMG mini-me, blending breathtaking power with Mercedes style and luxury?
Sound and Fury
If you’re expecting the deep-throated burble of its bigger AMG brethren on startup, you’ll be disappointed. The CLA45’s exhaust note at idle is more akin to an air compressor kicking on in the neighbor’s garage than a menacing V-8. But it would be a mistake to write it off on tone alone. AMG has managed to coax 355 horsepower and 332 lb-ft of torque from the 2.0-liter engine, much of it on the shoulders of a twin-scroll turbocharger capable of force-feeding the engine with up to a whopping 26.1 psi of boost. To make sure the internals stay contained under all that duress, AMG uses a special crankshaft, pistons, and a sand-cast aluminum block, which is stronger than the die-cast unit found in the pedestrian CLA250. A dual-clutch seven-speed automatic transmission with three driving modes funnels the prodigious output through a standard all-wheel-drive system.
Thanks to a butterfly valve plumbed into the exhaust, the CLA45’s song begins to sound sweet around 3000 rpm and gets better as the revs climb. The power comes on early, pulling with the steady determination you’d expect from an engine that produces all 332 lb-ft of peak torque from 2250 to 5000 rpm; redline is 6700 rpm. Stay into it until it’s time to shift—automatically or initiated by the steering-wheel paddles—and you’ll be rewarded with a downsized version of the familiar bruuuump that accompanies gear swaps in the bigger AMG models. Using launch control, which allows the engine to climb to 4000 rpm before storming off the line catapultlike, we posted 0-to-60 times of 4.2 seconds and knocked off the quarter-mile in 12.8 with a trap speed of 110 mph.
Selecting Sport mode delays stability-control intervention and allows for increased torque at the rear axle, making it easier to counteract understeer with a heavy right foot. You’ll be left to your own devices when the stability control is defeated entirely—in the CLA45, “off” truly means off—except during braking; AMG has granted the stability control a Hail Mary feature of sorts that reactivates stability control whenever your foot is heavy on the slow pedal.
Speaking of binders, we managed to haul the CLA45 to a stop from 70 mph in 152 feet. The discs span 13.8 inches in front and 13.0 inches in back, increases of 1.2 and 1.4 inches over the discs on the CL250. Repeated stops showed slight fade, but the pedal remained firm and high and the car straight.
So, yay or nay? Would you drive one? Or even more, would you own one? Let us know what you guys think in the comments at the bottom.
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