So we got the opportunity to test out the Mercedes-AMG CLA 35 and it being the smallest out of the AMG range, we asked ourselves the question: is it fun enough on some nice roads but also comfortable enough for long distances?

One of the coolest additions to the Mercedes lineup in recent years is both the CLA Coupé and CLA Shooting Brake. Small cars with sexy and sporty lines, what’s not to love? The Mercedes-AMG CLA 35 makes it even cooler by adding a 2.0-liter turbo four-banger that pushes 306 hp and 400 Nm’s through the well known 4Matic system.

Performance?

It sprints to 100 km/h in a feisty 4.9 seconds before reaching the electronically limited top speed of “a very German” 250 km/h.
But with only straight-line speed in a … mmmm, how would you call this? It falls under the same category as its hot-hatch sibling the A35. Can you call the CLA a hatchback?
Anyway, what we are trying to say is, the AMG CLA35 has more tricks up its sleeve than just straight-line performance.

The chassis has been reinforced and fitted with an adaptive suspension setup that can control the dampening of the car depending on your driving mode.
The 7-speed gearbox is smooth and quick in shifting through the gears. Putting it in manual mode and there’s virtually no delay in pulling the paddle and the response from the gearbox. It really pulls through gears and you can feel that they are quite short as we sometimes downshifted a little too high into the RPM range for an upcoming corner.

Finding out if it’s perfect for anything.

These so-called “Entry level” performance cars bring in an interesting new sight. They can be stupidly fun without being stupidly unliveable. So to see if that’s the case with the Mercedes-AMG CLA 35, we decided to put it to the test. Starting from Bruges, with a few friends, we took it on a long trip towards Tripoint of France, Germany, and Luxembourg for some good driving roads. A true durability test for the small CLA 35.

Practically, they are very close, you can get a large dog in the back of the Shooting Brake whilst the coupé only compromises space in height. The surface area is the same and with 505 liter (SB) / 460 liters (C) it’s impressive and big enough for most tasks.
The biggest factor is the way they look. The standard Coupé is very sleek and undoubtedly a good looking car. Never thought Mercedes could improve on the original.
But the way the Shooting Brake looks from a side profile is something else… I don’t know if it’s just the banana yellow color that attracts us to it but it’s a sexy thing, that Shooting Brake.

So how did the CLA do on this durability test?

A lot of unforeseen circumstances meant that we never really reached the roads we planned on driving, but we did get a good feel of how well composed the CLA 35 is. For long distances, it’s impressively comfortable and fuel consumption is around 8.5 L/100 km on average.
And when we did manage to find some good -albeit unplanned- backroads, the little AMG develops such a playful character. It’s fast around corners, but deliberately push it too hard around corners and it starts getting tail-happy. It’s a nice and controllable package.

Well, shouldn’t I just buy a CLA 45?

The CLA 45 will undoubtedly be a faster and even sharper car than the CLA 35 already is. We’ll let you know soon! But the question arises, do you really need all that power and sharpness? The 306 hp you’re getting, isn’t what you’d call slow and it works so well in both spirited driving as on long distances. The price difference is 12.000 € (or 16.000 € for the S model). It’s a tough choice to make, but both options won’t leave you disappointed. I mean, I’ve been smiling all weekend every time we left the highway for some smaller roads.
And with the CLA 35, your driving license might be a little safer. Just a little bit.