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August 2014 - DrivingScene

Archive | August, 2014

The Pocket Rocket CLA AMG

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The Pocket Rocket CLA AMG

Posted on 11 August 2014 by Adam Kaslikowski

Red 2014 Mercedes CLA AMG

I think I finally agree that size isn’t everything. The CLA AMG taught me that. This little pocket rocket has more than enough oomph to make up for its diminutive dimensions. How much oomph (being the technical term)? Try 355hp. Try 332lb-ft. And while you’re at it, try 0-60 in 4.4 seconds. With all that in mind, tell me again why you need a monster V-17 engine planted amidships of your hyper exotic Italian thoroughbred.

The CLA is Merc’s latest attempt to create an entry-level vehicle that will get “the youths” interested in buying their cars. And its working – the CLA has proven to be a bit hit for them both commercially and image-wise. With the CLA flying off the shelves, it was only natural that a more potent, more upscale, and more expensive version would follow it up. Enter this AMG that I am flogging around the congested streets and scenic canyons of Los Angeles. This is the CLA lineup’s top dog, at least until the mental patients running AMG come out with a CLA Black…

There is very little to differentiate the looks of a standard CLA to its AMG big brother. A spoiler here, a winglet there, and some chrome badging. And that’s a real shame, because I want to be noticed in this car. It’s the top-of-the-line CLA, and only the driver ever knows that. But perhaps that is enough for less ego-driven individuals than I.

One difference the AMG does have going for it, and one that never failed to elicit stares and attention, is its fantastic primal exhaust bark on upshifts. I got it all worked out during my time with this car: throw the driving mode into Sport, plant your foot, and listen in awe as it shoots off absolutely addictive spurts of sonic joy. Every time you get to redline, you are rewarded for your childish irresponsibility with a little sample of hell and brimstone. Love it.

In fact, one of my major complaints about the CLA AMG is that this hedonistic orchestra is not more available. I want to hear these outbursts of noise and fire all over the place, not just when I’m going full throttle on any stretch of deserted asphalt I can find. Yes, I want to be spoiled with this noise at any time I wish. Other than that, its a fantastic little ride. The seats were fairly firm and grew tiresome after several hours of driving around town, but these are sports seats for a sports car. The interior oozes Mercedes quality (and quirks), and the ride was decently complaint and comfortable. My gas mileage was pretty bad, but that was my fault as I was always chasing after those upshift barks. I’ll happily take the blame for that one. The AMG does even come with an ECO driving mode, but I could never last more than 20min in that before my inner 10 year old took over and started racing between lights.

And that is what this car is all about. The CLA AMG is about dominating the city streets. It is about crushing your enemies, seeing them driven before you, and hearing the lamentations of their women. It is also about having an absolute rocket that you can still get a prime front spot from the local restaurant valet. This is indeed an all-rounder, and if you have the means I highly recommend it.

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