If there’s a Mercedes-Benz out there, you can bet AMG is champing at the bit to throw a powerful engine under the hood and let ‘er rip. We’ve, and we’ve , but you didn’t think that was the only trick in AMG’s book, did you?
Mercedes on Thursday unveiled the 2020 Mercedes-AMG CLA45. While you might think it’s a CLA35 with more horsepower, you’d be wrong. The CLA35’s four-cylinder engine is thrown out the window and replaced with the bonkers M139, otherwise known as the most powerful production four-cylinder out there.
In this instance, it produces 382 horsepower and 354 pound-feet of torque — not the maximum the M139 is capable of, mind you, but there will likely be a CLA45 S in the future with even more juice. The Europeans will get a CLA45 S for sure, because that’s the car seen in the pictures accompanying this story, but Mercedes-Benz said in an email that it does not have an announcement regarding the US availability of CLA45 S variants.
It comes mated to an eight-speed dual-clutch transmission that should get the CLA45 to 60 miles per hour in about 4.0. seconds. Maximum velocity is 155 mph, unless you spec the optional AMG Driver’s Package, in which case it’s bumped to 168. It should sound the absolute business, thanks to a standard active exhaust that uncorks itself in Sport+ mode.
All-wheel drive is standard, but this isn’t the same AWD system that’s in the CLA35. Instead, it’s the AMG Performance 4Matic+ version, and that little plus sign is important. It’s capable of sending all its torque to the front or rear axle, effectively turning it into a front-or-rear-wheel-drive vehicle as the situation demands. Like the larger AMG models with this system, there’s a drift mode available for letting the rear end slip and slide about at will. Adaptive dampers are optional, if you prefer a bit of softness on demand.
The CLA45 looks just a bit more aggressive than the CLA35, thanks to a front bumper that borrows some of its looks from the bigger (and angrier, and more expensive) AMG GT 4-door. The side skirts are wider, and the standard 19-inch alloy wheels fill in the wheel wells quite nicely. Two sets of twin tailpipes out back are all people need in order to know this car isn’t going to mess around. Of course, if you throw even more money at Mercedes-AMG, there are also a number of option upgrades to the aerodynamics and aesthetics.
Inside, the front sport seats rock a combination of MB-Tex vinyl and microfiber suede. Red borders cover the trim, and the seatbelts are red, too, because red is sporty. The air vents get a red ring, too. If you want something more subtle, there’s a gray-and-black optional motif that uses gray stitching in various locations. The pedals are made of brushed stainless steel, too. Other standard kit inside includes dual-zone climate control and 64-color ambient lighting.
The CLA45 is no less tech-heavy than its lesser siblings. The MBUX infotainment system is standard, draping itself across two large screens that include the gauge cluster. There are AMG-specific graphics, as well as an AMG-specific menu that can display a race timer, engine data, g-forces and more. On the safety front, automatic braking and crosswind assist are both standard.
The 2020 Mercedes-AMG CLA45 is slated to go on sale later this year, and pricing should be announced closer to that time.