Plenty of bang
Yep, that’s what the updated Mercedes-Benz CLA 200 coupe promises as we drove it to Tanjung Sepat.
The Mercedes-Benz CLA range was updated late last year, and featured exterior and interior enhancements for sportier looks and more motoring comfort.
The updated Mercedes-Benz CLA 200 coupe gets the AMG Line exterior look, with a diamond radiator grille and chrome package, LED high performance headlamps and 18-inch AMG multi-spoke light alloy wheels, powered front seats with memory settings, and Pre-Safe occupant protection system.
This RM236,888 entry-level variant for the CLA range gets lots of goodies including LED high-performance headlamps, sports seats upholstered in mixed Artico leather/ Dinamica microfibre with red contrast stitching, an Audio 20 CD system which provides marvellous sound quality, and an eight-inch Media Display (not a touchscreen).
It’s powered by 1.6-litre turbocharged petrol engine that delivers 156hp and 250Nm of torque, mated to a 7-speed dual-clutch automatic transmission.
There’s certainly more than enough grunt and swift response when we needed to perform quick sprints in overtaking manoeuvres, as we found out when cutting in front of slow-moving lorries on B-roads leading to Tanjung Sepat.
It can do the 0 to 100kph sprint in 8.2 seconds, and the lowered comfort suspension helps in providing nice handling qualities.
However, ride comfort is not its forte here, especially on poorly-maintained and uneven surfaces during a day trip to Banting and Morib to sample the seafood and cool beach breeze.
Combined with the Goodyear Eagle F1 runflat tyres sized 225/40 on 18-inch wheels, the lowered comfort suspension provides a rather jarring ride quality on bumpy, uneven roads where some surfaces felt like we were running on unforgiving terrain.
But the trade-off is that you get fun handling characteristics, in combination with lowering the body by 15mm at the front and 10mm at the rear.
The 7-speed dual-clutch automatic transmission delivers power seamlessly, and selecting different driving modes (Comfort-Sport-Individual-Eco) is done via a Dynamic Select button on the dashboard centre.
This controls drive settings, air-conditioning, steering and the Eco Auto start-stop function. During our day trip to Tanjung Sepat, there were long road stretches where traffic was sparse and the temptation for more dynamic driving was hard to resist.
This is where the car’s Sport mode came in handy, as gear upshifts are at higher engine speeds and downshifts are done later than in Economy mode.
There is a pleasing engine roar under hard acceleration in Sport mode.
However, we admittedly enjoyed driving the CLA 200 coupe (AMG Line) more in Comfort mode, where the car feels smoother and one is able to better appreciate the top-ofthe-line sound quality of the Audio 20 CD system.
We didn’t mind the car’s Eco Auto start-stop function, which shuts off the engine temporarily at a red light or in a traffic jam to save petrol, as the engine start-stop engagements were not abrupt or unpleasant. Other than the lack of pushstart ignition, the CLA 200 coupe (AMG Line) is well packed with comfort equipment and decent storage spaces. These include four door bins, two front seatback luggage ets, two bottle holders nd a front torage cubby ole, as well a a deep boot. There’s also a p centre storage with two USB slots a leather-wrapped lid, which nicely doubles up as an arm rest.
However, rear headroom is a tad cramped for 1.7-metre adults and rear legroom is adequate.
Like other Mercedes-Benz cars nowadays, you won’t find a centre-mounted gear stick or hand and foot brakes here.
Instead, you use a gear stalk on the right of the steering column to switch between P,N, R and D modes.
Sporty drivers can also opt to use the paddle shifters for gear shifts.
Control of the infotainment system - navigation, radio and vehicle settings - is via a rotary command dial between the front seats.
Highlights here include two 12V sockets (one each for front and rear occupants) and Parking Pilot which can automatically steer the car into parking spaces and makes it a lot easier to park in, and pull out of, parallel and perpendicular spaces.
There’s also Attention Assist, which can detect certain steering patterns that frequently accompany drowsiness, and subsequently warn the driver via visual and audible warnings.
To sum it up, the four-door CLA 200 coupe (AMG Line) looks stylishly athletic, especially with the frameless door glass, and comes with a punchy and smooth-revving powertrain, as well as a barnful of safety and comfort kit, and ample storage space.
However, the lowered comfort suspension is more than a tad too firm for our liking, which meant we drove it rather gingerly on uneven roads.
All in all, this base model CLA offers plenty of premium stuff for the money.