07 Aug 2022

Kildare motoring review: New Coupé from Mercedes stands out from the crowd

Motoring review: The Mercedes-Benz CLA 250 e PHEV powers up to challenge the hybrid market

Kildare motoring review: New Coupé from Mercedes stands out from the crowd

The Mercedes-Benz CLA 250 e PHEV

The new Mercedes-Benz CLA Coupé was designed to stand out from the crowd. With its stylish diamond radiator grille, muscular shoulders and wide rear end, it really draws attention to itself.

Featuring a sleek, low profile and striking, self-assured looks, it really is unique — in a very special way. Now, Mercedes-Benz has launched a powerful plug-in hybrid (PHEV) to join its petrol and diesel-powered siblings in the CLA Coupé and CLA Shooting Brake model line-up. With an electric range of up to 71kms, the battery can be charged in 5.5 hours (10 to 100%) from a domestic socket, and in as little as 105 minutes from a wallbox charger.

Two Trim Levels

There are two specification levels in the new Mercedes-Benz CLA PHEV (badged CLA 250 e) — Progressive Premium, and sporty AMG Line Premium, while power is supplied by the same 1,332cc petrol engine (that is also found elsewhere in the CLA range), along with an electric motor powered by a 10.6kWh lithium-ion battery. A slick-shifting eight-speed (8G-DCT) automatic transmission transfers power to the front wheels in a fuss-free manner. This highly-acclaimed transmission uses small magnets to aid faster actuation for shorter response times, with the added benefit of dry sump lubrication.

Test Car

My test car was a new Mercedes-Benz CLA 250 e Coupé (PHEV) AMG Line Premium, and was finished in Polar White solid paintwork, with contrasting ARTICO leather seating in Neva Grey & Black. Producing a combined power output of 218bhp and 450Nm of torque, the 1.3-litre petrol engine, in union with the electric motor, enables the CLA 250 e to sprint from 0-100km/h in just 6.8-seconds, reach a top speed of 240km/h (where permitted), and consume as little as 1.3-litres of petrol for every 100kms driven on a combined driving cycle when every journey is started with a fully charged battery.

Thanks to an ultra-low Co2 emission figure of 23g/km, annual road tax is just €140.

Key AMG Line features include the addition of 18” AMG 5 twin-spoke light alloy wheels, AMG brushed stainless steel sports pedals with rubber studs, AMG front apron with front splitter in chrome, diamond radiator grille with pins in chrome, AMG rear apron with visible chrome tailpipe trim, AMG side sill panels in vehicle colour, sports brake system, sports seats, roof liner in black fabric, and a three-spoke multi-function sports steering wheel in nappa leather with flattened bottom section.

Excellent Refinement

The sleek, and slippery shape of the new Mercedes-Benz CLA makes for excellent refinement within the car, and allows the CLA to retain the title of ‘the most aerodynamic car in its class’ .

The car drives with terrific composure, glides over road undulations, and responds directly to steering, accelerator and braking inputs, with very little body roll through corners. By widening the car’s track by 63mm at the front, and 55mm at the rear, Mercedes-Benz have made the new CLA feel tangibly sharper on the road, and thoroughly enjoyable as a result.

This four-door coupé really sets a high benchmark for long-distance comfort and composure.

MBUX System

The cabin layout of the new CLA is identical to that of the new A-Class and oozes quality throughout, with perfectly placed levers and controls. A multi-function leather-bound steering wheel allows easy control of the car’s infotainment system and driving functions, while the MBUX (Mercedes-Benz User Experience) system allows you to communicate with the new CLA as you would with a friend. It’s all done with natural language, by touch or with intuitive gestures and even in augmented reality. With the help of artificial intelligence, the system is able to learn from you, advise you and remember your preferences.

A 395-litre boot capacity in the new CLA will be more than adequate for most, but a 40:20:40 split folding rear seat formation provides even more practicality when called upon.

Pricing & Verdict

Pricing for the new Mercedes-Benz CLA 250 e (PHEV) Coupé starts at €48,785 (ex-works), with my test car specification priced at €51,355 (ex-works).

Thanks to its striking good looks, supreme build quality, excellent level of standard specification, and dynamic handling characteristics, the new Mercedes-Benz really is in a class of its

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