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Wednesday, February 12, 2014

2014 Mercedes Benz CLA45 AMG





PRICE : For 2014 Mercedes-Benz CLA 45 AMG $48,375



Following the Geneva debut of the A 45 AMG hatchback, Mercedes-Benz has unveiled its four-door variant, the CLA 45 AMG, just ahead of its 2013 New York International Auto Show debut.AMG’s four-door coupe comes with the same powerplant from the A 45 AMG hot hatch, the world’s most powerful four-cylinder engine in a series production model today - a 2.0-liter turbocharged unit that develops 355-horses (360PS) and 450 Nm (332 lb-ft) of torque.

The car itself is no longer a surprise, after the leaked photos from earlier this month. However, we now have full technical and spec details. The Euro 6-compliant 2.0-liter engine is rated at 6.9 liters/100 km (34 US mpg), just like in the A 45 AMG. Fuel economy is pretty impressive, given that we’re dealing with a high-performance four-wheel drive vehicle.

Speaking of performance numbers, they are identical to the A 45 AMG’s: the zero to 100 km/h (62 mph) sprint is completed in 4.6 seconds, with top speed electronically limited to 250 km/h (155 mph). Compare that to Audi’s recently unveiled S3 Sedan, and the Merc is 0.3 seconds faster to 100 km/h. However, Audi may also launch an RS3 variant later, which would be the direct competitor to the CLA 45 AMG.

As with the eight- and twelve-cylinder engines, the new AMG four-cylinder turbo engine is hand-built according to the traditional AMG philosophy of “one man, one engine”. The unit is paired to a dual-clutch 7-speed AMG SPEEDSHIFT DCT 7 gearbox, whose software modules have been adopted from the flagship SLS AMG supercar.

The transmission has a so-called “Momentary M mode”, which enables the driver to activate manual mode “M” without having to remove a hand from the steering wheel, simply by pressing the up or down shift paddle once. There’s also an “S” sport mode and a Controlled Efficiency mode “C” which favors fuel consumption over performance. The latter automatically activates the ECO start/stop function.

Under normal driving conditions, the CLA 45 AMG is front-wheel drive, but when driving dynamics require more grip, torque is split between front and rear axles up to a ratio of 50:50 percent. Mercedes says its front-biased AMG 4MATIC AWD system weighs up to 25 percent less than similar systems from the competition.

A 3-stage ESP with Curve Dynamic Assist helps keep the CLA 45 AMG on track, as does the AMG sports suspension with independent front and rear axle that ride on 18-inch AMG light-alloy wheels.

Aesthetically, the CLA 45 AMG uses a similar aero kit as the A 45 AMG, although Mercedes notes the car’s resemblance with the CLS 63 AMG. They’re obviously talking about the profile and the rear end, which could be mistaken for its larger and more expensive brother due to the similar taillights and raked rear window.

On the inside, everything is just like in the A 45 AMG, with an identical dashboard, sport seats and an array of features available.


The CLA 45 AMG will go on sale in July 2013 in Germany, with market launch scheduled for September. Prices there start from €56,078 ($71,981), while in the US, the CLA 45 AMG will be priced from a much more competitive $47,450 (€37,067) with sales to start this spring.


EXTERIOR















Even at first glance, the 2014 Mercedes-Benz CLA45 AMG leaves no doubt about its character; similarities with the CLS63 AMG are intentional. Mercedes-AMG complements the expressive design idiom with distinctive AMG elements, creating a new design standard. The CLA was developed with sporty proportions - the AMG "twin blade" radiator grille and the cross member in the AMG front fascia, both painted matte titanium gray, further reinforce its sporty appearance. Large air inlet ports on the sides are framed by black winglets that improve air flow to the cooling system behind them. Bi-xenon headlights are part of the standard equipment.

From the side of the CLA45 AMG, sill panels with matte titanium gray inserts catch the eye. Other elements of a top-of-the-line AMG model are the twin-spoke AMG light-alloy wheels, inlayed in titanium gray with a high-sheen finish, as well as a "TURBO AMG" badge on the fender. The AMG rear fascia includes stylized side air vents as well as a large diffuser insert and matte titanium gray trim. The conjoined quad-tip chrome tailpipes of the AMG exhaust system emphasize its sporty purpose. Striking LED tail lights come as standard equipment....SEE ALL PHOTOS


INTERIOR


















The CLA45 AMG's interior isn't up to the quality standard of other Mercedes vehicles, but that's to be expected given its entry-level roots. The standard upholstery is a vinyl that Mercedes calls Dinamica (it used to be MB Tex), and it covers the top of the dash and the door panels. A large expanse of aluminum trim bisects the dash, and various other types of trim, including carbon fiber, are available as well. The lower portion of the dash and much of the center console are hard plastic, which seems out of place in a Mercedes.

While the upholstery may not be as rich as leather, the standard seats are comfortable and supportive. The available performance seats offer even more bolstering to keep occupants in place during aggressive cornering, but they will bind the backsides of full-figured folks.

As Mercedes' smallest car, the CLA's rear seat room is compromised, a problem exacerbated by the coupelike roofline. A 5-foot-9-inch occupant's head will rub against the ceiling. Legroom isn't as bad, but it's tight if anyone front or rear is above average height. The trunk, on the other hand, is roomy. Mercedes hasn't released a cargo volume figure, but it appears to be about as much as many midsize sedans. Standard split-folding rear seats make the trunk even more useful.

When the navigation system is ordered, buyers get Mercedes' COMAND control interface as well as a center screen that looks like an iPad tacked onto the center stack. COMAND operates the communications, navigation and entertainment functions via a control knob on the center console. A set of dashboard buttons helps drivers get to various screens quicker. COMAND complicates some functions, but owners will get used to it after a few weeks, especially the younger buyers the CLA45 AMG is likely to draw.

Those young buyers will likely be happy to deal with the engine's throaty exhaust note and constant hum. It is a reminder, after all, of the car's performance potential. They will also be pleased that road noise is kept to a minimum and only begins to intrude at higher speeds. This may be a high-performance car, but it's still a Mercedes.


SPECIFICATION


 Year:2014
 Make:Mercedes
 Model:CLA
 Engine:inline-4
 Horsepower @ RPM:360 @ 6000
 Torque @ RPM:331 @ 2250
 Displacement:2.0 L
 0-60 time:4.2 sec.
 Top Speed:155 mph



FEATURES












The 2014 CLA45 AMG ($48,375) comes in one trim level only, and its MSRP represents a $18,475 premium over the standard CLA250 model. The CLA45 AMG comes with features such as HD radio, sport seats with a 14-way adjustable driver seat, Bluetooth audio, ambient interior lighting and split folding rear seats. Standard safety features include attention assist, LED daytime running headlights and collision-prevention assist.

Cosmetic exterior options include 19-inch AMG wheels in silver or black ($850), a panorama roof ($1,480) and a carbon fiber package ($3,700). Inside, aluminum trim is standard, while burl walnut, black ash or carbon fiber accents run an extra $325. AMG performance front seats ($2,250) add a layer of sportiness to the cabin, while top-stitched MB-Tex simulation leather on the upper dash and door areas add $1,500 to the MSRP, and a performance steering wheel can be had for $500. 

The Premium Package ($2,300) offers dual-zone climate control, heated front seats, a Harman Kardon Logic7 surround sound system and SiriusXM radio, while a Multimedia Package ($2,370) includes a rearview camera, an 80-gig navigation system with a 7-in screen and heated seats that can be ordered a la carte for $850.

A Driver Assistance Package ($2,500) adds adaptive cruise control, blind spot assist, lane-keeping assist and collision-prevention assist plus. If you're unsatisfied with the off-the-shelf AMG suspension, an AMG Driver's Package ($1,950) delivers stiffer suspension with 19-in wheels, red brake calipers and a higher top speed. The self-parking Parktronic system runs $970, while the AMG performance exhaust will cost you $450. Blind spot assist can be ordered solo for $550....SEE ALL PHOTOS 



DESIGN



Just a glance at the new CLA45 AMG makes it very clear: any resemblance to the CLS 63 AMG is absolutely intentional. The expressive design idiom of the CLA has been enhanced by Mercedes-AMG with some characteristic AMG elements - and the result is a new design icon. The sporty proportions of the CLA were there from the start , but its dynamic look is reinforced by the AMG "twin blade" radiator grille and the cross strut in the AMG front apron, both painted in matt titanium grey. The generously proportioned cooling air intakes are framed by black flics, which improve the airflow over the cooling modules positioned behind them. Bi-xenon headlamps are included as standard.

An eyecatching view from the side is ensured by the sill panels with inserts in matt titanium grey. Further elements typical of a top-of-the-range AMG model include the AMG twin-spoke light-alloy wheels, painted grey and with a high-sheen finish, plus the "TURBO AMG" lettering on the wing. Seen from the rear, the CLA45 AMG displays a distinctive AMG rear apron: this not only reveals the presence of the air outlet openings at the sides, but also incorporates a large diffuser insert and a trim section in matt titanium grey. The two chrome-plated twin tailpipes of the AMG sports exhaust system, including an exhaust flap, serve to emphasise the car's dynamic appeal. The striking LED tail lights are a standard feature.



PERFORMANCE


  AMG 4Matic all wheel drive

The CLA45 AMG comes with variable, performance-oriented AMG 4MATIC all-wheel drive as standard. In developing this all-wheel drive, the focus was firmly on performance and dynamism. The power flux to the rear powertrain is provided by a compact power take-off unit (PTU) which is fully integrated in the 7-speed sports transmission. It does not possess an oil circuit of its own. Instead, it is supplied with lubricant from the oil circuit of the sports transmission. This configuration gives rise to substantial weight advantages in comparison to rival systems which branch off power by means of an add-on component with its own oil circuit. Together with the friction-minimised tapered roller bearings, the PTU achieves an excellent level of efficiency. As an additional bonus, the system weight of the new AMG 4MATIC all-wheel drive is up to 25 percent lighter than the all-wheel-drive versions offered by the competition.

A two-part propeller shaft transfers the power from the AMG 2.0-litre four-cylinder turbo engine to the rear axle. In the interests of favourable weight distribution, an electrohydraulically controlled multiple-disc clutch is integrated with the rear axle differential. The multiple-disc clutch immediately detects slip at the front axle. A hydraulic pump instantaneously presses the discs together and channels the engine torque to the rear wheels as necessary. All this takes place virtually without the driver noticing. 

To enable particularly fast response, the pump is always active and does not require to be started up each time it is needed, as is customary with other systems. Power distribution is fully variable: in normal driving, the CLA45 AMG uses front-wheel drive in the interests of optimum efficiency. When the driving dynamics so require, the variable AMG 4MATIC all-wheel drive splits the torque between front and rear axle up to a ratio of 50:50 percent. The variables influencing the power distribution ratio are vehicle speed, lateral and longitudinal acceleration, steering angle, speed difference between the individual wheels, selected gear and accelerator position.



ENGINE




The 2014 Mercedes-Benz CLA45 AMG's two-liter turbo engine is the most powerful turbocharged four-cylinder production engine with 355 hp and 332 lb-ft of torque.

The combination of high power, strong torque and performance-oriented all-wheel drive lends the CLA45 AMG superb driving performance. The powerful coupe sprints from 0-60 in 4.5 seconds, and top speed is electronically limited to 155 mph. Mercedes-AMG achieves these impressive figures by the use of high-tech engineering throughout the engine and related systems.

The combination of multiple injection and multiple spark ignition on each piston stroke improves fuel atomization and substantially increases thermodynamic efficiency, contributing to low exhaust emissions. Other highlights include a sand-cast aluminum crankcase, weight-optimized crank assembly with forged steel crankshaft and forged pistons with friction-optimized piston rings, NANOSLIDE cylinder lining technology, water-to-air intercooling, alternator management and ECO Start/Stop function.

The AMG SPEEDSHIFT DCT 7-Speed sports transmission is mounted directly to the transversely installed AMG 2.0-liter four-cylinder turbo engine.

Like all AMG V8 and V12 engines, the new 2.0-liter four-cylinder turbo engine is hand-built according to the traditional AMG philosophy of "one man, one engine" on an exclusive assembly line for the new AMG engine in Germany.



SUSPENSION & REAR AXLE


Like every AMG high-performance automobile, the new CLA45 AMG also incorporates sophisticated axle technology. For enhanced driving dynamics, the three-link front suspension is provided with stiffer steering knuckles and totally new elastokinematics. Newly developed, more rigid bearings are employed in the lower link plane. These provide for more agile cornering properties and more precise and direct feedback from the road surface. The more rigid bearings also lead to higher camber stiffness, enabling higher cornering speeds. In developing the complete front axle, great importance has been attached to attaining the best possible traction in highly dynamic driving.

The four-link rear axle of the CLA45 AMG is also a totally new development. In the course of optimising the elastokinematics, the strut bearings were duly adapted for maximum driving dynamics and control. The rear axle carrier is provided with more rigid bearings for increased driving stability; the subframe is rigidly connected to the body. The AMG sports suspension with specifically tuned spring/damper units and larger stabilisers provides for high lateral acceleration and a reduced rolling tendency in fast double bends. The CLA45 AMG comes as standard with AMG light-alloy wheels fitted with 235/40 R 18 tyres.


DRIVING & DYNAMISM


Another special feature designed to enhance dynamic performance and driving enjoyment is the so-called "Momentary M mode". In C and S mode, this enables the driver to activate manual mode ("M") without having to remove a hand from the steering wheel, by pressing the "up" or "down" shift paddle once. In Momentary M mode the driver experiences the dynamism and performance of gear-shifting in manual mode in all the automatic driving programmes, with automatic up-shifting on meeting the rpm limit into the bargain. This allows the driver to devote his full attention to the vehicle's impressive performance.

The shift times in manual mode "M" and in Sport mode "S" are similarly sporty in character to those of the SLS AMG GT super sports car. Briefly and precisely interrupting ignition and injection under full load leads to even faster gearshifts in "M" and "S", with a more emotional sound than ever. In "C" mode (Controlled Efficiency), tangibly soft transmission and engine characteristics support a fuel-efficient and comfort-oriented driving style. In addition, in "C" mode the ECO start/stop function is active.


AMG SPEEDSHIFT DCT



  7 Speed sports transmission

The high driving dynamics of the CLA45 AMG call for a highly effective cooling system. On the basis of the components from the SLS AMG, a low-temperature circuit is additionally deployed for air-water charge air cooling of the four-cylinder turbo engine. The cooler extending across the complete front level of the cooling module is supplemented by an additional cooler in the wheel arch. Together with the charge air cooler, which is connected in series, a high-performance electric pump ensures the required flow through the water coolers located behind the large intake ports. This provides for ideal cooling of the highly compressed charge air, thereby contributing towards optimum engine performance.

The cooling of the transmission oil is integrated into the water cooling circuit for the engine. The water cooler positioned behind the front apron is supported by the heat exchanger which is fitted directly on the transmission and supplied with cooling water as required by means of an auxiliary pump.



TWIN-SCROLL TURBOCHARGES & AMG SPORT EXHAUST



Mercedes-AMG addresses the essential challenges concerning the response of small-displacement turbo engines by means of a twin-scroll turbocharger, maximum derestriction of the exhaust system and an innovative injection strategy. The twin-scroll technology provides for a more spontaneous build-up of charge pressure, making effective use of exhaust gas back pressure, exhaust gas temperature and exhaust gas impulse. This results in a swifter build-up of torque right from the lower rev range. As a positive side-effect, the twin-scroll technology also benefits fuel consumption and exhaust emissions. With a maximum charge pressure of 1.8 bar, the AMG 2.0-litre four-cylinder turbo engine leads the field in this respect, too.

The AMG sports exhaust system features large pipe cross-sections and an automatically controlled exhaust flap. This technology, which is familiar from the SLK 55 AMG, reconciles the two apparently conflicting aims of tangible dynamism and hallmark Mercedes comfort on long journeys. The flap is continuously adjusted by map control according to the power called up by the driver, load status and engine speed. The AMG sports exhaust system emits a fascinating, full engine sound that is particularly impressive during powerful acceleration.

An AMG Performance exhaust system with exhaust flap is available as an option for the A 45 AMG. This provides for an even more emotional and striking engine sound when the throttle is open and during gear shifting. The double-declutching function during downshifting and the interruption of ignition and injection during upshifting under full load produce a particularly throaty sound with the AMG Performance exhaust system and create a level of emotionality which is otherwise the preserve of engines with more than four cylinders.



DRIVETRAIN


If you understand the CLA's underpinnings and have been fortunate enough to sample a range of AMG products, the CLA 45 drives about as you'd expect. It's pretty freaking fast. We're close to calling it faster than anything in its size class.

As a road car the CLA 45 can be perfectly civil and nearly docile. Its engine is tuned to deliver torque in giant, relatively short bursts, rather than howling along for extended stretches at 6200 rpm. It's quiet inside--almost surprisingly so. There's some wind around the A-pillars at 120, but the engine noise consists of just a soft drone. Only when you open the side windows does the deep exhaust bellow present itself, almost mimicking an AMG V8, and it's sweet listening to the shifts. The ride is anything but stiff, though we're sure the smooth roads in rural Germany didn't challenge it nearly as much as a Chicago freeway will.

The dual-clutch transmission approaches a conventional torque converter 'box's smoothness, distinguished only by a barely perceptible lurch as it shifts down through a coast-down stop. The efficiency mode -- it also engages the start/stop function -- works to get the CLA into the highest gear possible as soon as possible and it takes a deep push on the accelerator to get kickdown. We preferred the sport mode for casual driving even at the expense of some smoothness. Acceleration from a stop or a roll is basically 911 Carrera-grade. A Race Start launch-control mode is standard, though it's cumbersome to engage, with a specified sequence of button presses and then a double click on the shift paddles.

The difference between the standard CLA and the AMG version comes clearest on a racetrack, and Mercedes gladly offered the opportunity. They could have gotten away with a less-challenging venue. Theirs was Bilster-Berg -- a brand new, Hermann Tilke-designed track at a former military installation south of Hanover, destined for service as an automotive country club. The well-heeled volk who join here had better be reasonably competent drivers, too, or at least willing to repair their expensive exotic machinery. This is one of the more challenging tracks we've sampled in a while.

In short, Bilster-Berg is a mini Green Hell: 2.6 miles with 19 corners, many blind and some off-camber, 200 meters of elevation change with grades as steep as 26 percent, and 44 hill crests that unload the car.

The key, in the context of the CLA 45, is the unloading.

As is probably expected, it's much more confidence-inspiring on track than the standard CLA. The first thing you'll note is it's much more stable under hard braking, and then that it's faster in all circumstances. The CLA 45 still feels mostly like a front-drive car, though not because it's inclined to understeer grossly. It isn't so inclined. It feels like a front-drive car because when it unloads suddenly, as it does often at Bilster-Berg, the rear end gets light first and feels like it might come around -- like lift-throttle oversteer -- though it never did. The difference is, if the unloading isn't too sudden or extreme the CLA 45's rear wheels will power up and grip and settle the car back down, and enhance stability.

In sport mode the automatic works better than manual shifting on a scary new track. It competently selects appropriate gears so the driver can focus on finding the proper way around. The CLA bears up admirably when the driver comes up short. Carry too much speed toward an apex and it will suffer a hard stab on the brakes without fuss, and it won't push madly and completely lose momentum if you gas it too hard again on the other side. Partly because of its weight and dimensions, the CLA 45 is one of the most fling-able and forgiving AMG cars to date.

Back on the road, the CLA's swoopy, CLS-inspired shape (Mercedes makes no excuses) has its drawbacks. The view through the center mirror is narrow and the standard backup camera is almost a necessity.

The front seats are large and have plenty roomy for large bodies, but only the upgrade model has bolster adjustment to keep smaller torsos from sliding around. The rear seat? You'll get reasonably comfortable if you are 5'7” or shorter. If you're taller you'll have to cock your neck sideways or put your chin on your chest, or your head will hit the roof. And that's probably OK, because there is only enough trunk space for luggage for two on a four-day trip.

Some things that look like cost-saving in the standard CLA are less obvious in the AMG version, thanks to a generally higher level of standard equipment (though the wing antenna on the roof still isn't painted to match the car). The red-stitched, partial-leather interior upgrade on the CLA250 comes standard on the CLA 45, and the options make the AMG richer still...SEE ALL PHOTOS



BRAKE


 60-0 MPH Braking 109 ft

The electromechanical Dual Pinion AMG speed-sensitive sports steering with AMG-specific, speed-dependent power assistance and a constant steering ratio (14.5 : 1) enables high steering precision and agility. The electric motor is installed in space-saving configuration on the steering gear. The AMG high-performance braking system with ventilated and perforated brake discs all round in size 350 x 32 millimetres at the front and 330 x 22 millimetres at the rear provides for spontaneous and reliable deceleration.


HIGH PERFORMANCE COOLING SYSTEM


The high driving dynamics of the CLA45 AMG call for a highly effective cooling system. On the basis of the components from the SLS AMG, a low-temperature circuit is additionally deployed for air-water charge air cooling of the four-cylinder turbo engine. 

The cooler extending across the complete front level of the cooling module is supplemented by an additional cooler in the wheel arch. Together with the charge air cooler, which is connected in series, a high-performance electric pump ensures the required flow through the water coolers located behind the large intake ports. This provides for ideal cooling of the highly compressed charge air, thereby contributing towards optimum engine performance.

The cooling of the transmission oil is integrated into the water cooling circuit for the engine. The water cooler positioned behind the front apron is supported by the heat exchanger which is fitted directly on the transmission and supplied with cooling water as required by means of an auxiliary pump.


WORLD MOST POWERFUL 4-CYLINDER


Although the basic 2.0-liter turbocharged engine is the same between the two, nearly everything has been strengthened and enlarged to handle the radically expanded output. Power is 355 horsepower and 332 lb-ft of torque, which are humongous gains over the CLA 250, and like the division’s famous V8s and V12s, the four-banger is hand-assembled by one technician at AMGs German HQ.

The seven-speed dual-clutch remains, although again significantly beefed up. Where the 45 AMG makes the most on its plebeian sibling is the addition of standard 4MATIC all-wheel drive. Although normally biased towards the front in regular driving to save fuel, the instant that slip is detected – or you put your foot down – and power automatically routes to the back axle, up to a max 50:50 split.

Mercedes people claim the engine is the most powerful four-banger available anywhere, and they’re not kidding. The top-end Impreza STI is only 305, while similarly-powered machines from BMW and Audi use larger five- and six-cylinder units. The gains in acceleration are intense – the CLA 45 AMG runs to 60 mph in just 4.6 seconds, which is serious performance-car territory. Thankfully, there are bigger, wider wheels with sticky tires, larger brakes with beefier calipers, and a much livelier suspension tune to keep it in check.

Like other AMG products, there’s also an optional $2,800 Driver’s Package with even tighter springs and dampers, 19-inch wheels with performance tires, red-painted brake calipers and a higher 167-mph top speed.


SAFETY


Driven correctly any high-performance car is safer than the standard model on which it’s based. That’s due to its improved chassis and braking dynamics, as well as its ability to accelerate out of trouble if that’s the correct way of doing it.

Mercedes has been one of the leaders in car safety for close to 70 years. Avoiding crashes and/or minimising their dangers is carried out by everything from driver drowsiness warnings to radar detection of potential crashes. There’s automatic lane keeping and blind spot warning systems. A complete suite of occupant protection devices ensured the CLA had no trouble getting a maximum five-star rating in crash tests.


FUEL ECONOMY


The CLA45 AMG is powered by a turbocharged 2.0-liter 4-cylinder engine producing 355 horsepower, mated to a 7-speed dual-clutch transmission and all-wheel drive. Despite its prodigious output, the CLA45 receives an impressive Environmental Protection Agency rating of 23 miles per gallon city/31 mpg hwy.


VIDEO ( 2014 MERCEDES BENZ CLA45 AMG )



Video by : Motor Trend Channel

SEE ALL PHOTOS


By : Automotive News & Super Modified Sports Cars



= Shahen Tharammal




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