The 2021 CLA-class models are small in the Mercedes-AMG range, but they have a strong street cred. They are available in two flavors: the medium spicy CLA35 or extra-caliente CLA45. Both feature a tuned chassis and a turbocharged four cylinder engine making either 302- or 382 horsepower. The CLA’s dramatic sloped roofline makes it easy to identify the car’s performance abilities, regardless of whether you call it a coupe (Mercedes does), or a sedan (as We do). The cabin combines traditional Mercedes luxury amenities, a sporty design theme and a flat-bottomed steering column with sporty sport seats.
What’s new for 2021?
Blind spot monitoring has been made a standard in 2021. Otherwise, the CLA-class models are unchanged from last year.
Pricing and Which One To Buy
Although the CLA45 is the most powerful member of the CLA family it also has a high base price. This makes it more competitive with bigger, better sports sedans. We recommend sticking with the CLA35 and not spending too much on the higher-end options. The heated and ventilated front seats cost just $950, while the Premium package costs $800 and adds keyless passive ignition and power-folding exterior mirrors that have an auto-dimming function.
Transmission, Engine, and Performance
Both models feature the latest turbocharged 2.0-liter four cylinder from the company. The CLA35 produces 302 horsepower and 295 Lb-ft. The CLA45 generates 382 ponies while the CLA45 produces 354 lb.ft. The CLA35 has a seven-speed manual transmission, while the CLA45 uses an eight-speed auto. Both have the standard 4Matic+ all wheel drive which can send all the power to the rear wheels. You can also get the 45 with a tail-sliding Drift mode. You can adjust the ride quality with an optional set of adaptive dampers. The CLA35, which is 302-hp, was able to achieve a 4.4 second zero-to-60-mph speed. However, the CLA45, which is 382-hp managed the feat in 3.7 seconds.
Fuel Economy and Real World MPG
Both the CLA35 and CLA45 come with all-wheel drive. The CLA35 has a rating of 23 mpg in the city and 29 on the highway. This is 4 mpg less than the CLA250, which has all-wheel drive and is more powerful. However, the CLA35’s fuel economy is comparable to that of its competitors like the Audi S3 or BMW M235i Gran Coupe. The CLA45, which is more powerful, has a rating of 20 mpg in the city and 29 mpg on the highway.
Interior, Comfort, & Cargo
The 2021 CLA45 is a standout on the street, standing out from the 2021 CLA35. It has a flashier grille and wider front fenders. The insides of the two cars are very similar. Both can be outfitted in black faux-suede accents, as well as contrast-stitching and red seatbelts. The interior lighting can be adjusted to include illuminated circular air vents located in the instrument panel. Although the front seats are spacious, there is limited headroom due to the car’s sloped roofline. The cargo area in this sedan is 11.6 cubic feet. This is less than the previous model, but still plenty to store a few overnight bags and an average grocery haul.
Connectivity and Infotainment
Mercedes-Benz’s MBUX infotainment systems are available on the CLA35/CLA45. They have tiny touchpads at the steering wheel and a console-mounted controlpad. The setup is simple to set up and use. The digital instrument cluster screen and the standard infotainment screen of 7.0 inches are located under one large horizontal glass piece that runs across most of the dashboard. All models include Bluetooth connectivity and an 8-speaker sound system. An upgraded Burmester audio system is available as an option, along with SiriusXM satellite radio. The infotainment system has been upgraded to include Mercedes’ Siri-like personal assistant, and augmented reality displays that enhance the navigation system.