MrJWW’s First Review of the New CLA (2019)
December 6, 2019
You can trust it like a friend you can lean on. Such an awesome feeling. In my book, this is an abbreviation for cool-looking automobile. I’m MrJWW. You may know me as the guy on the internet that likes to share special cars. Well, today is no exception, because we have two of the most emotional cars in the Mercedes-Benz compact class family. The new CLA Coupé and the new CLA Shooting Brake. Mercedes-Benz have sold 750,000 units since its launch in 2013. These new cars have improved in both sportiness and intelligence. So, let’s break down some of the
highlights of the new CLA, which has an iconic, modern design and safety technology which has come down from the S-Class. They have also added gesture control and new driving settings that are specially adapted to the sporty character of the CLA. So when you’re around a car that’s this good-looking, we must talk about the design. Now, if you look down the side of the car you might notice the reduced lines and that makes it look incredibly graceful. But also this has enhanced its sporty and elegant coupé character. Let’s talk about the front of the car. So, we’ve got this stretched, elongated bonnet line with two power domes that work their way down to this flat shark nose. And if we work our way a little bit further down, the first thing that hits you is the prominent diamond radiator grille. Which is a signature feature of the AMG Line. Speaking of AMG Line, what you get is more defined front and rear aprons, these wider air channels and side sill panels. We also have this distinct GT rear end with a tear-off edge, together with wide shoulders for a muscular look. You’ll also notice these two-piece tail lights. They’re actually split and there’s a functional purpose, because when I open the boot, they come up with the boot, not encroaching on the boot space. Just easier to get bags in and out. So, as a result, when you stand back from the car, this thing just looks awesome. And it really is a testament to the great engineering and, importantly, aerodynamic work of the guys from Mercedes-Benz. In fact, it has resulted in a drag coefficient of just 0.23. Now, that might not mean much to you guys, but in theory, if a cyclist were able to wear the skin of this CLA, he would in fact be able to ride even faster. Isn’t that amazing? You might notice that the doors are in fact frameless. And this adds a sort of minimalistic aura to the car. Just like any decent coupé should have. Anyway, less of the talking. Let’s hop in and finally take it for a drive. The CLA offers the sportiest driving characteristics of all the models amongst the Mercedes-Benz compact cars. It essentially keeps the promise of its design. Three of the key features that are worth mentioning, because they all make it sit on the road more solidly, are the wider track, the lower centre of gravity and a gain of five centimetres in length. The one I’m sitting in right now is the 250 4MATIC with 165 kW and 350 Nm. Down here is the DYNAMIC SELECT switch. Now, what this allows you to do: We can toggle this up and down from Eco, to Comfort, to Sport and even Individual. But today I feel pretty sporty. This allows you to individually control up to four parameters. You’ve got transmission, the engine, the steering and the suspension. Okie Dokie! Which leads me nicely on to the ESP, which has been specially adapted to suit the car. But you need to think of this system like a friend you can lean on. It just gives you a lot of confidence through the corners. Particularly when you’re flowing at a higher speed. You can trust it, you can rely on it, and importantly, it never interrupts the
driving enjoyment. And if all of that wasn’t enough, we even have an adaptive damping system. Now, I know that might sound complex at first, but what it’s doing in actual fact is adjusting the suspension in real time. And that would contribute to why I am surprised at just how good this thing feels gliding across the road but also when you throw it into a corner. The front end on this just grips and goes. Once again fills you with confidence and allows you to exploit and make the most of every road you find yourself on. And to tie all of that together, we even have the 4MATIC all-wheel drive system. And what that results in is also massive traction and, once again, massive confidence. Honestly, the amount of grip that this thing has – you can just plant your foot in any gear and it just squats and goes. Such an awesome feeling! In the CLA, things have evolved dramatically. And what that allows me to do is give MBUX a more complex command. So, check this out: Hey Mercedes. How can I help you? Find me the nearest Asian restaurant that’s child-friendly, four-star rating. Please select an entry. That is ridiculous. That is so good! Dragon BBQ sounds good. But there’s one more additional feature. Because MBUX now recognizes gestures and it was the first car in this class to do so. So, for example: If I hold my fingers up to the screen like this, it can recognize this pattern. And I can pre-configure it to load up the navigation, for example. This helps in so many situations, because when I reach out to interact with the screen, it anticipates my move. And as I get closer – look at that – a menu just pops up and knows that I want to interact with it. It’s very cool. And the same thing happens down here on the touch pad. I go over to interact and up pops the menu. And you’re probably wondering: How on earth does that do that? It just so happens that up here, in the roof, there is a 360° camera embedded in the car, scanning your movement. Very trick stuff. The result of these gestures can be customized. So, if you dive down into the Favourites section of the menu, you’re able to allocate a custom result to both the passenger and the driver’s v-shaped gesture. For example, if I wanted my gesture to result in a shortcut to the sat-nav, I can allocate that and the passenger might want to – I don’t know – jump to the radio quickly. One of the features that I really like is the augmented reality within the sat-nav. It’s amazing because what I’m seeing is a live view of the actual road in front of me. But superimposed on top of that is all of the information I need. So, think road signs, traffic conditions… But what I really like is actually how precise the turning indicators are for where my route is taking me. It’s so good that once you’ve lived with it and tried it once in – I don’t know – difficult traffic situations, you’re never gonna want to drive without it again. So, here’s one more trick from the box of invisible magic: When it’s dark outside, I’m able to use gestures again to turn off and on the reading light underneath the rear-view mirror. Just like this – look at that. Phenom! And the same can be said for the reading light on the passenger side. When there’s no passenger in the passenger seat, I just extend my arm over here – and on it comes. How cool is that? One more cool feature that I can share with you, now that it’s dark, is the new full-colour head-up display. And what this does is project all of the information you’re gonna need while you’re driving directly in your line of sight, which allows you to keep your eye on the road at all times. So, one other feature is ambient light. You can choose from 64 different colours to suit your mood. So, out of the darkness back into the light – which is the perfect opportunity to discuss the new multifunction steering wheel. So, on the left and right of the wheel are two touch control buttons and they correlate to the two 10.25-inch high-definition screens in front of me. So, the left one, appropriately, correlates to the left screen, which is the instrument cluster and that you can interact with just like a smartphone. You just swipe easily and intuitively up-down, left-right and select whatever you’re looking to choose. And on the right-hand side, you can control the infotainment: sat-nav, music, etc. But what I really like is that you’re able to customize the interface to your choosing. So, think about being able to rearrange the applications for those which you use more often. Really cool system. Another great feature is the wireless charging functionality. So, just by placing my phone in this area down here in the central console, it literally starts charging. So, we also have new sports seats. Now, not only are they comfortable, they also provide great lateral support. Of course, with the new adaptive suspension system, that allows you to drive the car faster when you find yourself on those gorgeous winding roads. For the first time, the CLA is able to drive semi-autonomously in certain situations and that’s because Mercedes-Benz brought driving assistance systems and functions from higher tiers on board. For example, we’ve got Active Distance Assist DISTRONIC, which automatically controls the car’s speed and the distance to the vehicle ahead. In addition, it uses map data to make automatic speed adjustments ahead of bends, junctions or roundabouts. Another very handy feature is the Active Steering Assist. This programme helps to keep the car centred in the current lane by observing road markings or the path of the car ahead. The CLA’s Active Lane Keeping Assist can warn you when you unintentionally cross a line. It even can assist you directly by braking the wheels on one side of the car. Active Braking Assist can issue early warnings and initiate braking when a possible collision is detected with vehicles, riders or even pedestrians. Its camera and radar systems are able to detect dangerous situations. So, I’m sure you’ll remember at the
beginning of this video, there were two cars waiting for me. Besides the Coupé, Mercedes-Benz also offers a Shooting Brake version of the CLA. So, in comparison with the CLA Coupé, you’ll notice that the extended roofline of the Shooting Brake creates this powerful and elegant image. But of course, beauty is one thing but practicality is another and that’s ultimately what the Shooting Brake is all about. So with the longer and higher roofline, of course, it creates more headroom. But importantly, when you’re accessing the car, getting in and out of it is much easier too. Yeah, it is way easier. And more comfortable for shoulders, head and elbow areas. For example, with the heightened roofline, you now have four centimetres of greater head clearance. And then around to the boot. Somewhat of a defining feature of this car which you can conveniently open with a hands-free system. Like so. How trick is that? Now, the opening of the boot is 20 centimetres wider than its predecessor and overall just a larger space. So here we are. Reunited with the CLA Coupé. These cars – they’re sporty, they’re beautiful, they’re evidently intelligent and in the case of the Shooting Brake, even really practical, too. And the way these things drive, I mean the sense of connection that you get between the road and the driver is wonderful. The chassis balance just encourages you and gives you lots of confidence when you’re driving on those tight, twisty lanes. But still, my all-time favourite function and feature of this car is being able to literally just talk to it, through the MBUX system. The way that you can just give it a command and it reacts almost like a human still blows my mind. Now, I don’t know about you guys – and I don’t know why Mercedes-Benz call it the CLA. But in my book, this is an abbreviation for cool-looking automobile. So, if you’ve come this far through the video, the chances are you’re going to want to see more information. So, you can click right here to visit the Mercedes-Benz website and you click right here to see some more content. As always, guys – thanks for watching, I shall see you next time. Ciao!