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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Greetings CLA Community!

My name is JP and I am Sales Associate for a dealership in New Jersey. I have been involved in the industry since I was 15. I spent 9 of my 12 years with BMW. I am rather new to this forum but I have been active on various other forums.

Today I had the opportunity to attend the S/CLA Live Training for work. I spent a good portion of the day with both of these vehicles. The training on S Class is something I will not get into. I know everyone wants to know more about the CLA. I will try to answer as many questions that have been asked of me either through posts or DM's.

Before I get started I would like to make one thing very clear. Mercedes Benz did extensive amounts of research before releasing this vehicle. The target audience is Generation Y. The age group is 18-35 years old. I fall into this category. This vehicle IS built like a Mercedes Benz should be built. There was no corners cut in terms of technology, safety, performance, sportness, and luxury.

Driving Element:

I had the ability to drive a FWD 250 with the AMG Sport Package. In person the car is very aggressive and a must have if you were on the fence about it. The "diamond" grill really is beautifully done. It creates a much bolder presence on the vehicle. On the FWD, the AMG Package will have summer tires. If you order a 4-matic the tires will be All-Season. I do not know if the tires will be all season on the non sport 18" wheel upgrades. The tires ARE Extended Mobility Tires. On here we refer to them as Run Flats. There is no spare tire in the vehicle. The 45 has conventional tires with a TireFix kit. The tires on my Test car were Dunlop's. The 17" wheel cars had Conti's.

Now for the driving portion. I drove the vehicle for a total of 30 minutes. The start up is very similar to a C250 in terms of engine noise. I had to take mental notes while driving and as a passenger on various elements. The "torque steer" is minimal if any. The hydro mechanical steering rack was a benefit for the additional weight while turning the car. This steering rack allows the use of PARKTRONIC and lowers dead weight on the front end. The motor has a GREAT "whoosh" sound while accelerating. It is not a "ricey" blow off valve sound but rather a sporty sexy sound. The exhaust note very similar to a C250 under a WOT.

I was aggressive in the corners and from a dead stop and the wheel spin was extremely minimal. The car was planted on all fours. Understeer was minimal and ONLY came when making a hard turn and pushing the peddle down. Torque split is near 50/50. With 4-matic, the car will act like a FWD and will send the power to the rear as needed. I do not know how the 45 AMG 4-Matic setup will be. On the 2014 E & CLS 63 its 33% Front and 67% Rear. I believe the 45 will still have a 50/50 I have AMG training in the coming months. Stay tuned! :)

I had the vehicle up to 65-70 mph and it was very solid. Wind noise was virtually none. My car was equipped with the Pano Roof as well. The Pano Roof creates a very wide open area. In fact I think the area was larger then a C Class. The shade slid almost back almost to the rear window.

The ride quality was a bit stiff but not terrible. The AMG Sport does tie in a lower ride height and a lower profile tire. The folks who drove the non sport said it was very pleasurable and Mercedes Benz like.

The visibility was excellent. The hood had short over hangs and the blind spots were virtually none. I drive a 13 CLS 550 so the large "B" pillar was something I was familiar with. Rear seat headroom was a bit tight but who sits in the back, right? LOL

Double Clutch Trans:

Can anyone guess what other vehicle in the whole MB line up has a DCT? I'll tell you...it's the SLS. That's right a $300,000 and a $30,000 car has a similar transmission. Crazy right? The DCT shifts extremely smooth. This DCT uses a "wet pack" clutch which aids in shifting. This is a manual transmission with a converter for torque input. I drove the car in modes E, S, and M. "E" was very nice locally around town and the ECO Start/Stop was not intrusive. Embrace it because it is not going away. In "S" and "M" is where the car came to life. 2nd-3rd gears were my favorite to run through. The car just kept wanting more. Also, the down shifts were smooth and had a very sporty sound to them.

Build Quality & Materials Used:

Like I said in my opening line...this IS a Mercedes Benz. The CLA customer is just as important as the S Class customer. This vehicle has a majority of safety components that we see throughout the line. These include Collision Prevention Assist, Driver Assistance Package, Bi-Xenon Headlamps, Adaptive Brake, Brake Drying, Hill Start Assist, LED Rear Lights, Frameless Doors, High Structural Steel & 8 Airbags with 2 more optional in the rear.

The Navigation Screen is the same size. There is no difference in screen size between a Multimedia Package and Non Multimedia Package CLA.T he Rear View Camera is hidden under a flap for protection. The Backup Camera does include parking lines. The Multimedia Package works just like a C Class would. Our vehicle was also equipped with the "Drive Plus" iPhone Kit. Right now this is only available for an iPhone 4/4S. I did ask if the iPhone 5 Lighting to 30 Pin could work but I could not get an answer for that.

The front arm rest moves forward and back depending on the drivers arm length. This is the only vehicle in the entire line up that does this. The instrument cluster was laid out and very easy to read. The Multi Function Display has the same layout as all of the other vehicle. The interior has ambient lighting under the headrests and the color cannot be changed. The default color is Solar. The steering wheel adjustment was manual, not power. The LED Daytime Running lights are AMAZING! They really make the car look ultra sexy. They do turn off when you enable the turn signal but go on after it is shut off.

Fuel Economy: I cannot discuss facts but the question was raised today. The numbers will be very very impressive. Trust me, you will be more then satisfied.

Overall Impression:

The CLA will open a new segment in the market. Generation Y wants the latest and greatest. The CLA does that at a price point that works for many people. Remember, this is a Mercedes Benz. There is a lot that went into the vehicle. In fact, the letters and numbers on the trunk had to be reduced for the CD to work so well. If you pre-ordered the vehicle, fantastic! If you are waiting to actually see one you will be pleasantly surprised.

If I have a questions please ask and I will do my best to answer. I know there are a lot of questions on the 45, but I have no seen or trained on the vehicle. Production is VERY tight for that car right now. I do have 1 Edition 1 vehicle left for sale. The other 2 are spoken for. If you are in the market for a CLA please feel free to DM myself or Eric (Sue Esponte). I am working together with him regarding a group buy.

Happy Driving!! :D

JP
 

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Great write up!!

What did you think about rear seat headroom? Is it as tight as some of the reviews have suggested? Can a 6 footer fit back there with any hope of comfort or would it be a futile effort? Also, is there room for 3 in the back, 2.5, or is the car really just a 4 seater?

-Eric
 

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JP, excellent - objective write up. Thank you. Now you are the 8th person I asked about rear view. Do I need a back up camera to safely navigate routine parking ? Also is blind spot assist necessary in this car. I drive a C250 coupe and the B-pillar is a killer...
 

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Good write up. I can see this car being much in demand.

Looking forward to my AMG next spring.

I found an interesting fact, total sales of all AMG models in the US in 2012 was about 6200 vehicles and we are the biggest single market.

The CLA 45 AMG should bump that number significantly if Mercedes has the production capacity.
 

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Thank you for taking the time to write this up. Its nice to get some real info instead of just rumors and speculation.

Can you confirm there are rear A/C vents? Getting E1 so really hoping it has them. Seen tons of pics both with and without them and can't tell if its the difference between European vs American version.

Thanks
 

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Great write up!!

What did you think about rear seat headroom? Is it as tight as some of the reviews have suggested? Can a 6 footer fit back there with any hope of comfort or would it be a futile effort? Also, is there room for 3 in the back, 2.5, or is the car really just a 4 seater?

-Eric
Eric, I'm a 6 footer and I sampled the back seat of the CLA250 that was at MB of Bellevue (Washington) a couple weeks back. The top of my head was lightly touching the headliner. There was no driving permitted on this car, but I would have to say that driving over a speed bump would not feel good. I would gauge the back seat width as great for 2 and acceptable for 2.5 as long as we are talking about a reasonably short drive. For a person of my size (6 foot, 200 pounds), I wouldn't want to go cross country in the back seat of this car. Back seat leg room is very dependent upon the people in the front seat. When the front seats are set for a short driver then there is more than enough leg room in the back seat. At medium depth, there is adequate back seat leg room. When the front seats are all the way back, there is only about 2 inches between the seats. As a 6 footer, I did not need the driver seat all the way back.

JPMBenz, would you agree with my assessment?

Irondad2k, the USA model CLA250 car that I saw did have rear seat air vents. The 2 vents were located on the back side of the center console. The car was inside the showroom so I did not get the chance to start the engine and run the climate control system so I cannot say how much air will flow through the rear vents. See the photos and video from AlexG.
 

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The Navigation Screen is the same size. There is no difference in screen size between a Multimedia Package and Non Multimedia Package CLA.
surprised no one mentioned this

--

this cannot be true, correct?!

if so, dropping MM package within 5 minutes!

i thought non MM was 5.8" and MM was 7"
 

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Hold the door, Batman -- I thought the HOUSING was the same size but the screens were different. I've seen different screens in pictures before -- is the 5.8" screen for the RoW or non-US cars?

JP, under Standard Features / Audio & Entertainment / Central Controller, the MBUSA website says, "Featuring a table-style 5.8-inch color display and a central controller on the console, the CLA gives you convenient control of audio, video, hands-free calling and optional navigation functions. Many features can also be accessed via the integrated steering-wheel controls."

-Eric
 

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Eric, I'm a 6 footer and I sampled the back seat of the CLA250 that was at MB of Bellevue (Washington) a couple weeks back. The top of my head was lightly touching the headliner. There was no driving permitted on this car, but I would have to say that driving over a speed bump would not feel good. I would gauge the back seat width as great for 2 and acceptable for 2.5 as long as we are talking about a reasonably short drive. For a person of my size (6 foot, 200 pounds), I wouldn't want to go cross country in the back seat of this car. Back seat leg room is very dependent upon the people in the front seat. When the front seats are set for a short driver then there is more than enough leg room in the back seat. At medium depth, there is adequate back seat leg room. When the front seats are all the way back, there is only about 2 inches between the seats. As a 6 footer, I did not need the driver seat all the way back.
Thank you! I'm not looking to stuff an adult back there for a protracted period. In fact, in the 8+ yrs I've had my Volvo I can probably count on one hand the number of times an adult has been in the back seat. I just want to make sure I can carry someone when and if needed. My kids are the only ones who will see the backseat routinely since I like to drive them to school. Other than for that very short trip it will likely be vacant.

-Eric
 

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surprised no one mentioned this
--
this cannot be true, correct?!
if so, dropping MM package within 5 minutes!
i thought non MM was 5.8" and MM was 7"
C45, the car that I saw did have the Navigation system and the 7" display, it looked very good. The placement of the screen looks much better in person than in the photos. Based upon the CLA250 that I saw, I cannot confirm the 5.8" display question.

Please think twice about dropping the MM package. First, Navigation is generally considered to be a "required" feature in any nicer car, so any car without Navigation is going to look cheap and will be very undesirable come trade-in or resale time. Second, the rear view camera that is part of the MM package is going to be a must-have on this car because there is limited view out the smallish rear window. Further, rear view cameras are going to become a USA government required features on new cars in just 1 more year, so again, any car without a rear view camera is going to be very undesirable a few years from now when you sell.
 

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Thank you! I'm not looking to stuff an adult back there for a protracted period. In fact, in the 8+ yrs I've had my Volvo I can probably count on one hand the number of times an adult has been in the back seat. I just want to make sure I can carry someone when and if needed. My kids are the only ones who will see the backseat routinely since I like to drive them to school. Other than for that very short trip it will likely be vacant.

-Eric
Eric, there is plenty of room in the back seat for children and adults based upon your use case, provided that your kids are not starters on the high school basketball team. The one additional consideration about the back seat is negotiating the door opening. With the dramatic sloping roof line and the short wheelbase, you do need to have at least average mobility to lean over and tilt your head to get in or out of the back seat. Further, the rear door does not open extremely wide so the rear door glass also come slightly into play as you make your way into the back seat. The elderly might have a problem here. For anybody that has light to moderate use of passengers in the back seat then no major problems. For anybody that frequently has full size adults or elderly in the back seat for lengthy drives then I suggest moving over to the C class.
 

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JP, excellent - objective write up. Thank you. Now you are the 8th person I asked about rear view. Do I need a back up camera to safely navigate routine parking ? Also is blind spot assist necessary in this car. I drive a C250 coupe and the B-pillar is a killer...
Outsider, I recommend that you do some searches over in the MBWorld.org forums. There are MANY threads dealing with adding aftermarket backup cameras into late model C class cars. They talk about preferred cameras, the extra cables and connectors needed and even how to access the engineering mode in the Comand system to enable camera functionality. While it's not a 100% guarantee that you can do the exact same on the CLA, it should ease your mind somewhat that this is likely possible. It's too early in the game for OEM vendors to be marketing OEM camera systems specifically for the CLA but it's a fairly safe bet that OEM kits will become available once the CLA begins to hit the streets.
 

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Greetings CLA Community!

Double Clutch Trans:

Can anyone guess what other vehicle in the whole MB line up has a DCT? I'll tell you...it's the SLS. That's right a $300,000 and a $30,000 car has a similar transmission. Crazy right? The DCT shifts extremely smooth. This DCT uses a "wet pack" clutch which aids in shifting. This is a manual transmission with a converter for torque input. I drove the car in modes E, S, and M. "E" was very nice locally around town and the ECO Start/Stop was not intrusive. Embrace it because it is not going away. In "S" and "M" is where the car came to life. 2nd-3rd gears were my favorite to run through. The car just kept wanting more. Also, the down shifts were smooth and had a very sporty sound to them.


JP
I sat in a CLA250 and for me the upshift and downshift paddles seemed perfectly placed. My question; are the paddles active in S or E mode? What is the delay from paddle press to the upshift or downshift?
 

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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
Great write up!!

What did you think about rear seat headroom? Is it as tight as some of the reviews have suggested? Can a 6 footer fit back there with any hope of comfort or would it be a futile effort? Also, is there room for 3 in the back, 2.5, or is the car really just a 4 seater?

-Eric
The rear seat room was not as tight as some may think. If you are tall driver then the leg will be will tight for sure. Remember the CLA is slightly bigger then a C Class. The roof line was designed to create a slope back coupe. It's one of the lowest roof lines MB has designed.
 

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Discussion Starter · #18 ·
Good write up. I can see this car being much in demand.

Looking forward to my AMG next spring.

I found an interesting fact, total sales of all AMG models in the US in 2012 was about 6200 vehicles and we are the biggest single market.

The CLA 45 AMG should bump that number significantly if Mercedes has the production capacity.
That is correct. AMG sales for 2012 in the US were half of Global Production. The CLA 45 will be pushing those numbers much higher.

Great review! Thanks for taking the time to put it up.
Thank you!!!

Thank you for taking the time to write this up. Its nice to get some real info instead of just rumors and speculation.

Can you confirm there are rear A/C vents? Getting E1 so really hoping it has them. Seen tons of pics both with and without them and can't tell if its the difference between European vs American version.

Thanks
To be honest, I did not pay attention to that. However, I believe there were not any.

Eric, I'm a 6 footer and I sampled the back seat of the CLA250 that was at MB of Bellevue (Washington) a couple weeks back. The top of my head was lightly touching the headliner. There was no driving permitted on this car, but I would have to say that driving over a speed bump would not feel good. I would gauge the back seat width as great for 2 and acceptable for 2.5 as long as we are talking about a reasonably short drive. For a person of my size (6 foot, 200 pounds), I wouldn't want to go cross country in the back seat of this car. Back seat leg room is very dependent upon the people in the front seat. When the front seats are set for a short driver then there is more than enough leg room in the back seat. At medium depth, there is adequate back seat leg room. When the front seats are all the way back, there is only about 2 inches between the seats. As a 6 footer, I did not need the driver seat all the way back.

JPMBenz, would you agree with my assessment?

I would. The rear seat person did say it was a bit bumpy when hitting a bump. However, the 4matic will help with this by adding weight in the rear.

Irondad2k, the USA model CLA250 car that I saw did have rear seat air vents. The 2 vents were located on the back side of the center console. The car was inside the showroom so I did not get the chance to start the engine and run the climate control system so I cannot say how much air will flow through the rear vents. See the photos and video from AlexG.
I truthfully didn't take notice.

surprised no one mentioned this

--

this cannot be true, correct?!

if so, dropping MM package within 5 minutes!

i thought non MM was 5.8" and MM was 7"
Our training said these words "No one can say you got the cheap nav but the screen is the same size." I'll let you determine what that means. ;)
 

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Discussion Starter · #19 ·
Hold the door, Batman -- I thought the HOUSING was the same size but the screens were different. I've seen different screens in pictures before -- is the 5.8" screen for the RoW or non-US cars?

JP, under Standard Features / Audio & Entertainment / Central Controller, the MBUSA website says, "Featuring a table-style 5.8-inch color display and a central controller on the console, the CLA gives you convenient control of audio, video, hands-free calling and optional navigation functions. Many features can also be accessed via the integrated steering-wheel controls."

-Eric
E:

He made that point very clear. The screens are the same size.
 

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Discussion Starter · #20 ·
I sat in a CLA250 and for me the upshift and downshift paddles seemed perfectly placed. My question; are the paddles active in S or E mode? What is the delay from paddle press to the upshift or downshift?
The paddles, like any vehicle, can be used in any mode. In "D" you will have to hold the right side paddle to get out of the mode. You would activate by pulling back the left paddle. You would use to pass someone which would enable the passing gear. However, in manual it will be used by the paddles.
 
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