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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
Of course, all German sport seating is going to be firm but the standard 651 seats look like they are going to be the softest seating choice. The red seat belts should dress up the standard seating so I think you'll be looking good. I'm going with the 811 black "red cut" leather with the red contrast stitching and red seat belts. I have seen similar looking seating in the 2013 C class that looks great. I'm hoping that the "TBA" pricing on the 811 seats doesn't go beyond the $2K mark. The Recaro's look great from a styling perspective but also look like they're going to be hard as a rock. My current SLK seats are rocks and I'm done with that. Given the excessive price of the leather Recaro's, I'm betting that were going to see a fairly high percentage of the standard style seat variations in the production cars.

The standard 649 18 inch 5 spoke wheels are classics styling beauties that will look great. I'm also going with the 649 wheels for 3 reasons. First, the classic sports look. Second, the 19 inch optional wheels are going to produce a firmer and harsher ride. You may be able to tell the year when you roll over a penny. And 3rd, as you had previously mentioned, the multi-spokes are going to make it hard to keep the red brake calipers clean.
 

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It's just my opinion but this gets back to earlier comments that Mercedes-AMG should have done more to aesthetically distinguish the CLA45 from the CLA250 with the sports package. The only real visual differences will be lost on casual observers. The 45 gets small turbo badges on the front quarter panels and matte silver trim on the spoiler and rocker panels...oh yeah, and the black Sgt. Kabukiman NYPD trim over the front intake inlets (which the average person won't even notice). Otherwise the exteriors are nearly identical when equipped with the twin 5 spokes. The upgraded sport leather seats on the 250 are the standard seats in the 45. At least when you move from an A4 to an S4 you get an upgraded seat that isn't available in the A4 and, FWIW, one of my criticisms about the current gen A4 is that it, too, bears too much of a resemblance to the base car. While M'd-up from a regular 3 series, a 335i xDrive MSport has a very different body package than an actual M3. Even the C63's body is vastly different from its lesser siblings.

I guess my point is that you shouldn't be able to easily confuse an upgraded 250 with a base 45 -- inside or out. Yes, yes, I get that the real benefits are under the skin but a $33K-ish CLA250 shouldn't visually be the visual twin of a $48K CLA45.

-Eric
 

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Discussion Starter #3 (Edited)
I'm ok with the subtle styling cues on the CLA45 over the CLA250 Sport. I'm sure the MB accountants can be credited for the minimal differences in an effort to keep costs down. I would much prefer subtle styling differences over a bunch of cheesy stick-on ground effects plastic panels. I'm really glad that they didn't go that route. Agreed that a couple more unique styling options would have been nice. It is unfortunate that the standard 649 twin 5 spoke wheels are also going to be ubiquitous on the CLA250 Sport. But, for the CLA 250 Sport buyers, they're probably thinking it's great because their car will almost look like an AMG. As for badging, the German's strongly prefer minimal or no badging so the "Turbo" fender badges probably look huge in the eyes of the designer.
 

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Cues, yes...carbon copies...not as much (to me, at least).

I'm not a big fan of tacked on bits to distinguish models either. Lots of wings and scoops and detritus that look more "Pimp My Ride" than factory aren't my thing. I'm talking about variations on a theme.

Take the front end of this 335i coupe as an example...

Here's a base 335i coupe...normal packaging...no upgrades.



Now, if you fancy yourself an "M" but don't fancy the price or you need/want xDrive (not available on the M3) you can upgrade to the "M Sport" package that looks like this:



Very M3, right? Buuuut, the M3 is still the big grand daddy of the line...and it comes standard looking like this:



Very similar...similar styling cues, yes, but actually very different. If you look at them closely the differences go far beyond simple badging and a few pieces of painted trim or tacked on winglets. Look at the roof, the front quarter panels, the shape of the intake inlets on the bumper, the positioning of the turn signal laps, the shape of the hood, the (flame) surfacing on the rockers, etc. The folks at ///M cared enough to keep their crown jewel different. Those are the kinds of distinctions I think AMG should have made to the CLA45 as compared to a CLA250 with an AMG Sport Kit.

I get why 250 buyers like the similarities but they're not the ones shelling out $50K+ for a CLA. Just my opinion but AMG should have done something slightly different for the body kits. Cues, yes. Copies, no. What they did was lazy...to me, at least.

-Eric
 

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Discussion Starter #5 (Edited)
All good points, my brother. I'm acutely aware of the BMW 3 series styling cues. I'm fighting that battle every day. My wife is strongly wanting the next car to be a BMW 335i instead of the CLA45. The good news is that there really won't be a loser, both cars are great.
 

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Eric : So true with the 45. Hence the AMG steering wheel. Otherwise you have to look at the quad exhaust tip and calipers. You know I have a M3 and it is exactly the same color as the photo you posted except I have the slightly larger polished 19" wheels. The visual difference is mostly the hood bulge and small hood air intakes (only one is real) and the quad exhaust. The carbon fiber roof also sets the car apart. If you have a sunroof, the cars would look very similar. Personally I don't have major issues with the CLA250 looking very much like my CLA45. Think Mercedes are probably using this as a marketing ploy to sell more CLA250s. Adjusted for the small extras the 45 has over the 250 plus the 4-matic, the difference in bottom line price is around $15,000. To me, it is worth the difference and to those who don't need the loud exhaust sound and extra speed, the CLA250 sounds like a really nice car with the Sports Package. My C250 Coupe feels pretty strong on the old 201 hp and 228 ft-lb output. The CLA250 should be even quicker with the 208-256 updated four and lighter.
 

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All good points, my brother. I'm acutely aware of the BMW 3 series styling cues. I'm fighting that battle every day. My wife is strongly wanting the next car to be a BMW 335i instead of the CLA45. The good news is that there really won't be a loser, both cars are great.
David: The 335 has much more room in the back than the 45. If you need to carry people, that may be a serious consideration (what am I saying, you have a SLK !) I am an empty-nester so the back seat matters little. The 335, however, is quite expensive with the nicer packages and again, if that's an issue, looks very similar to the far more common 328 and now 320s. You will have to get their beautiful 19" wheel option to look different.

Of course, not to forget, a happy wife makes a happy household in more ways than one :)
 

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Discussion Starter #8
We are a DINK family so anybody that sits in the back seat will be in the bonus room compared to the SLK. (That would be "Dual Income No Kids" for the acronym challenged) For troop transport, we can switch to the F150 Super Crew Platinum with cavernous interior space. My calculations come up with $62K for the CLA 45 configured to my specs and $58K for the 335i configured to my wife's specs. We are very fortunate that we are both well employed and $4K difference is not a deal maker or breaker for us.

Forget about a happy wife - I know my place and that's not gonna happen. :saint:
 

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A few months ago I built a nicely equipped 335i xDrive M Sport sedan for about $55K which is CLA45 pricing territory.

My problems with the 3 that I test drove was generally that it felt bloated (compared to earlier models), the interior felt down market if not dated, and the overall car just left me wanting more. I'd driven a 335 before. It's a great car with a great engine. I don't think it's a bad choice. It just didn't feel...special? I wanted to leave the dealership excited about placing an order, feeling a little disappointed when I got back behind the wheel of my 8+ yr old Volvo...only I didn't. I got into my S60R feeling like its seats were better bolstered (even after 50K miles) and like it didn't actually feel old. In fact, I kind of started thinking I might miss the R -- which I outwardly acknowledge isn't perfect or even right for everyone. It was, however, exactly what I wanted when I bought it.

Then I drove an S4. The interior was fantastic and even my wife loved its grippy seats. It made me forget the BMW (mostly) and got me seriously thinking about it as a replacement daily driver. My hesitation over the S4 was that it seemed to lack something intangible that the previous generation possessed. I don't know whether it was the slightly more benign styling or its lack of a V8 (the V6 certainly had enough power -- even if it lacked the V8's visceral punch). I loved it but wasn't in love the way I expected -- maybe my expectations are too high. Could I happily live with it? Yes. I just wanted to feel more excitement about it than I felt.

Then I saw news about the CLA45 and everything became clear...angels flying, harps playing, sunlight bursting through the clouds...all that jazz. It's not perfect but it seems to have the perfect combination of things I want in a car. Most importantly, it has the intangible "gotta have it" element you don't find on an options list. My wife being on board (mostly) is a (huge) component of my excitement. Absent that I'd be sobbing quietly in a corner on a Toyota Yaris forum.

-Eric
 

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Discussion Starter #11 (Edited)
Eric,
I have the exact same feeling about the current BMW 3 series. I just can't seem to build any excitement around the car. I find both the interior and exterior styling to be boring. I know it would be a great car with super reliability but there's no, as you put it, "gotta have it" feeling. That's my main discussion point with my wife. The CLA45 offers something new, fresh, innovative and there aren't 12 of them at every stop light.

We certainly have wandered from the initial "AUTOWEEK Review" for this topic. Sorry for my part in hijacking the discussion. Perhaps we should start a new thread to weigh the merits of the CLA45 versus likely competitors. As a moderator, could you move the relevant messages in this thread to the new topic?
 

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It’s telling that Mercedes has chosen two sport-orientated trim levels for the CLA, because it’s immediately obvious that Mercedes’ traditional focus on comfort has been ditched for the CLA in favour of a much sportier setup.
 

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Av. Özge YÜKSEKBAŞ;12494 said:
It’s telling that Mercedes has chosen two sport-orientated trim levels for the CLA, because it’s immediately obvious that Mercedes’ traditional focus on comfort has been ditched for the CLA in favour of a much sportier setup.
As to the focus of the CLA, if you read the reviews on the base CLA models they all seem to suggest the opposite -- that it's an economy priced luxury cruiser; not a sport sedan (despite its looks). The AMG models have always been "sport oriented" though. What two trim levels are you referring to?

-Eric
 

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CLA 45 AMG Vs BMW 435. What are your guy's opinions on both cars also the ups and downs of each?
 

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4 doors vs. 2 doors...otherwise, it's a 3 series...at least from my perspective.

In my opinion, the sole purpose of creating the 4 series was to allow BMW to jack up the price of what is essentially a 3 series coupe. They stole a page out of Porsche's playbook -- typically the cabs cost more than the coupe (not so with the Boxster and Cayman). So, until I read reviews on the 4 series that suggest that the 4 series is a major departure from the current 3 series or I get some time behind the wheel of a 4 and come to a different conclusion on my own, everything I wrote about the 3 applies to 4. Why is 6 afraid of 7?

Keep in mind, the 4 series is just being released so it's hard to draw any real conclusions about it yet.

-Eric
 

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4 doors vs. 2 doors...otherwise, it's a 3 series...at least from my perspective.

In my opinion, the sole purpose of creating the 4 series was to allow BMW to jack up the price of what is essentially a 3 series coupe. They stole a page out of Porsche's playbook -- typically the cabs cost more than the coupe (not so with the Boxster and Cayman). So, until I read reviews on the 4 series that suggest that the 4 series is a major departure from the current 3 series or I get some time behind the wheel of a 4 and come to a different conclusion on my own, everything I wrote about the 3 applies to 4. Why is 6 afraid of 7?

Keep in mind, the 4 series is just being released so it's hard to draw any real conclusions about it yet.

-Eric
Well It changed a bit look wise at least BMW 435i Coupe with M performance parts looks very M4 | Autonet.ca . Think the engines are the same though. So basically paying a couple grand more just for a slightly different look
 

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well put sue and i wish did MB did similar to what bmw was capable of

i for one too have exhausted virtually all other options but nothing gets me more tingly than the cla45..

ive looked at 335, s4, 2014 cts-v sport, 2010 cts-v'c, and c63 amg's..

the cla still is at the top of my list! (and its preordered!)

..

the rest (besides v sport) have an older body style or due for refresh's
 

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Discussion Starter #19
Two door cars are not in vogue at this time. Back in the day, you had to buy a 2 door coupe to get sport styling and functionality. Now, there are several worthy 4 door sports models. As Eric mentioned, the BMW 4 series is mostly a warmed over 3 series sans 2 doors. There are a few subtle differences, but nothing major. The CLA45 seems to be one of very few fresh and exciting sports car options for 2014. Maybe the new 2014 Lexus ISF will be good but the legacy of that model is not good. Maybe there will be a new Audi S3 for 2014 that could garner some attention.
 

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Two door cars are not in vogue at this time. Back in the day, you had to buy a 2 door coupe to get sport styling and functionality. Now, there are several worthy 4 door sports models. As Eric mentioned, the BMW 4 series is mostly a warmed over 3 series sans 2 doors. There are a few subtle differences, but nothing major. The CLA45 seems to be one of very few fresh and exciting sports car options for 2014. Maybe the new 2014 Lexus ISF will be good but the legacy of that model is not good. Maybe there will be a new Audi S3 for 2014 that could garner some attention.
The CLA45 will enjoy a period of time when there is simply no comparable competitor. M3 & C63 are V-8s. S4 is a six and gives up substantial speed against the 45. BMW 335i and Lexus Is350 are closer to the S4. Haven't seen the new generation ISF. If there is a S3 bound for the US market, it will likely be the same tuned 2.0T used in the VW GTR. I can't imagine Audi is going to bring out a 360 hp 2.0T that would blow away their older sibling S4. And you will need an engine like that to compete against the CLA45.
 
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