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The CLA 45 AMG does not have enough aesthetic differences from the non-AMG models besides that small "Turbo AMG" emblem on the side and the double grill on the front, which doesn't look much different, and the double mufflers. I would have loved to have seen them add something like this to the side of the AMG model.

4-30-2013.jpg
 

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i hate mercedes for not doing something more special

they changed the grille, the exhaust tips, the badge (obviously doesnt even count), and thats about it (yeah, probably about 1k in parts lol

xenon option on CLA is ~900 so they saved us 900 there too i suppose. other than that, the differences are MINIMAL

it doesnt seem any LOWER/stanced - it has a nicer "active" exhaust

if the amg doesnt come with those black things in the front side air vents STOCK then merc is even more "...cheap" than i thought (no offense to anyone :)

they dont even give us the cool seats, just the regular cla seats! (the "amg performance" seats are optional)

they could have made it a little wider similar to the rs4 being wider than an a4 + s4 (fender flares look more aggressive), but no , same dimensions

they coulda done more besides put a different engine it, because thats essentially the only difference


you still need to order every package essentially offered on the reg cla!
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i guess one look at the c63 and we had our answer before the car was even publicly announced - the c63 is in the same boat

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mercdes added 18k to the price of the CLA and put in a different engine with maybe 3k in optional CLA exterior parts, included standard

in fact the engine is probably the same too, just modified/tuned/built more

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disclaimer: i have already pre-ordered a cla45amg and not changing my mind anytime soon.
 

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They need to keep cost $50k +/-, which is around $15k above CLA. If they were to add say, a wide body kit, standard AMG seats, etc., the cost would approach $60k (C63 territory). The extra $15k will be very noticible in the upgraded engine, suspension, steering, gearbox, brakes, etc. The 45 is a performance machine, unlike the CLA which is an entryway into the MB line. IMO, having such a "sleeper" like the 45 is the way to go, kind of like the quiet kid who, when provoked, kicks your butt then walks away. I can't wait to have someone pull up to the side of me in their Evo or Sti and try to exert their dominance, only to be left watching my rear end pull away with maddening quickness. And when they see me at the next red light, I will lean over and say "yeah, it's a 4-banger too".
 

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The base CLA and AMG models look very different. The problem (as others have noted) is that you can get an AMG sports kit on the base car that makes a regular CLA look like a CLA45 model. A 335xi ///M Sport may have an aggressive body kit to differentiate its lesser brethren but you won't confuse it with an M3 when parked next to one in a parking lot. I agree with the comments that this was a poor decision by MB.

As for the actual differences that matter though, there are a number of them. The key differentiation, however, is going to be the hand built AMG engine. The CLA (at least in the US) is only available with a 208hp engine. The CLA's engine makes 355hp. That's a HUGE chasm from a performance perspective; one not easily filled by an aftermarket tune, by the way. The CLA45 also (allegedly) includes an upgraded AMG 4Matic system, a special DCT, as well as improved exhaust, braking and steering systems. Those functions are all supposed to be distinct to the CLA45. The base CLA has already been called out by journalists as not being a "sports sedan." That criticism (or description, depending on your perspective) sure as heck shouldn't apply to the CLA45.

If bling is a driving factor for you in your decision of which model to purchase then I would get a CLA with the AMG sports kit and modify from there to your heart's content. The aftermarket will eventually help you add real numbers to the base CLA's performance specs. While I would prefer a halo model that distinguishes itself aesthetically, for me, it all comes down to performance. If it corners, stops and goes like the specs suggest then I will (hopefully) be a happy camper. If not, I have no interest in the base model -- sport kit or not. It's a great looking car but it isn't what I'm looking for in a car right now. I'd more readily purchase an S4 or 335xi M Sport -- both of which would offer me the manual transmission I would really prefer.

-Eric
 

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I feel like a decently equipped CLA45 AMG is going to be mid 50s range....at that price, people might just go for an S4 or a 335i M sport...I think if MB had priced it at say $45k starting, that would have been great.
 

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I feel like a decently equipped CLA45 AMG is going to be mid 50s range....at that price, people might just go for an S4 or a 335i M sport...I think if MB had priced it at say $45k starting, that would have been great.
That's the exact boat I'm in. Except, the S4 just isn't doing it for me (it still lives in the shadow of previous generations) and the 335 was a real let down (in particular the interior). Don't get me wrong. They're great cars and if the CLA45 falls short I will likely wind up with one of them -- probably the S4. That said, I don't believe $2K (the difference between a $45K and $47K base price) is going to make or break the market for this car.

One thing that will absolutely drive people away from the CLA to the S4 or 335xi is the CLA's backseat. It only holds 2 people (whereas even cars in its class and certainly in the A4/3 series segment all have space for 3) and rear headroom really isn't suitable for tall adults. That said, on paper it is much faster than the S4 and 335xi. So, someone who is primarily interested in performance who isn't necessarily turned away by the marginally smaller cabin and the moderately smaller backseat (aka: me...I think) might see the CLA45 favorably against similarly priced AWD sedans.

Plus, the CLA just looks a lot more exciting than either of the other cars to me. That was a big driver in my interest. The S4's Zest-fully-clean shape has been hanging around for a while and lost some of the bad-ass bravado that the previous generation V8 engined version brought to the table. And, the 335xi is a nice car but it's gotten bigger and more bloated over the years and, seriously, the interior just didn't hold up to the S4's. I like small cars. If I wanted a big (or bigger) car I'd probably pick up a 5 series. Not everyone in America wants an SUV. :)

-Eric
 

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That's the exact boat I'm in. Except, the S4 just isn't doing it for me (it still lives in the shadow of previous generations) and the 335 was a real let down (in particular the interior). Don't get me wrong. They're great cars and if the CLA45 falls short I will likely wind up with one of them -- probably the S4. That said, I don't believe $2K (the difference between a $45K and $47K base price) is going to make or break the market for this car.

One thing that will absolutely drive people away from the CLA to the S4 or 335xi is the CLA's backseat. It only holds 2 people (whereas even cars in its class and certainly in the A4/3 series segment all have space for 3) and rear headroom really isn't suitable for tall adults. That said, on paper it is much faster than the S4 and 335xi. So, someone who is primarily interested in performance who isn't necessarily turned away by the marginally smaller cabin and the moderately smaller backseat (aka: me...I think) might see the CLA45 favorably against similarly priced AWD sedans.

Plus, the CLA just looks a lot more exciting than either of the other cars to me. That was a big driver in my interest. The S4's Zest-fully-clean shape has been hanging around for a while and lost some of the bad-ass bravado that the previous generation V8 engined version brought to the table. And, the 335xi is a nice car but it's gotten bigger and more bloated over the years and, seriously, the interior just didn't hold up to the S4's. I like small cars. If I wanted a big (or bigger) car I'd probably pick up a 5 series. Not everyone in America wants an SUV. :)

-Eric
Very well written and exactly my thoughts. S4 really is nothing special about it that grabs my attention, and the 335 looks too bloated like you said. The CLA 45 just looks primed and ready to tear some asphalt. Also, do remember you're buying an AMG, the most recognizable brand as compared to the M from BMW or S from Audi. A lot of it really is the name.
 

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Also, do remember you're buying an AMG, the most recognizable brand as compared to the M from BMW or S from Audi. A lot of it really is the name.
Absolutely! There is an inherent value to branding any model an "S" or "RS" in the Audi world. Why do you think Audi moved the S4 down market to compete with the 335 when the B8 model was released? Remember, the B7 was more of a direct competitor to the M3. In the US, the 330i competitor was previously the A4 3.0. Replacing the 3.0 with an "S" designated model allowed Audi to better line up its cars against BMW and charge more for that the 3.0's replacement. Just calling the CLA45 an AMG model adds a few grand to the cost...and, THEN, you start paying more for the real improvements (whether aesthetic or mechanical).

-Eric
 

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Do you know anything about the amg suspension compared to the CLA 250? Ok..it's a stiffer one and better tuned...but is the ground clearence smaller for the CLA 45? CLA 250 has about 99 mm which on some roads can create some problems so my concern comes into the practical usage of the CLA 45
 
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