A few years ago, On Your Mark was there when CATS Motors launched the latest CLS 63 AMG at their showroom in Bonifacio Global City. It was a breathtakingly beautiful machine, but with an equally asthma-inducing price tag. Desirable as it was, we knew only a select few could actually afford it.
Then last year, Felix Ang and company launched the CLA 250, a compact doppelganger of the CLS. This “Baby CLS,” as it would come to be known, is not only as gorgeous as the original, mid-sized four-door coupe, but brings with it a price that makes it within reach of most executives. The CLA is in a class (and classification) all its own, and one that Benz is placing its bets in: the compact, four-door coupe.
The CLA 250 is just full of surprises. First, we had assumed that it came from the C-Class family. But in fact, the CLA is based on the platform of the A-Class and B-Class hatchbacks, which explains why it has a wheelbase 5-1/2” shorter than that of the C200. Second, we were surprised to learn that the CLA is actually cheaper than the C200, and that this is what the entry-level sedan offering now looks like from the House of Benz. Well, we love what we see.
The sheet metal on this car is just a work of art. Borrowing the puckered snout first seen in the gull-winged SLS, the protruding grill houses the large Benz star, and it floats in a constellation of gems. The large halogen headlamps have LED brows that serve as daytime running lights. If these have no other purpose other than to make the car look even cooler, then mission accomplished. The sneering bumper has air inlets filled with black honeycomb mesh. The contoured bonnet accentuates the length of the hood, while side creases on the door panels emulate rippling sinew.
The high belt line makes the CLA look like a proper muscle car akin to a Mustang or a Camaro. The roofline slopes sharply in the back, and just like a coupe, it connects seamlessly with the short trunk. The leaf-shaped taillights on the boot would look right at home on a Hyundai, and the flattened rear terminating with two chrome tailpipes at the bottom just make the CLA 250 one truly sexy car. Merc’s high-performance division, AMG, supplied some racing flavor to the CLA, too, contributing the floor mats, the skirts, and the 18-inch alloy mag wheels. The Universe Blue paint job on our test unit was a beauty, and it made the curves and contours even easier to appreciate.
The CLA costs P3.38 million, or about P170,000 less than the former entry-level Benz compact sedan, the C200 Avantgarde. Pocket-friendly, easy to drive, small enough for the daily grind, and gorgeous to boot, the Mercedes-Benz CLA 250 is your bang-for-the-buck, compact, four-door coupe.
Read Mark Cabilangan’s full review of the Mercedes-benzCLA 250 inside Asian Dragon Magazine’s March-April issue.
[Photographs: Mark Cabilangan]