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2015 Mercedes-Benz CLA250 4Matic Long-Term Arrival

Motor Trend logo Motor Trend 6/16/2015 Brian Brantley, Chris Clonts

Before the Mercedes-Benz CLA250 was introduced, it would have been an understatement say that auto writers were skeptical of the compact sedan with polarizing styling and "wrong-wheel drive."

But the motoring public, to put it mildly, was not skeptical. Roughly two years after it went on sale in the U.S., the CLA-Class has been a rousing sales success. Recently, M-B USA president and CEO Steve Cannon said to Automotive News that sales should "level off" to roughly 2,500 to 3,000 cars a month. That kind of number is a sledgehammer thrown into those skeptics' glass houses. In the no-longer-skeptical column is MT technical director Frank Markus, who said the CLA was more playful than expected. " GTI-like," he said.

2015 Mercedes Benz CLA250 4Matic© Provided by MotorTrend 2015 Mercedes Benz CLA250 4Matic

This is our first time with our hands on the all-wheel-drive version, so we look forward to seeing if it improves on the front-drive CLA250 we tested last year. That car ran to 60 mph in 6.3 seconds and hit the quarter-mile mark in 14.9 seconds at 93.7 mph. It stopped from 60 mph in 114 feet.

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Our 2015 long-termer, with a base price of $33,500 before destination (for 2015 M-B said goodbye to the "Under-$30,000" ad tagline that made such a splash on its debut), is a real looker in Cirrus White. The interior upholstery is black MB-Tex (high-quality vinyl) with Dinamica faux suede inserts. The Sport Plus package ($3,900) adds AMG body styling, racy red accent lines on both bumpers, and red calipers on the brakes, which get perforated discs to stop the 18-inch AMG wheels and Continental Contisport Contact 5P tires. Also in the package: an AMG front axle and sport suspension with constant-ratio steering and a performance-tuned transmission and exhaust. Inside, the package adds red contrast stitching, red seatbelts, a flat-bottom steering wheel, and brushed stainless pedals with rubber inserts.

2015 Mercedes Benz CLA250 4Matic© Provided by MotorTrend 2015 Mercedes Benz CLA250 4Matic

The CLA250 is powered by the same 208-hp, 258-lb-ft turbo four that powers all CLAs except the full AMG. Power runs through a seven-speed DCT into the AWD system. It comes standard with auto stop/start, collision prevention assist and attention assist. An additional $550 got us blind-spot assist, and the panoramic sunroof was $1,480. Xenon headlights and LED taillights were $850, and 12-color, changeable ambient lighting was $155.

The $2,300 Premium package includes satellite radio, heated front seats, a Harman Kardon surround sound audio system, a garage door opener, and driver's side and rearview auto-dimming mirrors. The Multimedia package brings in the COMAND infotainment system with navigation, a rearview camera, an 8-inch screen, voice control, a DVD player, an SD slot, and satellite traffic and weather.

2015 Mercedes-Benz CLA250 4Matic Long-Term Arrival

2015 Mercedes Benz CLA250 4Matic© Provided by MotorTrend 2015 Mercedes Benz CLA250 4Matic

It all adds up, a Mercedes-Benz tradition. The total MSRP on our CLA250 4Matic is $46,140.

Is it all worth it? In his First Drive review, Markus said the build seemed up to Mercedes-Benz's high standards. We'll find out if it holds up over the course of commuting the sometimes-rough streets of metro Los Angeles. We particularly look forward to seeing if the AWD system enhances handling in our dry testing and on local canyon roads and whether it's a safety feature in the rain, should we ever have any. And I'd love to throw some winter tires on and head up to Montana ski country this winter. Come on, Ed, the white-on-white photos would be worth it!


2015 Mercedes-Benz CLA250 4Matic
BASE PRICE$34,425
PRICE AS TESTED$46,140
VEHICLE LAYOUTFront-engine, FWD, 5-pass, 4-door sedan
ENGINE2.0L/208-hp/258-lb-ft turbo DOHC 16-valve I-4
TRANSMISSION7-speed twin-clutch auto.
WHEELBASE106.3 in
LENGTH x WIDTH x HEIGHT182.3 x 70.0 x 56.6 in
EPA CITY/HWY FUEL ECON24/33 mpg
ENERGY CONS., CITY/HWY140/102 kW-hrs/100 miles
CO2 EMISSIONS0.71 lb/mile

2015 Mercedes Benz CLA250 4Matic© Provided by MotorTrend 2015 Mercedes Benz CLA250 4Matic
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