Mercedes-Benz: All-wheel-drive GLA and CLA models arrive

Mercedes-Benz: All-wheel-drive GLA and CLA models arrive

CLA250_3_4fcnr5It was ironic that Mercedes-Benz held its Australasian media launch of the new all-wheel-drive CLA 250 Sport 4Matic and GLA 250 4Matic models during one of the worse winter storms to hit the North Island in July.

However, this didn’t dampen the driving experience, rather it was the perfect weather to put the new 4Matic system of both the sexy-looking coupe-like CLA sedan and the compact GLA SUV to the acid test.

CLA250_int2We travelled the bulk of the return journey from Auckland to Tauranga in a CLA 250 Sport sedan and have to report that the ride quality and lack of noise, vibration, and harshness for such a sporty vehicle on low profile 19-inch tyres was exceptionally good.

Mercedes-Benz and AMG seem to have nailed the ability to provide a car with suspension and handling that will hang onto the road tenaciously yet won’t rattle your fillings and throw the occupants around when the driver is having a great deal of fun on some dynamically challenging roads.

Equally, going off-road in the GLA 250 proved the same. It has a suspension and handling package that is equally comfortable on the tarmac as it is on dirt and gravel, without compromising ride quality or driver enjoyment.

Climbing up and then back down a dirt and metalled farm track at the former Pukerau 4WD off-road facility wasn’t a drama for the GLA 250, thanks to its off-road transmission mode and downhill speed regulation (DSR) system which can be set by the cruise control function to a maximum of 18km/h.

The off-road transmission mode modifies the shifty points and accelerator characteristics for driving on light off-road terrain (such as farm tracks or bridle paths) and particularly loose surfaces such as sand and mud.

Mercedes-Benz says the 4Matic system is an on-demand all-wheel-drive system with variable torque distribution which is engineered to activate itself as often as necessary but as rarely as possible, so its a system designed for maximum safety as well as maximum fuel efficiency.

Both vehicles are powered by a 2-litre four-cylinder direct-injection turbocharged petrol engine which is mated to a 7-speed dual clutch automatic transmission.

Mercedes-Benz quotes average fuel consumption of 6.6L/100km and C02 emissions of 154g/km for the CLA 250 Sport, while the GLA 250 averages 7L/100km and emits 162g/km which is remarkable given its higher stance (ground clearance) and greater off-road ability.

Engineered by AMG the CLA 250 Sport offers an over boost function which provides another 10kW of power for up to 30 seconds when needed for overtaking manoeuvres.

The modified exhaust system provides throttle blipping in Sport mode.

Although not badged as a AMG, the in-house motor-sport and tuning division has been instrumental in the set up of the CLA 250 Sport, the engine and transmission as well as the ESP has all been adapted to provide a special driving experience, says Mercedes-Benz.

Inside the cabin the CLA 250 Sports is fitted out with Black red cut leather, Becker map pilot navigation, electrically adjusted front sports seats with memory function and heating, Red highlights, Red seat belts, and a panoramic sunroof as standard.

An Intelligent light system and 19-inch alloy wheel are also standard features on the CLA 250 Sport.

Pricing for the three model CLA range in New Zealand is as follows:

  • CLA 200                              $65,900
  • CLA 250 Sport 4Matic     $79,900
  • CLA 45 AMG 4Matic        $107,900

Not just a pumped up A Class

DSC_0009According to Mercedes-Benz product trainer David Lejarcegui the new compact GLA Class SUV is not just a pumped up A-Class, its a machine thats fully capable going off road and this has been tested at a military tank testing ground in Southern Germany.

Lejarcegui also says the GLA was subjected to trailer endurance testing, and prototype cars covered more than 6000km in testing on the Hockenheim race track.

Body strengthening has been considerable to endow the GLA with the necessary strengths to go off-road and provide Mercedes-Benz customers with the ability they expect from a DSC_0003brand that created the mid-size M Class SUV.

According to Mercedes-Benz the GLA has 10% more high strength steel used in its manufacture than the A Class.

It will occupy the space formerly held in global markets by the Mercedes-Benz GLK SUV (which was not marketed in Australia or New Zealand) because the new GLK is bigger and more luxuriously equipped.

Mirroring some of the specification for the CLA 250 Sport, the GLA 250 4Matic also receives 19-inch alloy wheels, leather upholstery, an intelligent light system, panoramic glass sunroof, and Becker Pilot satellite navigation.

It also receives the off-road engineering package as well as the passenger mirror with reverse parking position, as well as front seats which are fully electrically adjustable and have a three mode heater function.

Some of the GLA 250 Matic models on the press launch were kitted out with the optional $2,590 AMG Line package, which offers great value including:

  • 19 inch bi-colour AMG 5 twin-spoke alloy wheels in high gloss black
  • Aluminium trim with longitudinal grain
  • AMG body-styling on front/rear aprons and side sill panels
  • Mercedes-Benz branded brake callipers and perforated front discs
  • Convenience infra red opening and closing
  • Dark tinted privacy glass from B Pillar to rear
  • Exterior mirros, roof rails and belt line trim strip in high-gloss black
  • AMG floor mats
  • Lowered sports suspension (-15mm front, -15mm rear)
  • Red contrasting interior stitching on upholstery, armrests, and dashboard
  • Sports pedals in brushed stainless steel with rubber studs
  • Sports seats in Black Red Cut leather
  • Steering wheel in nappa leather with perforated grip area and flattened lower section
  • Twin louvre radiator grille in high-gloss black with chrome inserts
  • Upper dashboard in black Artico man-made leather

Pricing on the new GLA Class is as follows:

  • GLA 200 CDI                   $64,900
  • GLA 250 4Matic              $76,900
  • GLA 45 AMG 4Matic      $99,900
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