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Mercedes-AMG Unveils the CLA 35: Comments

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Mercedes took the wraps off the Mercedes-AMG CLA 35 ahead of its debut at the New York International Auto Show next week.   The CLA 35 is the sleeker, more coupe-like version of the Mercedes-AMG A 35 Sedan that was unveiled two weeks ago. Much of the same hardware that goes into the A 35 is here in the CLA 35 as well.

Power is rated for 302 hp at 5800 RPM and 295 lb-ft of torque between 3,000 and 4,000 rpm from the 2.0 liter twin scroll turbocharged engine. 4Matic all-wheel drive is standard and can run in front-wheel drive mode or an even 50-50 split front to rear. 

Like the A 35, the CLA also gets body reinforcements to help with torsional rigidity (which makes us wonder about the non-AMG cars - DD). The interior gets an update to the MBUX system that allows you to say "Hey Mercedes!" to control certain in-car functions.

You can read more about the A 35 AMG  here.

The Mercedes-AMG CLA 35 will officially debut at the New York Auto Show on April 17th at 10:15 eastern.  Stay tuned for more coverage from the show.

Mercedes press release on page 2

Sporty, stylish, intelligent and dynamic: The new CLA 35 is the latest point of entry to the world of Mercedes-AMG. The four- door coupe shares the progressive technology with the A-Class, but is even bolder with its iconic design and the intelligent MBUX interior assistant. The high torque 2.0L Inline-4 turbo engine delivers 302 hp, distributed to all four wheels via the 7-speed dual-clutch transmission and variable all- wheel drive. Sporty driving performance (acceleration from 0-60 mph in 4.6 seconds est.) is combined with a range of versatile driving experiences - from very sporty to refined and comfortable on long journeys.

"With its iconic design and agile driving dynamics, the new CLA 35 is an attractive offer for a young, active and lifestyle-conscious target group. These customers define their requirements very clearly: They expect exciting design from their vehicle alongside superior performance and inspiring handling characteristics. The new CLA 35 embodies just this attitude to life – and  enables stepping in to the fascinating world of AMG Driving Performance in a particularly emotional way,"says Tobias Moers, CEO of Mercedes-AMG GmbH.

Icon with a sporty design: the exterior

The unique design of the CLA Coupe is one of the new model's key purchase reasons. The AMG designers therefore aimed to maintain its basic form with wide wheel arches and a slim profile. The two power domes on the hood were also adopted as sporty details. The new radiator grille with classic twin louvers and an AMG front bumper with flics on the air inlets are distinctive features of the CLA 35. Other distinguishing characteristics include silver chrome trim elements in the outer air inlets. From a side view, the aerodynamically optimized 18-inch light-alloy wheels in twin-spoke design (19-inch wheels are optionally available) and the accentuated side sills catch the eye. The rear bumper with a new diffuser insert, the small spoiler lip on the trunk and the two round tailpipes on the left and right dominate the rear view. The two-piece, narrow tail lamps and the license plate housing placed low in the bumper add to the CLA's wide rear appearance.

Sporty interior featuring MBUX infotainment system

Frameless doors open to an interior with a high-tech ambience, where quality and elegance meet digital displays. The interior scene can be catered to specific tastes thanks to the standard 64 color ambient lighting. The distinctive interior design is evident with the available MB-Tex and microfiber DINAMICA in black with red contrasting stitching and red seat belts, as well as in the available combination of MB-Tex in black/digital grey. Red piping on the microfiber DINAMICA trim elements and ventilation outlets with a red ring are additional unique accents.

The combination of a sporty design with sophisticated details is also evident in the MBUX infotainment system with its innovative operation and display. In the new CLA 35, MBUX replaces the previous COMAND systems and creates an even closer connection between the vehicle, driver and passengers.
Appealing presentations underline the clear control structure and feature brilliant maximum-resolution 3D graphics. Visually, the two displays under one shared glass cover blend into a Widescreen Cockpit, and consequently emphasize the horizontal orientation of the interior design.

With the newly available MBUX interior assistant, select infotainment functions can be operated without touch, along with switching the reading light on or off. The assistant differentiates between driver and passenger interaction and recognizes certain hand positions and movements. The interaction area for the MBUX interior assistant is in front of the media display up to the center console, including the touchpad between the driver and front-seat passenger.

The MBUX interior assistant recognizes movement toward the various operating elements of the infotainment system. The operator's seat is enlarged on the media display if one's hand moves toward the touchscreen. The most suitable operating elements are automatically pre-selected. In the radio and media menu, the MBUX interior assistant reduces the number of operating steps. In the navigation menu, the system fades in the display as soon as the hand moves to operate the touchscreen or touchpad, so that a symbol is selected directly. When displaying the camera image, as soon as the hand moves toward the touchscreen the MBUX interior assistant enables the four camera operating symbols from the 360-degree camera to be faded in. This means that the front, rear, right or left camera view can be selected directly.

The CLA 35 also comes with our new trailblazing voice control, activated with the words "Hey Mercedes". Thanks to artificial intelligence, MBUX recognizes and understands nearly all sentences from the fields of infotainment and  vehicle operation, even if they are expressed indirectly.

Fully digital instrument cluster with three AMG display styles

Customers can choose between three AMG display styles for the instrument cluster: "Classic", "Sport"and "Supersport". The "Supersport"mode is particularly striking, with a central, round rev counter and additional information presented in the form of bars to the left and right. Via the AMG menu, the driver can call up various special displays such as Warm-up, Set-up, G-Force and Engine Data.

Touchscreen multimedia display and new center console

The 10.25 inch touchscreen multimedia display also emphasizes the dynamic character with individual AMG displays, such as visualization of the driving programs, AMG TRACK PACE and telemetry data.

The AMG-specific center console in piano black finish with standard touchpad has additional buttons that control the functions of ESP®, manual transmission mode and the Adaptive Damping System. When combined with the optional leather package, it also features a silver chrome surround.

New AMG steering wheel generation with optional steering wheel buttons

The next generation of AMG steering wheels provide the perfect link between the driver and the vehicle. The steering wheel rim with a flat-bottom, perforated leather in the grip area and red contrasting topstitching is both attractive and pleasant to the touch. The galvanized steering wheel gearshift paddles allow an even sportier driving style with manual gear shifting.

The built-in Touch Control buttons, familiar from some of our other models, are a new feature. The Active Distance Assist DISTRONIC and cruise control can be adjusted on the control panels on the left. The control panels on the right activate the voice control and telephone, and regulate the sound volume, music selection and other functions of the infotainment system.

The steering wheel with innovative AMG steering wheel buttons is available as an option. These consist of a round controller with an integrated display beneath the right-hand steering-wheel spoke, plus two vertically positioned color display buttons with switches beneath the left-hand steering-wheel spoke. The AMG drive programs are actuated directly via the controller. With the two configurable display buttons and the additional switches, further AMG functions can be controlled within easy reach directly on the steering wheel.

Reinforced body-in-white with increased torsional rigidity

Specific measures to strengthen the front section of the bodyshell help enable the precise turn-in ability and the toe and camber stability of the chassis, even when driving at speed. A "shear panel", a bolted aluminum plate under the engine, also increases the torsional stiffness of the front section of the CLA 35. Two additional diagonal braces at the front of the underbody also reduce torsion and increase rigidity.

New four-cylinder turbo engine with 302 hp

The 2.0L Inline-4 turbo engine is a new development and is based on the M260 four-cylinder engine in the new A-Class. The new drive boasts a quick response to accelerator pedal commands, high torque (295 lb-ft max. torque from 3,000 rpm), a lively response and an emotional engine sound. The crankcase made of high-strength, lightweight die-cast aluminum reduces the vehicle weight where it matters most for driving dynamics.

The twin-scroll turbocharger combines optimum responsiveness at low engine speeds with a significant power increase at higher engine speeds. The housing of the twin-scroll turbocharger is divided into two parallel ducts. Together with two separate ducts in the exhaust manifold, this makes it possible to channel the exhaust gases separately on the turbine wheel.

This results in a further advantage of twin-scroll technology -- minimization of the mutually adverse effects of the individual cylinders on the gas cycle. The exhaust gas backpressure is reduced and gas exchange and engine  efficiency are improved.

Numerous engine measures increase efficiency

The high technological standards of the new four-cylinder engine are also underscored by numerous efficiency-enhancing measures. These include CAMTRONIC variable valve control, intelligent thermal management for engine and oil, high-precision piezo injectors and multi-spark ignition. In production,  the patented CONICSHAPE® cylinder honing reduces internal engine friction and also increases efficiency.

Agile gear ratios: AMG SPEEDSHIFT DCT 7-Speed Transmission

The AMG SPEEDSHIFT DCT 7-Speed Transmission also contributes to the agile and dynamic character of the new CLA 35. The gear ratios are configured so that the driver experiences very responsive acceleration in all speed ranges, combined with fast shifting and optimum connections when upshifting.

The standard RACE-START function allows maximum acceleration from a stationary position and is a high performance experience. The functions of the AMG SPEEDSHIFT DCT 7-Speed transmission also include a temporary manual shift mode activated by operating the steering wheel shift paddles in any driving mode, and with the manual transmission mode "M"for manual gear changes with the shift paddles.

AMG Performance 4MATIC variable all-wheel drive

Dynamism, agility and performance – these three attributes characterize the standard all-wheel drive of the new Mercedes-AMG CLA 35. The variable AMG 4MATIC+ combines the best possible traction with driving pleasure. The torque distribution is variable to suit the dynamic handling requirements. The spectrum ranges from front-wheel drive only to a 50:50 percent distribution to the front and rear axles.

A multi-disc clutch that is integrated in the  rear  axle  transmission is responsible for the variable torque distribution between the  front  and  rear axles. It is controlled electro-mechanically. The influencing factors for torque distribution are the driving speed, the lateral and longitudinal acceleration and the steering angle, and the difference in  rotational  speed  between  the individual wheels, the gear selected and the accelerator position.

The main advantages of electro-mechanical control over an electro-hydraulic system relate to more refined driving dynamics – primarily due to the significantly faster response and speed-independent actuation of the discs over the entire adjustment range.

As long as ESP® is activated, the 4MATIC+ system stays in "Comfort"mode. As soon as the driver presses the "ESP® SPORT Handling"or "ESP® OFF"button, the 4MATIC+ system switches to "Sport"mode – for even more agile handling and even higher stability limits.

Five driving programs: vehicle characteristics with a wide spread

The five AMG DYNAMIC SELECT drive programs "Slippery,""Comfort,""Sport,""Sport +"and "Individual"enable a wide range of vehicle characteristics from comfortable to dynamic. They change relevant parameters, such as the responsiveness of the engine and transmission.

The new "Slippery"drive program is optimized for low-grip, icy road conditions, with reduced power and a flat torque curve. Smooth gear changes and earlier upshifts support a more stable driving character.

The "Comfort"program stands for comfortable and fuel-efficient driving, for example, thanks to early upshifts. Suspension and steering are set up for an emphasis on comfort.

"Sport"and "Sport+"place the focus on agility and driving pleasure with sporty engine and transmission tuning. The sound of the  turbo  engine  is  more striking. "Sport+"is particularly exciting with double-declutching during downshifts and partial cylinder cut-off via a brief and precisely defined retardation of ignition and injection at full load.

The "Individual"drive program enables specific parameters to be selected and saved according to personal preferences. In addition, the gliding function is available in the "Reduced"and "Moderate"drive settings.

AMG DYNAMICS: more agility with high stability

As a new feature in the AMG DYNAMIC SELECT drive programs, the new CLA 35 comes with AMG DYNAMICS. This integrated dynamic handling control system extends the stabilizing functions of ESP® with responsive interventions according to the driver's wishes. During dynamic cornering, imperceptible braking intervention on the rear inside wheel creates a defined yawing moment about the vertical axis. The effect: the CLA 35 steers quickly and very precisely.

The different modes of AMG DYNAMICS are called "Basic"and "Advanced."When a drive program is selected on the multimedia display, the new AMG DYNAMICS symbol is displayed with the corresponding additional information.

  • "Basic"is assigned to the "Slippery"and "Comfort"drive programs. In this case, the CLA 35 shows very stable handling with a high damping of the yaw rate.
  • "Advanced"is activated in the programs "Sport"and "Sport+."The CLA 35 remains neutrally balanced. The lower yaw damping, lower steering angle requirement and enhanced agility support dynamic maneuvers, such as driving on winding country roads.

In the "Individual"drive program the driver can set the AMG DYNAMICS levels individually.


The layout of the AMG RIDE CONTROL suspension provides solid straight-line stability and highly dynamic cornering performance. The longitudinal and transverse dynamics are optimally coordinated.

A McPherson strut construction is fitted on the front axle. The suspension is comprised of one wishbone below the wheel center, one spring strut and one tie rod. The special axle geometry reduces the influence of the drive on the steering – for high comfort and agile handling. The new wishbone in aluminum reduces unsprung mass, enabling a more sensitive response from the springs. The AMG-specific front steering knuckle has a radially bolted brake calliper – a technology originating from motorsport.

The 4-link rear axle is connected with the body via a subframe. Three transverse arms and the trailing arm, the wheel carrier and the bearings from the proven A 45 are used on each rear wheel. This ensures maximum driving stability and agility.

Adaptive damping system with three modes

The optional Adaptive Damping System enables the driver to choose between three different suspension control modes. The spectrum ranges from comfort- focused to sporty. The system operates fully automatically, adapting the damping forces for each wheel according to the driving situation and road conditions. This happens within milliseconds and is infinitely variable, with a wide spread of damping characteristics. The result is that ride comfort and agility are both enhanced.

Robust high-performance brake system

The high-performance braking system enables fade-resistant deceleration and short braking distances. The front axle is fitted with new 4-piston monoblock fixed callipers and 13.8 inch brake discs, while the rear axle is equipped with 1-piston sliding callipers and 13.0 inch brake discs. The discs are ventilated   and perforated to dissipate heat and reduce brake fading, even with heavy use. The silver-painted brake callipers have black AMG lettering.

Steering with special rack and variable ratio

The speed-sensitive, electro-mechanical power steering supports a sporty driving style with its direct turn-in ability. It has a special rack with variable ratio and two characteristic curves: depending on the drive program the driver has selected, it provides taut and sporty or more comfortable steering feedback. The rigid mounting in the integral carrier connects the steering with the body and thus increases steering precision.

AMG exhaust system with exhaust flap for sound modulation

The exhaust system features an automatically controlled exhaust flap as standard. Depending on the drive program selected, it modulates the sound from balanced to powerful.


AMG TRACK PACE is also available as an option for the new CLA 35. The virtual race engineer is part of the MBUX infotainment system and permanently records more than 80 vehicle-specific data measures (e.g. speed, acceleration). On top of this, lap and sector times are displayed, as well as the respective difference to a reference time. Because specific display elements are shown in green or red, the driver is able to see at a glance without reading numbers whether they are currently faster or slower than the best time.

After putting in some fast laps, the driver can use the data to analyze and, if necessary, improve their driving skills. In addition, acceleration and deceleration values (e.g. 0-60 mph, ¼ mile, 60-0 mph) can be measured and saved. Thanks to a newly developed algorithm which determines the vehicle position as precisely as possible, AMG TRACK PACE even detects when the track has been left or if it has been shortened. This is possible using GPS data as well as the sensors available in the vehicle (acceleration, gyroscope, steering angle, wheel speeds).

The logged data is displayed on the multimedia display, in the instrument cluster and on the optional head-up display. Well-known racetracks like, for example, the Nürburgring or Spa Francorchamps, are already stored.
Furthermore, it is also possible to record one's own circuits. The map display can be switched from 2D to 3D and be updated online.

The MBUX Augmented Reality function also allows the ideal line of a stored racetrack to be displayed on the multimedia display or on the optional head-up display, allowing the driver to improve lap times with a virtual instructor on board.

World premiere and market launch

The new Mercedes-AMG CLA 35 celebrates its world premiere as part of the New York International Auto Show on April 16, 2019 and will be available in U.S. dealerships starting late 2019.

Data at a glance


2020 Mercedes-AMG CLA 35


2.0L Inline-4 turbo


1991 cc

Max. output

302 hp at 5800 rpm

Peak torque

295 lb-ft at 3000-4000 rpm

Drive system

AMG 4MATIC+ all-wheel drive


AMG SPEEDSHIFT DCT 7-Speed Transmission

Acceleration 0-60 mph

4.6 s est

Top speed


* electronically limited

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What a pathetic engine, another one of these DOHC High horsepower with weak torque at a crazy high rpm put into an ugly yellow car. This gets my Turd award. 💩

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4 hours ago, dfelt said:

What a pathetic engine, another one of these DOHC High horsepower with weak torque at a crazy high rpm put into an ugly yellow car. This gets my Turd award. 💩

That is more torque than the GM 3.6 V6.  Also this is the mid-level, there is a 400 hp coming.

I think this CLA looks a lot better than the previous one, but if were shopping this and an A-class sedan, I would just go with an A-class sedan and save the money to have essentially the same car.

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16 hours ago, smk4565 said:

That is more torque than the GM 3.6 V6.  Also this is the mid-level, there is a 400 hp coming.

I think this CLA looks a lot better than the previous one, but if were shopping this and an A-class sedan, I would just go with an A-class sedan and save the money to have essentially the same car.

It's not more torque than the GM 3.6 TT..... see? I can make irrelevant comparisons too!

I like the tail end of the CLA better than the A-Class. Otherwise I'd probably just get the hatch.

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17 minutes ago, ccap41 said:

Everything has more torque than the GM n/a 3.6...


It has about as perfect a torque curve as one gets for a non-turbocharged engine..... this idea that you have to "rev the hell out of it to get any torque" is absolutely false, and here's the receipt to prove it.   2016_LGX_36LV6VVT_CAM_061715.jpg


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40 minutes ago, Drew Dowdell said:


I've driven the 2.0T Regal GS and the 3.6 Regal GS and the 3.6 LaX.

In no instance does the 2.0T feel faster than the 3.6. 

It isn't about which is faster. The 3.6 is faster in a straight line in every application that I could think of. It's about not needing a downshift to do the same thing the turbo engine can.

IMO, I'd prefer the three quarters of a second of lag than the three quarters of a second downshift and RPMs. 

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The problem all of these DOHC engines is you still have to rev them to make torque, if you have to rev at 3000 rpm to get the 280 lb-ft of torque to get moving compared to a NA engine where it makes that torque at 1500 rpm, there is a performance difference off the line. I remember @dwightlooi covered this in detail with a delightful debate a while back about the high RPM torque engines versus NA low RPM Torque engines even if it only had 200 or 225 lb-ft compared to 300 lb-ft of torque how the off the line and performance feel is different. Turbo Lag, High revving engines to get moving compared to a low revving engine that moves is night and day different. 

Marketing has made these High Horsepower, lower torque, high revving DOHC engines seem like stars, yet they are heavier and especially with turbo equipment even more heavier for what you can get out of a push-rod V8 or even the NA 3800 V6 that moved plenty of steel.

I get the engineering marvel the DOHC engines give, but some times the simpler engine is still far superior and better. Just look at all that has been achieved with the small block V8.

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Just now, dfelt said:

Is that what is in that Buick Encore? ;) :P :lol:


I'm not against Turbo-4s in the right place... like in this CLA where it is very appropriate.  But they are not usually a good V6 replacement in heavier applications, and in places where a full-size V6 will fit, I'd rather the V6.  In something like an Acadia or Traverse, you're just into the boost too much to give any fuel economy benefit plus there is the driving lag.  Even in something smaller like the Camaro, there is a reason the V6 is the buy-up engine and not the Turbo-4. 

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8 minutes ago, Drew Dowdell said:

You know I drive a Turbo-4 every day, right?

YA DON'T SAY?!?!? It also has almost identical amount of torque as my n/a 2.0 in my Focus did..which is basically zero.. in something weighing a couple hundred to a few hundred pounds more.

(looking at the 1.4T's, there are two and if you have the more powerful one, it doesn't seem like a bad match but the weaker of the two seems pretty abysmal but regardless, anything running 17 second 1/4 mile times is well underpowered, imo)

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22 minutes ago, dfelt said:

The problem all of these DOHC engines is you still have to rev them to make torque, if you have to rev at 3000 rpm to get the 280 lb-ft of torque to get moving compared to a NA engine where it makes that torque at 1500 rpm, there is a performance difference off the line. I remember @dwightlooi covered this in detail with a delightful debate a while back about the high RPM torque engines versus NA low RPM Torque engines even if it only had 200 or 225 lb-ft compared to 300 lb-ft of torque how the off the line and performance feel is different. Turbo Lag...

The new 2.7T (L3B) 4-cylinder engine makes 310 hp @ 5,100 rpm with 348 lb-ft @ 1,500 rpm. According to its design engineer, this is the fastest spooling turbo GM ever made with its dual volute housing enabling it to go from braking to full torque in about 1 second. That is considered VERY VERY RESPONSIVE. But, if you cannot feel a 1 second lag, there is something very wrong with your butt.

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Just now, ccap41 said:

How often do you do from brake to full throttle? That's a rare situation. 

Right, and going from brake to part throttle ALWAYS induce even more lag because you have a much slower ramp up of the exhaust energy available to drive the turbo.

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