If you have ever been to a rally stage, then you might have
heard the sounds which the cars make at high revs hitting the limiters almost
at the starting point during the launch. These are normal road going hatchbacks
that are heavily modified, lightened, fitted with bigger engines and sequential
gearboxes and a really long handbrake. With the new CLA 45 AMG, the
Mercedes-Benz front wheel driven sedan, the sounds can now be heard on the
normal Indian roads.
It’s a small luxury sedan, by Mercedes; it’s probably a
comfortable little family car with German finesse and good looks. It has
nothing to do with rallying. But then the Mercedes-Benz CLA 45 AMG is no
ordinary family sedan.
It’s primarily a front wheel drive car, but if you lose your
rear grip, 50pc of the power is sent to the rear wheels. So that solves the
problem. Now to address the elephant in the room, which is actually under the
bonnet and quite literally it is an elephant. AMG have fitted this CLA with a 2
litre 4 cylinder turbo that churns out 355 bhp making it the most powerful 2
litre 4cylinder engine…in the world!
AMG is known for making the 6.3 litre V8 that they put in
the SLS. Then they decided to put it in every single car they could possibly
find in the Mercedes fleet. They tried in on an S-Class with the S63 AMG and
the E-Class with the E63 AMG. They even fitted their SUVs and the G wagon with
the same engine and the GL 63 AMG. And for all of them they also made a 6.5
litre version as well. This made me think. AMG stands for Aufrecht Melcher
Großaspach, which loosely translated probably means “We Are Some German
Lunatics”. Only lunatics can make something like the CLA 45 AMG and I’m sure
they tried putting the same 6.3 litre V8 in the CLA, but it probably didn’t
fit, so after putting some bandages on their egos they decided to build the
most powerful 4 cylinder 2 litre engine in the world.
But then again you’d wonder, if the engine is a 2 litre,
what is the 45 on the badge at the back stand for then? With all that power,
comes enormous amounts of torque and the nuclear power station under the hood
of the CLA makes staggering 450 Nm of them letting you reach from 0-100km/h in
just 4.3 seconds that’s as quick as a V12 Aston Martin.
So all that power, all that torque, in a chassis of size of
a match box is probably something that can kill you is what you might think and
so did I. So I decided to risk my life for all the readers of this magazine to
do them a service. I came down to the Buddh International Circuit in Greater
Noida to test it out and see for myself. Mind you, this was my first time
driving on a track, therefore I left the manual gearbox alone and the traction
control on as advised by the professional driver from Mercedes. And let me tell
you this, if you ever want to know what time travel feels like, put it in Sport
mode and all you have to do is floor the throttle. The surge of power will make
you see the future flashing in your head thinking you’d probably break through
the barriers of the track and kill yourself in the next couple of minutes. But
as soon as you lift-off and brake, you come drastically down to almost a
standstill in a matter of a few seconds with the 4 cylinder engine screaming at
you and everyone around.
The growls at every upshift just melt your heart, but on
track there was no time to stop and catch your breath, as the car kept
searching for corners. It darts in as you turn, and nibbles the apexes,
devouring corners. Tyre squeals are momentary when you turn in as when the back
starts stepping out, 50pc of the power is sent to the rear to keep you alive
and to ensure that you do not need a change of underwear.
The ride is fantastic on the track, there is no body roll,
the nose or the rear doesn’t pitch at all on acceleration or braking, but I can
only confirm when I see how it copes with pimply Indian roads. The steering is
light but has a slight heaviness to it making you actually drive the car, and
turning into a corner it just knows what you want. It feels like it knows what
tracks it’s on and what corner it’s at and what I want from it. Yaw rotation is
just perfect, not too much that you get oversteer, and not too little that you
end up with understeer.
The styling of the entire car is just breathtaking. From the
giant front grille, the perfectly tailored headlamps and tail lamps, the coupé
styled roof, the interestingly designed and spacious interior as dash panel,
the twin 5 spoke 18 inch alloy wheels, and the millimeter perfect lines along
the gorgeous body, the Quad exhaust pipes and the diffuser. I fail to find
anything that looks as good as this in its segment in the Indian market today.
So for the CLA 45 AMG, the lunatics at AMG have done a
fantastic job. Their hours, days and years’ worth of work has paid off. Now
it’s my time to work as hard as the engineers at AMG did to afford the 68.5Lakh
rupees price tag, I have never wanted anything as badly as I want this. That’s
how good this car really is.
AMG 2.0 4-cylinder Turbo Petrol
AMG SPEEDSHIFT DTC 7-speed sports
355 bhp@ 6000rpm
450 Nm@ 2250-5000rpm
250km/h (electronically limited)
AMG sports suspension with independent front and rear axle
235/40 R18 95 XL
Rs.68,50,000 (ex-showroom, Delhi)