mercedes benz cla 250 sport 4matic review now it s properly fast

Mercedes-Benz CLA 250 Sport 4MATIC review: Now it's properly fast

The CLA 200 always felt as if it is missing something but not anymore

Christopher Ng Photo

Christopher Ng

13 Jul 2017

The problem I had with the CLA 200 was that it looks great, has all the lines that makes it one helluva good-looking car, yet the performance doesn’t quite match the shape. Which is a missed opportunity; although the sales figures state otherwise.

Now, Mercedes-Benz has replaced the bland with a car that has more meat on the bones. This seriously lustful piece of machinery is the facelift CLA 250 sharply suited with the AMG Line exterior aero kit, with the AMG Night package splattering the very red car with very black bits. Mmm… nice.

Already, the CLA in standard uniform looks the part — an aggressive face, muscular flanks and tapered rear never fails to turn heads. Add the diamond chrome-pin grill, which comes standard, choice aero parts and the 18-inch AMG alloy wheels, the CLA will crick necks. 

Easily appreciated is the interior, especially when it’s been given the AMG Line package treatment, making it feel sportier than I remembered it to be. You’ll sit in a low-slung sport seats wrapped with ARTICO leather and DINAMICA microfibre. And you’ll be holding a meaty, small-diameter flat-bottom steering wheel with enough red bits to get the blood flowing.

To wring out a better drive from this striking car, Mercedes-Benz shoehorned a bigger, more powerful 2.0-litre engine under the bonnet and a four-wheel drive system into the chassis that promises roller-coaster merriment. And it almost delivers.

Chuck the diamond-grilled front hard into a sharpish corner and the nose will steadily shy away from the apex and applying a good measure of steering will only bear fruits of front tyre squeals, something you wouldn’t want to brag about later.

The electronic nanny steps in quickly, snatching away control of the car away just long enough to get the CLA 250 turning the way you’d want it to.

Whether or not you succeed in squealing or sliding around snaking corners, the CLA 250 will run flat to the road, complete with a reluctantly-yielding suspension. It is good, mind you, in that you could feel the power being transferred immediately to the 18-inch Michelins.

Escaping the corners then tearing down the next straight is close to effortless - having 211hp and 350Nm will do that to you. Pack the 2.0-litre turbocharged with a seven-speed dual-clutch transmission, the CLA offers quick, precise and smooth transitions between the gears.

Yet, thumb through the Dynamic Select and you’ll discover this car is no angel. Give it half a chance and it will quickly run up to the behinds of nearly everything on the road with single-minded focus. And that will delight anything lucky enough to be behind the wheel.

Mercedes-Benz CLA 250 4MATIC


1991cc, inline-4, turbocharged



Seven-speed dual clutch, AWD


211hp @ 5500rpm 350Nm @ 1200rpm-4000rpm


6.5s 0-100kph, 240kph max speed, 6.5l/100km, 160g/km CO2

Overall Rating

8 Rating