This week, I’ve got a real head-turner for you, the 2020 Mercedes-Benz AMG CLA35 Sedan. I would call this an entry-level performance car since it is very fast and the smallest Mercedes-Benz offered.
This Benz looks hot, especially in Jupiter Red. It has distinctive lines, a swooping roofline, beautiful 19” wheels, a rear spoiler, and dual exhaust that sounds really great. For 2020, it is longer, lower, and wider, which is a great combination.
As with all AMG models, the real story is under the hood where you’ll find a hand-made 2-liter turbocharged engine that is putting out 302-horses and 295-pound feet of torque. That is a lot of power for a car this size. It is mated to a 7-speed dual-clutch transmission that you can shift from steering wheel paddles. All AMG CLA 35s are all-wheel drive.
Exterior looks, although excellent, pale in comparison when you open the door and sit down behind the flat-bottomed steering wheel with controls to hit the start button. The Recaro seats are pretty heavily bolstered to hold you in when making hard turns and yet they are quite comfortable.
Two 10.25” screens greet you, but it looks like just one huge screen. The detail of the door panels, the stitching on the dash, the use of stainless steel, round A/C vents, and cool stripes above the glove box let you know this car is an AMG.
The gauges are bright and the screen in the center that operates the sound system, navigation, Bluetooth, rear camera, apps, and settings can be operated by touch or a touchpad on the center console. It is much easier than previous versions I’ve tested, but there is still a bit of a learning curve. If you really want to have some fun, check out the Track Pace and Performance pages from there.
On the center console, you have a good number of shortcut buttons and this is where you change the drive modes, of course Sport Plus is my favorite and it changes the steering, the transmission shifts, and the exhaust sound. It also defeats the start/stop system, but in lesser modes, there is a button to do that manually.
Standard Equipment and Options
This is a Mercedes, so that means two things: it comes with a nice list of standard equipment AND the base price goes through the roof when you stack on the options, like most dealers would order for inventory.
For free you get a Panoramic sunroof, ambient lighting, keyless entry, power seats, LED headlights and taillights, Apple Carplay, and Android Auto.
My tester has $15,000 in options including the 19” wheels, steering wheel buttons to change the drive modes, sport suspension, wireless charging, Burmeister sound, and active park assist.
The most expensive option is the $3200 Recaro seats, and the $2250 driver assistance package which gives you emergency brake assist, blind spot monitoring, lane keep assist, evasive steering assist, and more.
Be aware the back seat room is fairly tight and the swooping roofline cuts out some headroom. Back seats occupants do get air conditioning vents and a USB port. Trunk space is generous, and the rear seats fold down in a 60/40 configuration.
Ride and Drive
Driving characteristics are good, the ride is firm in sport plus mode, but you can calm it down in comfort mode. This is a car that you could actually take to the track or it can be a nice daily driver. Steering is precise with good feedback and this Benz will take you from a dead stop to 60 in a very respectable 4.6 seconds. In sport plus mode, you can activate launch mode by pushing down the brake and accelerator at the same time.
I don’t like that the sunroof goes over the top instead of tucked inside the roof, but that does save a little back seat headroom.
When you drive it gingerly, you’ll get 23 miles per gallon in town and 29 on the highway, if you do not, it is not nearly as good.
MSRP is $62,855 but if you cut out some of the options, this car is a good buy for what you get.
2020 Mercedes-AMG CLA35 Review
- What I liked most: Interior & exterior looks, the power.
- What I would change: The price rises too quickly with options.
- MSRP: Base price $46,995, as equipped $62,855 with transportation.
- Fuel Economy: Rated at 23 city/29 highway/25 combined.
- Official Color: Jupiter Red.
- Odometer reading when tested: 6,200 miles.
- Weight: 3,505 pounds.
- Spare Tire: Inflator kit.
- Length-Width-Height: 184.8” long/72.2” wide/55.3” high.
- Fuel Tank Capacity: 13.5 gallons with the filler on the driver’s side.
- Towing Capacity: N/A.
- 2020 AMG CLA 35 in a few words: A really fun car to drive that would be great on a track or on your daily commute.
- Warranty: 4-year/50,000 mile bumper-to-bumper with roadside assistance.
- Final Assembly Location: Affalterbach, Germany.
- Manufacturers website: www.MBUSA.com
- Next up: 2020 Ford Expedition Max King Ranch