Mercedes-AMG CLA 35 4MATIC Shooting Brake

The CLA Shooting Brake certainly looks the part, but is it any fun to drive? Asks Ginny Weeks.

What is it?
The Mercedes-AMG CLA 35 4MATIC Premium Plus Shooting Brake is a small estate version of the brand’s CLA model. The 35 model is one of two AMG performance models and features a 2.0-litre, four-cylinder, 306 hp engine, a 7-speed automatic gearbox and 4MATIC all-wheel drive.

First impressions?
A striking, stand-out car with its angular lines and shark like front. The cluttered looking rear divides opinion, but overall, it certainly gives the impression of a luxury performance car. Our test model featured a bold combination of matte grey paintwork, black alloys and red leather interior.

What does it drive like?
Surprisingly uninspiring. For all the AMG styling and finishes, there isn’t much fun to be had with the driving side of things. Yes, it’s smooth, fast and solidly built, but the quiet 2.0-litre engine is underwhelming and the automatic gear changes slow and jerky. This is meant to be a performance model, and after 300 kms of driving, trying all the sporty
driving modes to no avail, we were left disappointed. We could not get to grips with the light steering. It didn’t give us that confident feel we were looking for, particularly when negotiating tight bends and underground car parks –
always a useful steering test. Like many a modern car, this model falls victim to oversensitive warning systems, several of which we were forced to turn off for being too distracting (such as the overhead speed display). In conclusion, the CLA Shooting Brake is at its best on long motorway trips where comfort and cruise control is important.

What’s the interior like?
Inside, you’re cocooned in luxury with an abundance of elegant soft leather and shiny metal finishes throughout. The modern design is stylish and straightforward and we couldn’t find any cheap plastics hiding anywhere. A big feature of this car is the brilliant infotainment system, touchscreen and digital display which is hard to beat. Yes, you will
have to have a look at the manual to know how to work a few things, but most of the tech is straightforward and intuitive. In particular, the satellite navigation impressed us with how easy it was to use and crucially, turn off!
The swooping rear pillar limits the practicality of the boot, which comes in at 514 litres, only a small amount larger than the standard CLA. It also limits the head room in the back seats which are cramped for passengers over 6ft tall.

Will it break the bank?
At just over €75,000, this is an expensive choice. Many families could instead opt for a larger and more practical estate car for that price.

Verdict
There are more exciting small estate cars to drive, but if you’re sold on the looks and long drive comfort then this is worth considering.

Why you’ll buy one? Looks, build quality, interiors/tech
Why you won’t? Drive, impractical, more exciting alternatives

Mercedes-AMG CLA 35 4MATIC Shooting Brake
Price: €75,120
Engine: 2.0-litre four cylinder
Power: 306 hp
Transmission: seven speed automatic
0-100 kph: 4.9 seconds
Economy: 8.5–8.1 litre per 100 km
CO2: 171g/km

 

Visit the Mercedes-Benz Ireland website or its Facebook page or Twitter for further details.

Ginny Weeks

Author: Ginny Weeks

Freelance lifestyle writer, trend forecaster and digital consultant Ginny Weeks has contributed to a range of titles (both online and in print) including Psychologies, Coast, MSN Food, MSN Her, MSN Cars, MSN Travel, Harpers Bazaar, Top Gear and 1883 magazine. You can folllow Ginny on twitter @GinnyWeeks

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