What Car? says...
The CLA 35 AMG is a pair of Baudoin & Lange loafers, compared with its hot-hatch sister’s pair of Balenciaga trainers. Not quite as practical, just as expensive, but significantly more stylish, and more importantly, a lot more grown up.
Well, that’s the idea, anyway – Mercedes-AMG is hoping that the CLA 35’s more demure appearance will win over buyers who might be a little put off by the Mercedes A35 AMG’s brutish looks. Underneath its understated exterior, however, there isn’t a whole lot that differentiates the CLA 35 from its sibling.
Under the bonnet lies the same turbocharged 2.0-litre four cylinder engine that you get in the A35, producing a healthy 302bhp and 295lb ft of torque. This power is also sent through Mercedes' well-proven 4Matic four-wheel drive system; while power is sent to the front wheels under normal driving conditions, as much as 50 per cent of the engine’s power can be directed to the rear wheels when driving enthusiastically.
Admittedly, this performance saloon packs a lot less power than the range-topping CLA 45 S, but then the CLA 35 is much cheaper to buy, and it still has enough firepower to worry the likes of the BMW M235i Gran Coupe; 0-62mph takes well under five seconds.
Read on over the next few pages to get our in depth impressions on all aspects of the CLA 35. Oh, and before you settle on your new performance saloon, remember that What Car? Can save you an awful lot of money without any painful bartering with dealers. Just head to our New Car Buying pages to find loads of deals.