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Last 7 Days
By Tom Fraser
Quick Specs
$64,900 before on-road costs
Three-year/unlimited km
See the full specs Read the full review

So, where did you go on your date?

All over the place! The CLA250 Sport and I met on a Friday afternoon, just in time for the weekend. It ferried friends and family around the city, and we spend some time out on the freeway headed toward the Mornington Peninsula and took a few detours on some surrounding country roads.

Ideal first date?

Given its sporty characteristics, a quiet back road is an ideal situation to get acquainted.

Hot or not?

Very, very warm. The design is undoubtedly sleek, with the CLS-like sloped roof design translating well over to the smaller four-door format. Finished in all black with the Sport’s red highlights, the CLA250 also had no trouble turning heads.

Though not as ‘hot’ as its CLA45 AMG big brother, it still packs a hot-hatch rivalling punch with only 6.6 seconds passing by before hitting 100km/h. One of the most entertaining aspects of the Mercedes-Benz CLA250 Sport was the popping and burbling of the exhaust when changing gears and lifting off – my personal gratitude goes to the German carmaker for not just restricting these noises to its AMG models.

It's what's inside that counts, what do you think of the interior?

The sporty interior of the Mercedes SLS supercar was undoubtedly the inspiration for the A-class based CLA. Possibly spoiled by driving a new and more expensive E300 during the week, I found myself missing the quality feel of materials used in the larger E-Class – especially on touch points like radio and climate controls.

The sports seats were very comfortable, even over long distances, and look the part as well. The attached headrest coupled with the sloped roof, however, did make visibility slightly difficult at times.

Standout features?

The panoramic sunroof fitted to our car was continuously praised by everyone throughout the weekend, while the Mercedes-Benz Distronic Plus cruise control system was a favourite of mine.

Annoying habits?

Being a touch ‘style over function’, the CLA250’s sloping roof design is the major disappointment of the car – rear headroom suffering most. Anyone close to six foot and above will have a bad time fitting in the back. I had to put the ‘sport’ part of its name to the test and the Mercedes had a slight tendency to understeer through corners. Pulls of its paddle shifters also took longer to be actioned by the gearbox than I expected.

Ready for a family?

Although the boot is quite large for a car of its size, the cramped cabin would put me off buying this for the family.

High maintenance?

The Mercedes-Benz CLA250 is about average in fuel consumption – my weekend of varied driving returning 9.6L/100km. When behaving, I consistently experienced around 7.6L/100km. This is a premium brand too, so servicing is likely to cost a little more than some others.

Any deal-breakers?

Headroom. Even though it’s a small car, in my opinion, headroom is a pretty basic thing that should be provided for in generous amounts in every car.

So, is it serious or just a one night stand?

It’ll have to stay a one-night stand for the Benz and I. Despite enjoying the dramatic ‘coupe’ looks, style over substance isn’t going to work for me.

Keeping your options open?

This is a crowded price point that has a lot to offer. Audi S3, Volkswagen Golf R and Subaru WRX STI are all tempting alternatives to the CLA 250, and all are available for less coin.

If it's not for you, who would you recommend it to?

Young people who wish to make a style statement would gravitate towards the CLA250 Sport, as well as those who wish to bridge the gap between base-model Benzes and their high-performance AMG counterparts.