I’ve been reviewing vehicles from a tech perspective in preparation for the arrival of self-driving automobiles. Those self-driving vehicles nonetheless aren’t right here, so I needed to accept a Mercedes-AMG CLA 35.

This Mercedes-Benz mannequin wasn’t an electrical automobile and it didn’t have trendy sensors that detected whether or not I used to be sleepy. But it was an opulent automobile loaded with know-how. The CLA 35 is the center mannequin within the AMG CLA collection, with the CLA 250 beginning at $36,650, the CLA 35 beginning at $46,900, and the high-end CLA going for $54,800. The CLA 35 mannequin that I attempted out is the Goldilocks mannequin, which Mercedes-Benz calls a “new point of entry” for the AMG division vehicles. But this four-door coupe had so many extras that it was $64,755.

If you get all these choices, you’ll get a considerably safer automobile with options reminiscent of sensors that detect whether or not you might be drowsy and ship you alerts, or a system that may robotically hit the brakes when you don’t see an imminent collision. An attention-grabbing truth: when you have a look at the distinction between the bottom mannequin and the one I drove, you’ll see that know-how is the distinction. You don’t get an even bigger engine.

Most just lately, I drove the Subaru Legacy 2020 Limited sedan, which had sensors that would detect whether or not the motive force is drowsy or distracted. I additionally reviewed plenty of tech-laden vehicles up to now yr, together with the Jaguar I-Pace, the BMW i3s, the Mini Cooper SE Countryman (hybrid), the Volkswagen e-Golf, the Land Rover Sport HST MHEV, the Subaru Crosstrek Hybrid, and the Ford Fusion Energi.

Basics of the Mercedes-AMG CLA 35

Mercedes-AMG CLA 35 review: A luxury car loaded with tech and safety

Above: Mercedes-AMG CLA 35 AMG-enhanced 2.0L inline-Four turbo engine.

Image Credit: Mercedes

Under the hood, it has a 302-horsepower turbocharged four-cylinder engine. It has commonplace seven-speed, speed-shift dual-clutch transmission and variable all-wheel drive. The CLA 35 has a 2-liter Inline-Four engine. Mercedes says this produces an “emotional engine” sound. The turbocharger gives responsiveness at low engine speeds with an influence enhance at increased engine speeds.

Mercedes-AMG CLA 35 review: A luxury car loaded with tech and safety

It goes zero to 60 miles per hour in 4.eight seconds, and it weighs round 3,600 kilos. It comes commonplace with full LED headlights, and so they can swivel. The automobile has18-inch light-alloy wheels in twin-spoke design (19-inch wheels are optionally accessible). Thankfully, Mercedes added an ordinary solar roof. It has distinctive exhaust holes which are flush with the bumper. And has 11.6 cubic ft of area within the trunk. The rear bumper comes with a diffuser insert, a small spoiler lip on the trunk, and two spherical tailpipes on the left and proper. It will get you on the freeway about twice as quick because the Subaru Legacy 2020 that I attempted out earlier this yr.

Balancing consolation and management

Mercedes-AMG CLA 35 review: A luxury car loaded with tech and safety

Above: The automobile has quite a lot of zip ranging from a chilly begin or getting on the freeway.

Image Credit: Mercedes

Mercedes strengthened the entrance part of the bodyshell to allow a exact turn-in potential and the toe and camber stability of the chassis, even when driving at velocity. A “shear panel”, a bolted aluminum plate beneath the engine, additionally will increase the torsional stiffness of the entrance part of the CLA 35. Two extra diagonal braces on the entrance of the underbody additionally cut back torsion and enhance rigidity.

The automobile has 5 AMG Dynamic Select drive packages: Slippery, consolation, sport, sport plus, and particular person to allow a stability between consolation and dynamic. They change related parameters, such because the responsiveness of the engine and transmission. For occasion, the brand new “slippery drive” program is optimized for low-grip, icy street circumstances, with lowered energy and a flat torque curve. Smooth gear adjustments and earlier upshifts assist a extra steady driving character.

During dynamic cornering, imperceptible braking intervention on the rear inside wheel creates an outlined yawing second in regards to the vertical axis. The impact: the CLA 35 steers shortly and really exactly. You can choose the drive program on the multimedia show, and a AMG Dynamics image is displayed with the corresponding extra data.

The non-compulsory Adaptive Damping System permits the motive force to decide on between three completely different suspension management modes. The spectrum ranges from comfort-focused to sporty. The system operates totally robotically, adapting the damping forces for every wheel in keeping with the driving scenario and street circumstances. This occurs inside milliseconds and is infinitely variable, with a large unfold of damping traits. The result’s that trip consolation and agility are each enhanced. All of those options stability consolation and security, however you might be exhausting pressed to really feel the distinction, aside from a imprecise notion that this automobile is fairly easy.

Automated security

Mercedes-AMG CLA 35 review: A luxury car loaded with tech and safety

Above: Active brake help will cease your automobile if a collision is imminent.

Image Credit: Mercedes

The commonplace driver help package deal has lively brake help with cross-traffic consciousness. If you don’t react shortly sufficient, it helps you keep away from an impending collision relating to automobiles which are forward, stationary, or crossing your path.

The non-compulsory driver help package deal ($2,250) has lively distance help, dubbed Distronic, which is an adaptive cruise management system that is ready to robotically modify your set velocity for visitors forward. It additionally has route-based velocity adaptation, which suggests the automobile is ready to cut back the velocity in anticipatory mode by referencing the Comand map information forward of curves, junctions, roundabouts, toll cubicles, and exit roads.

And it has lively steering help, which generates steering torque which helps the motive force to remain within the middle of the lane on straight roads and slight bends, taking its steering from automobiles forward and lane markings. It additionally has lively emergency cease help, which brakes the automobile to a cease in a managed method when the system acknowledges that the motive force is distracted for an extended interval or can not intervene in automobile management.

The automobile additionally inform when you’re altering lanes and it assists you when you’re doing so. Mercedes has additionally added lively velocity restrict help, which robotically adapts the automobile’s velocity to recognized velocity limits. (For a $1,100 choice, you possibly can have a heads-up show, which tasks a hologram on the windshield, exhibiting you the velocity restrict in white; when you go over it, your velocity indicator turns orange). The automobile has lively blind spot help, which has a visible alert within the type of a light-weight close to your rear-view mirrors to inform you {that a} automobile is in your blind spot on both aspect. It additionally provides you an audible alarm when your turning sign is on. It can even hit the brakes when you try a lane change with an impediment within the blind spot.

Mercedes-AMG CLA 35 review: A luxury car loaded with tech and safety

Above: Attention help will ship alerts if it detects a drowsy driver.

Image Credit: Mercedes

If you’re drowsy, the lively lane-keeping help will warn you with vibrations on the steering wheel. This alert occurs if the automobile is unintentionally drifting out of its lane. If the automobile passes over a strong line or a dashed line when opposing visitors is detected, this method can pull the automobile again into lane by making use of the brakes on one aspect. The “attention assist” senses 70 parameters of driving habits, and it could alert the motive force with visible and audible warnings if it detects indicators of drowsiness on lengthy journeys, and it could additionally detect drivers who start their journeys whereas drowsy.

Lastly, it has a pre-safe sound, or a brief interference sign if an imminent collision is detected, triggering a protecting reflex within the human ear known as the “stapedius reflex,” which can assist cut back listening to loss within the occasion of an accident. And it has pre-safe plus, which prompts security measures when a collision from behind is imminent in addition to making use of the brakes when the automobile is at a standstill to be able to stop subsequent accidents.

The automobile additionally had a $970 choice dubbed Parktronic. This tells you about parking areas when you move them, however solely alerts you if they’re appropriate for the dimensions of your automobile. Once it finds one, the system will inform you the proper steering positions onscreen to make it simpler to again into the open spot.

Infotainment

Mercedes-AMG CLA 35 review: A luxury car loaded with tech and safety

Above: The Mercedes-AMG CLA 35 has an infotainment display screen that responds to voice instructions.

Image Credit: Mercedes

The automobile comes with an clever inside assistant, dubbed the MBUX infotainment system, which replaces the predecessor Comand system. Two shows, one for devices and one for infotainment, stretch throughout beneath a shared glass cowl in a form of widescreen cockpit design. The infortainment display screen is 10.25 inches, diagonal, whereas the instrument cluster is seven inches.

You can select between three AMG show types for the instrument cluster: traditional, sport, and supersport. The latter has a central spherical rev counter and extra data represented in bars to the left and proper. Via the AMG menu, the motive force can name up numerous particular shows reminiscent of warm-up, set-up, G-Force, and engine information.

You can function the screens by touching them. But additionally they supply choice capabilities that may be operated with out contact. The assistant differentiates between driver and passenger interplay and acknowledges sure hand positions and actions. The interplay space for the MBUX inside assistant is in entrance of the media show as much as the middle console. On the center console between the seats, the automobile has a touchpad that you should use to regulate the MBUX display screen interface.

Mercedes-AMG CLA 35 review: A luxury car loaded with tech and safety

Above: The steering wheel view of the Mercedes-AMG CLA 35.

Image Credit: Mercedes

The middle console in piano black end with commonplace touchpad has extra buttons that management the capabilities reminiscent of guide transmission mode and the Adaptive Damping System. You can use it like a touchpad on a laptop computer.

As for automated detection of your intentions, the operator’s seat is enlarged on the media show when you transfer your hand towards the touchscreen. The best suited working parts are robotically pre-selected. In the radio and media menu, the MBUX inside assistant reduces the variety of working steps. In the navigation menu, the system fades within the show as quickly because the hand strikes to function the touchscreen or touchpad, so {that a} image is chosen immediately.

When displaying the digicam picture, as quickly as your hand strikes towards the touchscreen the MBUX inside assistant permits the 4 digicam working symbols from the 360-degree digicam to be light in. This signifies that the entrance, rear, proper or left digicam view may be chosen immediately.

Voice controls and linked entry

Mercedes-AMG CLA 35 review: A luxury car loaded with tech and safety

Above: You can provoke calls or voice instructions out of your steering wheel.

Image Credit: Mercedes

You can even management the CLA 35 along with your voice. You activate that with the phrases “Hey Mercedes.” Using synthetic intelligence, MBUX acknowledges and understands practically all sentences from the fields of infotainment and automobile operation, even when they’re expressed not directly, in keeping with Mercedes-Benz. I didn’t have sufficient time to totally put this to the check.

The AMG Track Pace choice on the CLA 35 is a digital race engineer. It completely data greater than 80 vehicle-specific information measures (e.g. velocity, acceleration). On high of this, lap and sector occasions are displayed, in addition to the respective distinction to a reference time. Because particular show parts are proven in inexperienced or crimson, the motive force can see at a look with out studying numbers whether or not they’re at the moment sooner or slower than the most effective time. You can analyze this information later.

The navigation map show may be switched from 2D to 3D and be up to date on-line (for a payment).

The MBUX Augmented Reality operate additionally permits the perfect line of a saved racetrack to be displayed on the multimedia show or on the non-compulsory heads-up show, permitting the motive force to enhance lap occasions with a digital teacher on board.

The automobile has Bluetooth connectivity in your telephone, so you possibly can play your songs out of your Spotify record through Apple CarPlay or Android Auto smartphone integration. You can even use Waze to show navigation on the infotainment display screen when you desire. It has 5 USB-C ports for charging.

You will pay so as to add Wi-Fi Hotspot service for $20 a month, with 1 gigabyte of knowledge included within the path. It additionally has the choice of SiriusXM satellite tv for pc radio. You can even add a Burmester 12-speaker, 590-watt encompass sound system for $850.

Interior capabilities

Mercedes-AMG CLA 35 review: A luxury car loaded with tech and safety

Above: Mercedes-AMG CLA 35 inside shot.

Image Credit: Mercedes

When you step into the automobile, it feels a bit like entering into the race automobile, particularly you probably have the choice of $3,000 sports activities seats. They’re heated and cooled. There are 10 methods to regulate the seats. You can activate the engine with the press of a button simply to the suitable of the steering wheel, as long as you have got your key fob in your pocket.

You can flip in your heated or ventilated seating with buttons on the left-side door ($1,030 choice). You can tailor the cabin lighting with LED lights that comes as an ordinary a part of the automobile. The multicolor ambient lighting on numerous trims inside the cabin may be lit with 64 colours.

Mercedes-AMG CLA 35 review: A luxury car loaded with tech and safety

Above: The rear cabin of the Mercedes-AMG CLA 35.

Image Credit: Mercedes

The distinctive inside design has microfibers that may draw out contrasts throughout issues just like the stitching and seat belts. The steering wheel rim has a flat backside, perforated leather-based within the grip space, and crimson contrasting topstitching. The galvanized steering wheel gearshift paddles give it a sporty fashion, and you are able to do guide gear shifting with the paddles.

The steering wheel additionally has built-in contact management buttons, acquainted from a few of our different fashions, are a brand new characteristic. The Active Distance Assist Distronic and the cruise management may be adjusted on the management panels on the left. The management panels on the suitable activate the voice management and your smartphone, and regulate the sound quantity, music choice, and different capabilities of the infotainment system.

Worth the value?

It’s price testing the CLA 250 and CLA 45 fashions when evaluating the CLA 35. But this one has quite a lot of the options of the dearer CLA 45, like the inside look of the automobile. I loved the automobile’s velocity when getting on the freeway, and it made me really feel a bit like a race driver, with particulars just like the sporty seats. As I discussed, the protection options make this automobile so much safer, and I solely want I might get that on the most cost effective vehicles too. Sure, $64,755 is just like the down fee on a home. But when you’ve obtained that form of money, that is a kind of dream vehicles that may very well be calling your identify.