Mercedes’ AMG tuning arm has long been known for its insanely powerful sports sedans, and while the 2024 CLA class is one of the smallest, it is no less important than its place in the lineup. Starting with the Benz-branded CLA class, Mercedes-AMG’s transformation begins with an engine transplant, with the CLA35 model getting a turbocharged four-cylinder with 302 ponies. The more expensive CLA45 S model brings in more heat, packing a version of the same engine that’s been bumped up to 416 horsepower. Style elements are everywhere to remind you that you paid more for AMG, and the CLA’s coupe-like roofline lends itself to the car’s sports mission. The cabin isn’t as spacious as competitors like the Audi S3 or Cadillac CT4-V, but this isn’t a car meant for practicality. It’s a small luxury car with a big attitude — and that disposition is something it inherited from AMG’s more expensive models.
What’s New for 2024?
Like its standard Benz sibling, the AMG CLA class received a styling refresh for 2024 which includes a revised grille, updated headlights, restyled taillights and a new wheel design. The CLA35 gains the 48-volt electrical system found in other Mercedes models such as the C-class sedan, and swaps its seven-speed automatic for an eight-speed. At the top of the range, the CLA45 model gets the S moniker and sees its horsepower increase to 416 ponies. The cabin was also refreshed with new upholstery options, a new steering wheel design and updated software for the dual-screen infotainment system, which can now support wireless Apple CarPlay and Android Auto.
Price and Which One to Buy
The CLA45 S is the most powerful member of the CLA family, but its high base price pushes it to compete with larger, more refined sports sedans, so we’ll stick with CLA35 and try to have light options.
Engine, Transmission and Performance
While both models boast the company’s newest turbocharged 2.0-liter four-cylinder, the CLA35 produces 302 horsepower and 295 pound-feet of torque while the CLA45 S develops 416 ponies and 369 pound-feet of power. Both come with an eight-speed automatic transmission and come standard with 4Matic+ all-wheel drive, which can send all power to the rear wheels. The CLA45 S can even be equipped with a sliding-tail drive Drift mode. An optional set of adaptive dampers provides a customized ride quality. On our test line, The 302-hp CLA35 managed a quick 4.4-second zero-to-60-mph time, and the CLA45—it was making just 382 horsepower then—bursts to 60 in just 3.7 seconds. Now that the CLA45 S makes 34 more horsepower, it should be a little quicker. When we get a chance to test it, we’ll update this story with details.
Real World Fuel and MPG Savings
While the EPA hasn’t considered the fuel economy figures of the 2024 CLA35 and CLA45 S, we don’t expect much from the 2023 model. The 2023 CLA35 is rated at 23 mpg city and 29 mpg highway. That represents a 4 mpg penalty on the highway compared to much more powerful ones Mercedes-Benz CLA250 with all-wheel drive. The CLA35’s fuel economy, however, is similar to such competitors Audi S3 and BMW M235i Grand Coupe. The more powerful CLA45 is rated for 20 mpg city and 29 mpg highway. For more information on CLA class fuel economy, visit EPA website.
Interior, Comfort and Cargo
The CLA45 S stands out on the road from the CLA35 with a flashier grille, wider front fenders, extra aerodynamic trim and more. However, the two share a similar aesthetic on the inside. Both can be outfitted with black faux-suede accents as well as red seat belts and contrast stitching. They also have adjustable ambient interior lighting which includes circular air vents that light up on the instrument panel. The front seats are quite spacious, but headroom in the second row is limited due to the car’s sloping roofline. This sedan provides 11.6 cubic feet of cargo space. That’s less than on the outgoing model, but still enough to hold a few overnight bags or the average grocery item.
Infotainment and Connectivity
CLA35 and CLA45 S are equipped with Mercedes-Benz’s new MBUX infotainment system, which featured a tiny, finicky touchpad on the steering wheel and a console-mounted control pad. The digital instrument cluster display and standard 10.3-inch infotainment screen live under one large horizontal glass that spans most of the dashboard. Bluetooth connectivity and an eight-speaker sound system are standard, and all models come with wireless Apple CarPlay and Android Auto smartphone integration. The list of options includes an upgraded Burmester audio system and SiriusXM satellite radio.
Safety and Driver Assistance Features
CLA class 2024 cars are available with driver assistance features which can help you avoid danger during your journey. For more information about the CLA class crash test results, visit the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) and the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) website. Key safety features include:
- Standard automatic emergency braking
- Lane departure warnings are available with lane maintenance assistance
- Adaptive cruise control is available
Warranty and Maintenance Coverage
Mercedes’ warranty coverage does not include free maintenance, which puts it behind some of its luxury competitors. Otherwise, Mercedes’ warranty coverage is largely in line with those offered by comparable brands.
- The limited warranty covers 4 years or 50,000 miles
- The powertrain warranty covers 4 years or 50,000 miles
- No free scheduled maintenance
More Features and Specifications