2021 Mercedes-Benz AMG CLA 45

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2021 MODEL
$53,100
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2021 Mercedes-Benz AMG CLA 45 Complete In-depth Review & Buying Guide

Updated on: August 18, 2020
Rishabh Mehra's image

Rishabh Mehra

Automotive Content Writer

Mercedes Benz introduced the second-gen CLA last year with a totally new design and an upgraded chassis. The new 45 trim of the CLA is powered by the most powerful four-cylinder production series engine in the world codenamed M133. Bragging rights aside, this motor produces 382 horsepower in the non-S form and an insane 416 hp in the S variant. 

With pricing expected to start somewhere around $55,000 for the 2021 Mercedes-Benz CLA 45 AMG, it will face steep competition from the likes of BMW M340i, Audi RS3, Genesis G70 and other similar performance sedans in the market.

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Pros

A long list of stand features

Powerful and refined 2.0L engine

Efficient considering the performance

Tighter handling

Cons

Sloping roof eats into the headroom

Less cargo space

What's New?

It is a carryover model for 2021


Pictures & Videos

Exterior
Interior
Videos
2021 Mercedes-Benz AMG CLA 45 Review video
2021 Mercedes-Benz AMG CLA 45 Review video

Ratings

Features

9.9

Engine And Performance

9.9

Fuel Economy

8.0

Interior

9.9

Exterior

9.9

Safety

9.9

Final Verdict

9.1

9.1

OVERALL RATING

Trims and Configurations

MSRP


2021 Mercedes-Benz AMG CLA 45 Base

Base

power
382 hp @ 6500 rpm
fuel
Premium unleaded (required)
mpg
26 combined

$53,100


Style Prices MPG Engine Transmission Drivetrain Seats Colors
4MATIC 2dr Coupe AWD (2.0L 4cyl 8AM) Starting at $53,100 MSRP (23/26/3) 382 hp @ 6500 rpm, 2L, Inline 4, premium unleaded (required)
8-Speed Dual Clutch all wheel drive 5

Expert Review

9.1

Overall Rating


The Mercedes-Benz CLA-Class is a very interesting segment in Mercedes’ lineup of cars. It was introduced to the world in 2013 and was based on the W176 A-Class platform. The CLA was basically a four-door fastback version of the A-Class hatchback. It is a series of subcompact executive cars from Mercedes with the practicality of a 4-door sedan combined with the styling of a coupe. 

The Coupe shape gives the CLA its distinctive look and makes it stand out of the crowd of all the 4-door sedans in the market. Currently, in its second generation of production since 2019 for the 2020 model year, the 2021 model is also expected to be a part of the same generation. 

2021 Mercedes-Benz AMG CLA 45 Coupe Front View
2021 Mercedes-Benz AMG CLA 45 Coupe Rear View

9.9/10
Features

 
 
 

9.9/10
Engine and Performance

 

8.0/10
Fuel Economy

 

9.9/10
Interior

 

9.9/10
Exterior

 

9.9/10
Safety

 
 

9.1/10
Final Verdict

 

2021 Mercedes-Benz AMG CLA 45 Features

9.9/10

The CLA 45 AMG is in itself a trim level among the four different trim levels available for the 2021 CLA-Class from Mercedes Benz. The CLA 45 AMG is the range-topping trim for the CLA-Class in the US with the most powerful engine and highest performance figures. Although there is an even meaner and more powerful variant, the AMG CLA 45 S, that is not available in the US yet. That being said, the 2021 CLA 45 AMG will mostly be a carryover model from the current model year, with the only update being the addition of the new Mercedes-AMG aerodynamic package that improves the aerodynamic performance of the car and make the car even more agile by providing better downforce with the help of new front splitter, rear aero curtains, and a brand new diffuser. Moreover, there will also be a plus version of the kit that gets an even larger rear wing. Apart from the new aerodynamic package, the 2021 CLA 45 AMG will remain the same as its outgoing model.

Some of the expected key features of the Mercedes-Benz CLA 45 AMG include:

Trim Mercedes-Benz CLA 45 AMG
MSRP (expected) $55,000 
Key Features Handcrafted AMG 2.0L inline-4 turbo engine
  RACE and DRIFT modes
  Panorama roof
  Power front seats with 3-position memory
  AMG Performance front seats
  Mercedes-Benz User Experience (MBUX)
  Voice Control with Natural Language Understanding
  Active Brake Assist
  Attention Assist

Although being a performance sports sedan, the CLA 45 AMG does not skip on the luxury and safety features of the car.

On top of the standard features list, some of the packages available for the CLA 45 AMG are:

  • Exterior Lighting Package
  • AMG Performance Seat Package
  • AMG Performance Seat Package Advanced
  • Multimedia Package
  • Driver Assistance Package
  • Parking Assistance Package
  • AMG Dynamic PLUS Package

2021 Mercedes-Benz AMG CLA 45 Maintenance, Reliability and Warranty

The German automakers are known for their precise build quality and tremendous reliability and the CLA 45 AMG is no exception. But make no mistake; the CLA 45 AMG is not your typical family sedan. It is tuned by the hooligans at AMG and it has got one of the most powerful 4-cylinder engines in the market and all those performance upgrades are bound to make the car a bit more expensive to own and maintain.

Reliability and Ownership Costs

Although no doubt about the reliability of the car, the CLA 45 AMG is a performance-oriented sports sedan that makes it quite expensive to own and maintain. On average, you will have to shell out roughly about $76,000 in 5 years in terms of ownership cost when you buy a brand new CLA 45 AMG. This is not a surprise for an up-market performance sedan. But the good thing is that the CLA-Class does not tend to lose its value quite as much as the other cars in the same segment which is a good thing for the resale value of the car.

The average price paid for the 2020 Mercedes-Benz CLA 45 AMG is about $53,286. The people from Montana, New Hampshire, Oregon, Atlanta, and Delaware enjoy the lowest prices as they have exempted the sales taxes.

Considering the fact that the 2019 Mercedes-Benz CLA-Class only got a single recall till now and only a couple complaints from customers, which although is very low especially for a feature-packed car, shows that no car is free from issues and problems.

Warranty

Just like the 2020 model, the 2021 CLA 45 AMG will also be backed up by your regular array of limited warranties, typical for any car in the performance sedan segment.

The warranties for the 2021 Mercedes-Benz CLA 45 AMG includes:

Criteria

Period

Limited Warranty

4 years / 50,000 miles

Powertrain Warranty

4 years / 50,000 miles

Complimentary maintenance schedule

N/A

The warranty scheme for the CLA 45 AMG is quite decent and is comparable to other cars in its segment. With that said, Genesis offers a powertrain warranty of 10 years or 100,000 miles which is industry best, just like Hyundai, and a complimentary maintenance schedule for 3-years or 36,000 miles whichever is earlier.

Miles Per Dollar

Considering driving for 15,000 miles per year on average, miles per dollar for the Mercedes-Benz CLA 45 AMG stands roughly in the neighborhood of 7.69 miles per dollar, which is less than what you get from your regular CLA-Class sedan.

2021 Mercedes-Benz AMG CLA 45 Buying Advice

To be honest, there’s nothing much to think about here. If you want the most powerful and the best performing CLA-Class, you have to go with the CLA 45 AMG trim. Although there is a more powerful and more performance-oriented AMG CLA 45 S, it is not available for the US market yet and the top-of-the-line position is held by the CLA 45 AMG instead. Nonetheless, the CLA 45 AMG is more than powerful enough for your everyday drive and to even have some fun on the track as well.

Is buying a used car Mercedes-AMG CLA 45 AMG a good idea?

Since German cars are pretty well made and are very reliable, buying a used Mercedes-Benz CLA 45 AMG should never be an issue, given the car has been decently well maintained and regularly serviced. Moreover, the depreciation rate is fairly low for the car standing somewhere around 17% per year. So, since the car does not tend to lose its value that much, getting a bargain offer might be tough for the CLA 45 AMG.

2021 Mercedes-Benz AMG CLA 45 Engine and Performance

9.9/10

Being a carryover model, the 2021 CLA 45 AMG will be powered by the same AMG 2.0L inline-4 turbo engine capable of producing 382 HP and 354 lb-ft of torque. It is one of the most powerful 4-cylinder motors out there in the market, surpassed only by its bigger brother, the AMG CLA 45 S itself.

Models

2021 Mercedes-Benz CLA 45 AMG

2020 BMW M340i xDrive

2020 Audi RS3

2020 Genesis G70 3.3T AWD

MSRP (expected)

$55,000

$56,000

$56,200

$46,650

Engine

2.0L turbocharged Inline-4

3.0L turbocharged Inline-6

2.5L turbocharged Inline-5

3.3L turbocharged V6

Drivetrain

All-wheel drive

All-wheel drive

All-wheel drive

All-wheel drive

Transmission

8-speed dual-clutch automated manual

8-speed shiftable automatic

7-speed automated manual

8-speed shiftable automatic

Power 

382 HP @ 6500 rpm

382 HP @ 5800 rpm

394 HP @ 5850 rpm

365 HP @ 6000 rpm

Torque 

354 lb-ft @ 3000 rpm

369 lb-ft @ 1800 rpm

354 lb-ft @ 1700 rpm

376 lb-ft @ 1300 rpm

Although all the cars in the competition have a different approach with their engines, the power output is more or less the same from each of them. The B58 unit under the hood of the M340i is shared with the likes of the BMW Z4 M40i and the Toyota Supra which says a lot about its performance pedigree and the five-cylinder unit under the hood of the Audi is a state of the art engine that delivers strong performance and sounds absolutely sweet while at it. 

2021 Mercedes-Benz CLA 45 AMG Acceleration And Braking Performance

The 2.0L turbocharged Inline-4 engine mated to an 8-speed dual-clutch automatic transmission is capable of catapulting the car from 0 to 60 mph in 4 seconds dead and all the way up to an electronically limited top speed of 155 mph. Nonetheless, the top-speed could be extended to 166 mph with the AMG Driver’s Package. Although being front-wheel biased, power could be sent to all the four-wheel via AMG Performance 4MATIC+ all-wheel-drive drivetrain.

2021 Mercedes-Benz AMG CLA 45 Coupe Accelerate 0-60 MPH in 4.0 sec

With regards to the brakes in the car, the 2021 Mercedes-Benz CLA 45 AMG will be equipped with ventilated discs both at the front and the rear.

2021 Mercedes-Benz AMG CLA 45 Coupe Brake Rotor

Models

2021 Mercedes-Benz CLA 45 AMG

2020 BMW M340i xDrive

2020 Audi RS3

2020 Genesis G70 3.3T AWD

0-60 MPH (seconds)

4.0

4.1

3.9

4.8

Quarter Mile (seconds)

12.3

12.3

12.2

13.3

Top Speed (mph)

155 (electronically limited)

166 (with AMG Driver’s Package)

155 (electronically limited)

155 (electronically limited)

174 (optional)

167 mph

60-0 MPH (ft.)

NA

NA

NA

NA

In terms of performance, the competition is very steep in this segment with the CLA 45 AMG competing with other very similar performing sports sedans in the market. BMW M340i is packing a ton of performance as it manages to hit 60 mph in just 4.1 seconds even though it weighs more than the CLA 45 AMG. 

2021 Mercedes-Benz AMG CLA 45 Fuel Economy

8.0/10

Being a performance-oriented version of the normal CLA-Class sedan, fuel economy is not something you would have high hopes on. That being said, it is actually not that bad considering the capability of the car with the car being able to deliver a decent combined mileage of 23 mpg on average.

Model

2021 Mercedes-Benz CLA 45 AMG

2020 BMW M340i xDrive

2020 Audi RS3

2020 Genesis G70 3.3T AWD

MPG (City)

20

22

19

17

MPG (Highway)

29

30

28

25

MPG (Combined)

23

26

23

20

Fuel Capacity (gallons)

13.5

15.6

14.5

15.8

Range (City/Hwy) (miles)

270.0 / 391.5

343/468/405

275.5 / 406.0

268.6 / 395.0

Although somewhat similar in terms of fuel economy, the CLA 45 AMG is definitely the winner here with the most economical mileage figures. Even with a bigger engine, the Bimmer manages to return higher fuel economy figures than the competition. Combined with a big 15.6 gallon fuel tank, the M340i can cover longer distances on one tank of gas.

2021 Mercedes-Benz AMG CLA 45 Interior

9.9/10

Mercedes Benz has been historically known for its premium interiors with an upscale look and feel to it and the CLA 45 AMG is no exception. Just like the 2020 model, the 2021 CLA 45 AMG is also packed with the new interior design language from Mercedes Benz with the long and continuous digital instrument cluster and multimedia display up top.

2021 Mercedes-Benz AMG CLA 45 Coupe Cockpit Area

Both of them have a large 10.25” display for the job with the infotainment display being a touchscreen as well. 

Model

2021 Mercedes-Benz CLA 45 AMG 

2020 BMW M340i xDrive

2020 Audi RS3

2020 Genesis G70 3.3T AWD

Seating Capacity

5

5

5

5

Front Row (Head/Shoulder/Leg) (in)

37.1 / 55.3 / 41.7

38.7 / 56.0 / 42.0

36.5 / 54.8 / 41.2

39.7 / 56.3 / 42.6

Second Row (Head/Shoulder/Leg) (in)

37.1 / 55 / 35.2

37.6 / 54.6 / 35.2

36.1 / 53 / 35.1

36.9 / 54.6 / 34.8

The overall interior quality is classic Mercedes, very upscale and premium and with a host of standard luxury and safety features, the interior of the CLA 45 AMG is a very nice place to be in. The Merc CLA 45 AMG and its competitors are more or less in the same ballpark when it comes to interior dimensions. With that said, the sloping coupe roofline does eat up into the usable headroom. The situation is much better inside the BMW M340i as the cabin feels wider and is a lot more airy than the one in the Mercedes. 

Infotainment system

The 2021 CLA 45 AMG is equipped with the infamous Mercedes-Benz User Experience or the MBUX system from Mercedes. You get a large 10.25” touchscreen display for the infotainment system which could also be controlled by a touchpad controller located in the center console as well.

2021 Mercedes-Benz AMG CLA 45 Coupe Infotainment System

Some of the key features of the infotainment system of the 2021 CLA 45 AMG includes:

  • “Hey, Mercedes” keyword activation
  • Voice Control with Natural Language Understanding
  • Android Auto and Apple CarPlay compatibility
  • Hands-free Bluetooth interface
  • Bluetooth audio streaming
  • Steering wheel touch control buttons

Music is managed by a premium Burmester Surround Sound System with 12-speakers and a 590-watt 9-channel digital amplifier.

2021 Mercedes-Benz AMG CLA 45 Coupe Interior Image
2021 Mercedes-Benz AMG CLA 45 Coupe Interior Image
2021 Mercedes-Benz AMG CLA 45 Coupe Interior Image
2021 Mercedes-Benz AMG CLA 45 Coupe Interior Image
2021 Mercedes-Benz AMG CLA 45 Coupe Interior Image
2021 Mercedes-Benz AMG CLA 45 Coupe Interior Image

2021 Mercedes-Benz AMG CLA 45 Exterior

9.9/10

Being a carryover model, the exterior of the 2021 CLA 45 AMG should remain mostly the same as the 2020 model. Although the looks of a car is a very subjective term, the CLA 45 AMG is overall a very good looking car. It looks quite sharp and sporty which complements its overall sporty characteristics and it definitely has a unique road presence which is hard to match. The sleek headlamps along with a forward-leaning grille and a sleek roofline give the car a modern look to it.

2021 Mercedes-Benz AMG CLA 45 Coupe 

Its most distinctive feature is the coupe look with the practicality of a 4-door sedan.

Model

2021 Mercedes-Benz CLA 45 AMG

2020 BMW M340i xDrive

2020 Audi RS3

2020 Genesis G70 3.3T AWD

Curb Weight (lbs)

3825

3968

3593

3887

Length (inches)

185

185.7

176.3

184.4

Width (inches)

71.3

71.9

70.7

72.8

Height (inches)

56.3

56.7

55.0

55.1

Ground Clearance (inches)

3.5

5.4

NA

5.1

Wheelbase (inches)

111.8

112.2

103.6

111.6

The Merc CLA 45 AMG and its competitors are more or less in the same ballpark when it comes to exterior dimensions. But the Audi RS3 is definitely the smallest one here with the lowest curb weight as well.

2021 Mercedes-Benz AMG CLA 45 Coupe
2021 Mercedes-Benz AMG CLA 45 Coupe
2021 Mercedes-Benz AMG CLA 45 Coupe
2021 Mercedes-Benz AMG CLA 45 Coupe
2021 Mercedes-Benz AMG CLA 45 Coupe
2021 Mercedes-Benz AMG CLA 45 Coupe

2021 Mercedes-Benz AMG CLA 45 Safety

9.9/10

Since the Merc CLA 45 AMG hasn’t been crash-tested by NHTSA yet, we cannot judge the exact safety quotient of the car yet. Nonetheless, with a host of standard and optional safety features at your disposal, the CLA 45 AMG is just as safe as some of the safest cars in the market, if not better.

Some of the key standard safety features of the 2021 CLA 45 AMG includes:

  • Active Brake Assist
  • Attention Assist
  • Blind Spot Assist
  • Crosswind Assist
  • Anti Lock braking system (ABS)
  • Adaptive Braking System
  • 4-wheel Electronic Traction System (4-ETS)

 

2021 Mercedes-Benz AMG CLA 45 Competition

2021 Mercedes-Benz CLA 45 AMG Vs 2020 BMW M340i

With similar power output and performance figures, the BMW M340i is a tough competitor for the Merc. Although the BMW might not be as elegant as the Merc in terms of interior quality, it does make up for it with its driving dynamics and dynamic road manners.

2020 BMW M340i

2021 Mercedes-Benz CLA 45 AMG Vs 2020 Audi RS3

A similar performance sedan as the Merc CLA 45 AMG, the Audi RS3’s smaller footprint makes it the car of choice for doodling around tight city traffic. But performance sedans like the RS3 are meant to be enjoyed on a racetrack and the RS3 does not disappoint in that respect either.

2020 Audi RS3

2021 Mercedes-Benz CLA 45 AMG Vs 2020 Genesis G70

An inexpensive alternative in the performance sedan market, the Genesis G70 is a very interesting car nonetheless. Competing in a segment dominated by the Germans, the Genesis G70 is a car for those who don’t want to spend a fortune owning a sporty performance sedan. Although not as fast as its German rivals, it costs significantly less as well.

2020 Genesis G70

 

2021 Mercedes-Benz AMG CLA 45 Final Verdict

9.1/10

With an attractive exterior, beautifully designed premium interior, and an overall sporty and athletic characteristic, the Merc CLA 45 AMG is a tough car to beat in the performance sedan segment. Although facing some steep competition from other very capable performance sedans out there in the market, the CLA 45 AMG holds its own value proposition with its premium and fancy interior on top of the mind-blowing performance. Hence, unless you have your eyes on the new Aero package for the CLA 45 AMG, there’s no point waiting for the 2021 model and go with the current model instead if you already have the car on your radar.

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