Although this week’s road test reviewed the base CLA250, the photo showed the many-thousands-extra CLA45 AMG, a high-performance runner in a small package. Chosen randomly from the entries was the name of Lloyd B. Schnuck, who wrote:
“CLA45’s four-cylinder makes 355 horsepower at 6000 rpm and 332 pound-feet of torque at 2250 rpm. Although dimensionally identical to the CLA250 turbo four, AMG’s M133 engine uses a stronger sand-cast – rather than die-cast – aluminum block.
“There’s also a low-temperature cooling circuit that feeds a water-to-air intercooler. A really fun and fast ride for $50,000 to 55,000.”
Schnuck wins a gift from The Augusta Chronicle. Other readers identifying the vehicle were:
AUGUSTA: Carolyn Ogles described the CLA as Mercedes’ “all-new, entry-level luxury sedan.”
Gary Engen wrote: “I believe the photo is of a 2014 Mercedes-Benz CLA, perhaps the 45 AMG version.”
Also from Augusta, Lowell Fritsche and Craig Kerins.
CANTON, GA.: David Anderson wrote: “ ‘Oh Lord, won’t you buy me a Mercedes-Benz?,’ sang Janis Joplin in 1970 (though it wasn’t released until 1971, posthumously). Mercedes execs must have approved of the song, because as they have used it several times over the years in their advertising.
“I wonder, however whether they decided to change things up, casting Willem Dafoe as the devil trying to get a young guy to sell his soul for the new Mercedes CLA?
“Mercedes has placed the CLA, priced just under $30,000, within the reach of mere mortals without the soul-selling. Well, maybe the bare-bones base model. That’s not to say that that would not be a fine car, but the CLA45 AMG as shown in the teaser shot, goes for nearly $50,000.
“I think that young guy might want to reconsider Willem’s offer, if he wants to opt for the extra 128 horsepower offered by the AMG handcrafted turbo four-cylinder.”
Anderson added that although he has never owned a Mercedes himself, he recalls a couple of stories of people who did:
“The most notable story is when I moved to Atlanta in 1980. I would go out in the afternoons after work with a real estate agent, house hunting. During the nearly three months it took to find something that my family could afford, the agent traded her 1979 Ford Fairmont for a slightly older, but very clean, Mercedes-Benz 220D.
“That car was an automatic that would not idle with the air conditioning running. Neither could it climb even the slightest of hills with the air running. So off went the A/C with every hill, stop sign and red light in the summer heat of Atlanta! I quickly started doing my own research and came up with excuses of why I would just meet her at any location she wanted to show me.
“That Ford may not have projected the successful image she was going for, but at least it had enough power to turn both the wheels and the A/C compressor! Mercedes has certainly come a long way from that one.
“I can also remember being enthralled with a local family as a teenager just before coming of driving age. They had two daughters the same age as my two younger sisters, and the dad would occasionally take them all to school. When it was raining, he would sometimes offer me a ride, too.
“The car was an early ’60s gas-engine Mercedes with a four-speed manual shift on the column. That was definitely a unique car. I do not know if it is the only four-speed column shift, but it is the only one I have ever seen.”
EVANS: Jerry Paul wrote: “This week the car is the gorgeous Mercedes-Benz CLA-Class (could be the 45 AMG).”
MARTINEZ: Jim Muraski wrote: “This week’s vehicle is a 2014 Mercedes Benz CLA45 AMG.”
NORTH AUGUSTA: Ted Wasserlein wrote: “The new cars tend to all look alike, but there is enough here to make me guess that it is a Mercedes-Benz CLA250.”