The visual modifications can best be described as subtle. Eagle-eyed observers will notice the 2017 CLA looks different from the 2016 model because it gains a redesigned front bumper that can be accented with either silver, black, or chrome trim, and a discreetly re-shaped rear bumper. New paint colors and additional alloy wheel designs further help set the 2017 CLA from the one currently sitting in showrooms. Equally minor, the interior updates are largely limited to a new instrument cluster that’s easier to read thanks to red needles, new seat covers, and chrome-plated controls.
Designed for performance junkies, the range-topping CLA45 is fitted with black C-shaped trim around the air vents, a rear diffuser with four fins, and a more aerodynamic trunk spoiler. Buyers who want an even more aggressive look can order the optional AMG Aerodynamics package, which adds a bigger front splitter, winglets on the front bumper, an AMG spoiler, and black accents on the rear bumper.
The list of standard equipment has been expanded with features such as a rear-view camera, active brake assist, which helps prevent collisions, and Mercedes’ Dynamic Select technology, which lets the driver choose the driving mode that best suits his or her mood. The list of options has grown to include smartphone integration (including Apple CarPlay and Android Auto compatibility) and LED headlights.
Mercedes hasn’t made any major mechanical modifications to the CLA. Offered with front- or all-wheel drive, the CLA 250 is powered by a 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine that makes 208 horsepower at 5,500 rpm and 258 pound-feet of torque from 1,200 to 4,000 rpm. Front-wheel drive models hit 60 mph from a stop in 6.9 seconds, while selecting Mercedes’ weather-beating 4Matic all-wheel drive system yields a zero-to-60 time of 6.8 seconds.
The CLA45 carries on with a hand-built 2.0-liter turbo four that pumps out 375 horsepower at 6,000 rpm and 350 pound-feet of torque from 2,250 to 5,000 rpm. The sprint to 60 mph takes an impressive 4.1 seconds, and top speed checks in at 155 mph. The CLA45 comes exclusively with four-wheel drive, and all three CLA variants ship with a seven-speed dual-clutch automatic transmission.
The 2017 Mercedes-Benz CLA — and the hot-rodded Mercedes-AMG model — will be presented to the public in a little over a week at the New York Auto Show, and they’re scheduled to go on sale nationwide in the third quarter of this year. Pricing information won’t be published until closer to the car’s on-sale date. Sadly, the Shooting Brake model pictured in our gallery still hasn’t been earmarked for the United States market.