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Turnkey racecar: The Mercedes-Benz CLA 45 AMG Racing Series

There was a time when, if you wanted a Mercedes-Benz factory-built racecar, you’d have to drop some Herculean dough for an SLS AMG GT3. And if you had the coffers broad enough to do so, our hats go off to you.

For those of us not as rich as a Romney, there were essentially few choices for factory racecars that had both impressive performance and a brand name worth bragging about. That is, until now.

Mercedes-Benz, on the heels of the release of the all-new CLA 250 and CLA 45 AMG, has developed an all-new, entry-level racecar called the CLA 45 AMG Racing Series. And we think it’s the best thing since sliced brot.

As you can clearly tell, the body of the four-door coupe has been heavily modified to be both slippery in the air and sticky on the ground. AMG designers gave the CLA Racing Series flared carbon fiber wings and new front and rear aprons for improved downforce as well as side sill panels with air intakes just ahead of the rear wheels. The extra air intakes feed cool air to the high-performance ventilated discs at all four corners bolted just behind the cross-spoke AMG light-alloy wheels.

Under the hood, Mercedes includes the 2.0-liter turbocharged four-cylinder engine that, in the road-going CLA 45 AMG, makes 350 horsepower. Although the automaker doesn’t specify exact engine power output specs for the Racing Series model, as it leaves that up to customer preference, we can safely assume it’s well in excess of the 350 ponies, as racecars require a bit more juice. Just like engine power potential, Mercedes also allows the customer to specify front- or all-wheel drive.

On the interior, the focus was placed on safety and lightness. The driver sits in a Recaro carbon-fibre P 1300 GT racing bucket seat complete with HANS system (Head and Neck Support). Designers also included an integrated fire extinguishing system and high-strength steel roll cage. Steering wheel-mounted paddles control precise shifting of the AMG SPEEDSHIFT DCT seven-speed sports transmission.

We love that Mercedes has taken a lot of the daunting decision making out of racing. Without a turnkey four-cylinder racecar on the market, would-be racers would have to scrounge and build their own car. With the CLA 45 AMG Racing Series, customers only need to plunk down the cash for the car and show up for qualifying at a trophy series. How cool is that?

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Nick Jaynes
Former Digital Trends Contributor
Nick Jaynes is the Automotive Editor for Digital Trends. He developed a passion for writing about cars working his way…
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