Mercedes CLA45 is a 360hp AMG That Americans Will Get, For a Change

Mercedes CLA45 Front

All pictures from mercedesclaforum.com

With every injustice we suffer as an individual or as people, there comes a point when we must accept reality and recognize what we can change and what we cannot. When we face the facts and know in our hearts that something cannot be changed, we must adapt to the circumstances and rise up above our hardships. I must accept the cold, hard truth that no amount of bitching and complaining will make Americans love hatchbacks, no matter how practical they are or how cool they look. Logically, I know that car manufacturers cannot survive by trying to convince a population to buy something they don’t want, even though the VW Scirocco deserves to be sold here, darn it!

So yes, I did my share of whining when Mercedes announced the 360hp A45 hot hatch in the same breath they admitted that no, silly journalists, Americans won’t be getting it. But remember that fantastic Superbowl commercial with a Satanic Willem Dafoe, introducing the first front-wheel-drive Mercedes has ever sold in the US?

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That car, the CLA, is basically just a sedan version of the A-Class hatchback that the rest of the world enjoys. The sedan is available with multiple engines, but as far as we knew, the US was set to only get the 208hp 2.0L turbo-4. Yesterday, however, Mercedes officially announced the CLA45 AMG is slated for production, and it will be coming stateside. That will make entry to the famed AMG brand much lower than the $60,000 C63 aMG, currently the most reasonable model the high-performance division offers.

Mercedes CLA45 Side

Like the A45, the CLA45 will deploy an all-wheel-drive system to handle the 360 ponies and 332 lb-ft of torque; the engine and tires are mated by a seven-speed dual-clutch transmission only (Mercs with three pedals have been victims to strict MB-USA embargo laws for years). The most obvious difference between the two cars lies in the rear view, which, to put it kindly, looks pretty awful.

Mercedes CLA45 Rear

The CLA itself is just awkward in the rear; the front 2/3 of the car is so clearly designed with a hatch in mind that the finishing touches had to be designed either by committee or a disgruntled employee at 4:59 PM. The taillights still look like they melted halfway through the assembly floor and nobody had time to fix them. The rear diffuser and vents in the AMG version admittedly help break up the sight of the LED tears on the back, so while the design is more busy, the whole effect is much less depressing to look at.

The CLA45 will officially be unveiled to the public at the New York Auto Show next week. Official pricing has not been announced, so don’t believe other news outlets and their speculations.

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About Cameron Rogers

Cameron Rogers is the founder and lead writer at Downshift Autos, the only automotive blog on the Internet*. Born in the back of an AMC Gremlin, Cameron vowed to never let this extraordinarily embarrassing detail define him, so help him God. He drives a GTI but absolutely will not shut up about it if somebody asks. He will not hesitate to let people know that no, they shouldn't get a Porsche 911 when a Morgan 3 Wheeler is so obviously the superior choice. He is obsessed with the seats of a Carrera GT and the steering wheel of a Fisker Karma. He once sat in the driver's seat of a Tesla Model S, his greatest accomplishment to date. He is just now realizing that writing an autobiography, however miniscule, in the third person is odd and unnerving. *As of this writing, Cameron has been informed that there are, in fact, many websites and blogs centered around cars and car culture. He regrets his grievous error.

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