This car is great to drive and brings a smile to my face every time I start it up. Yes, the ride is firm and with 355 hp you need to feel that. But, driving on the autobahn at 140mph you have no issues taking turns.
Happiness is AMG. Love this car. Never had an AMG before, so can't compare it to other AMG's. Had a BMW M3 (sweet car) and this is better. (RWD super cars are undriveable in snow. Unless you get high-performance snow tires--then they are tanks...except that one time when you hit throttle on a wintry turn, rear wheels slide out, plant themselves into a curb and the axle breaks). But Mercedes has 4matic (which is a technical term 4magic; or "hand of God" if you don't believe in magic). The CLA45 has 4matic, 4 doors, 355hp and 332 lb ft. Torque.
This car's engine represents exceptional technology. The sound is quite different from the V-8 AMG CLK55 I had before. Not as deep. This one definitely lets you know it's a turbo....get on boost and it's amazing. No appreciable turbo lag! I wanted AMG performance with 4Matic in an efficient package....I am not disappointed. Brakes, suspension and handling are also exceptional. Took about 7 months after I ordered it for the car to arrive....worth the wait.
This car is flat-out amazing. Everything I'd wanted and hoped this car to be was present. In spades. First, however, is "the ache" for "what you want..." I'd characterize this as "the mainstream model...just not being enough." So, among segment players, that'd be Audi A4, BMW 328i/x, Mercedes C250 or C300; Volvo S60. I'd also include the "next step up," e.g. base A6, BMW 5 series, Mercedes E350; (maybe Volvo S80 re: size). The characteristic lacking is they feel under-powered. And so, for those who feel similarly, the car gods created the Audi S4/ S6; or 3.0 A6. There's BMW 335's/535's, and (was only C350..2 door in 4matic in US).... The gap and emptiness in the heart filled to over-flowing is "all the functionality" of the base series above, but with >300hp (in smaller car); 4 doors, AWD, space--and just performance, driving dynamics, exhiliration. The AMG CLA45 just rules. -- Power for price point: WoW. Its beyond BMW 335; instead in range of M3. And its a Mercedes. They give you free day AMG racing academy if you buy one new; but its worth the 1K in education and perspective out-of-pocket. If you're like the "rest of the world," and "just happen to not be cross-shopping other AMG's" and be disappointed it doesn't sound like a V8/V12 gas guzzler's of old...don't be. CLA45 is right in the middle of the pack with the other AMG's. Still can't believe how hard they had us drive the whole fleet of AMG's. Didn't know you could drive cars that hard. Would never drive my own that hard---but nice to know you could!