2018 Mercedes-Benz CLA-Class AMG CLA 45

2018 Mercedes-Benz CLA-Class
2018 Mercedes-Benz CLA-Class


  • Generous list of standard features
  • Potent performance from the AMG CLA 45
  • Athletic handling instills confidence
  • Luxury badging without the premium price


  • Engine and transmission are slow to respond at low speeds
  • Ride can be rather stiff
  • Rear seats are confining
  • Some interior elements aren't up to luxury car standards
Mercedes-Benz CLA-Class years

Which CLA-Class does Edmunds recommend?

The 2018 Mercedes-Benz CLA250 delivers more performance than the typical driver expects, leaving the AMG CLA 45 for the select few who desire much more. The standard features list is already lengthy, but we'd suggest adding the Premium package for some luxurious creature comforts as well as the Multimedia package for the navigation and smartphone integration.

Edmunds' Expert Review

Overall rating

3.5 / 5

The Mercedes-Benz three-pointed star is one of the most recognizable luxury badges in the world. The fact that acquiring one typically sets you back a hefty sum has been well established, but that's not necessarily the case with the 2018 CLA-Class. For about the same price as a non-luxury sedan, you can get a lot of Mercedes charm and quality. And for a lot of shoppers, that could be enough.

If it were the only sedan in its class, we'd be inclined to agree. But there are some similarly priced vehicles out there, and they don't have the same drivability, comfort and space issues that the CLA does. As a result, we suggest checking out those European rivals before signing on the dotted line.

Trim levels & features

The 2018 Mercedes-Benz CLA-Class sedan is offered in CLA250 (208 horsepower, 258 pound-feet of torque) and a higher-performance AMG CLA 45 (375 hp, 350 lb-ft) trims. Both models are powered by a turbocharged 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine paired with a seven-speed, dual-clutch automatic transmission. The standard CLA250 is front-wheel-drive, but all-wheel drive (Mercedes' 4Matic) is available as an option. All-wheel drive is standard with the AMG CLA 45.

Standard feature highlights for the CLA250 models include 17-inch wheels, automatic wipers, selectable drive modes, dual-zone automatic climate control, simulated leather upholstery (MB-Tex), eight-way power front sport seats with memory functions, and 60/40-split folding rear seats with a center pass-through.

On the technology front, you get an 8-inch infotainment screen, Mercedes' COMAND infotainment system, Bluetooth connectivity, a rearview camera, forward collision warning and mitigation, a drowsy driver monitor, the Mbrace emergency telematics, and an audio system with
a CD player, HD radio, two SD card slots and two USB ports.

Upgrading to the AMG CLA 45 adds 19-inch wheels, LED headlights and running lights, unique styling and aerodynamic flourishes, a sport exhaust system, upgraded brakes and transmission, a torque-vectoring differential, a sport steering wheel and simulated suede upholstery inserts.

There are a few main option packages to look out for. These include the Premium package (keyless ignition and entry, a hands-free trunklid, blind-spot monitoring, heated front seats and satellite radio); the Convenience package (auto-dimming mirrors and a universal garage door opener); the Interior package (leather upholstery, upgraded dash and door trim, and interior ambient lighting); the Multimedia package (a navigation system, voice controls, and Apple CarPlay and Android Auto smartphone integration); and the Driver Assistance package (adaptive cruise control and lane departure warning and intervention).

Many AMG-based styling elements are available on the CLA250. Other notable add-ons include an automated parking system, an adjustable suspension, a panoramic sunroof and a 12-speaker premium Harman Kardon audio system.

Trim tested

Each vehicle typically comes in multiple versions that are fundamentally similar. The ratings in this review are based on our full test of the 2014 Mercedes-Benz CLA250 (turbo 2.0L inline-4 | 7-speed dual-clutch automatic | FWD)

Since this test was conducted, the current CLA-Class has received some revisions, including a retuned-suspension, a minor interior and exterior styling update, extendable front-seat thigh supports and a new infotainment screen. Our findings remain broadly applicable to this year's CLA250, however.


With its strong four-cylinder and quick-shifting transmission, the CLA250 offers enough performance to impress owners of the larger C-Class. Unfortunately, that same transmission can be quirky in normal driving.


With its 208-hp four-cylinder and a quick-shifting dual-clutch automatic, the CLA250 gets up to speed effortlessly, especially from 20 mph on. In our testing, the CLA accelerated from zero to 60 mph in a respectably quick 6.4 seconds.


Even in heavy traffic, the CLA's brakes are linear and easy to modulate. We recorded a panic-stop distance of 121 feet from 60 mph, which is an average distance for this class of car.


The CLA250's steering is nicely weighted; it's neither too heavy nor too light. Turn-in is sharp, and there's enough articulation for easy parking. The steering, however, doesn't give you much feel for the road.


The CLA250 has enough poise and control to feel stable on a twisty road or highway off-ramp curve.


The CLA's transmission can be slow to react to your commands, like when making a three-point turn. It also allows rollback, and at times its operation makes it feel like the engine is over-revving.


The CLA250 falls in between the expectations of a sport sedan and a luxury car. This may be the least expensive Mercedes, but it sure doesn't feel entry-level in terms of its suspension capabilities or the cabin's noise suppression.

Seat comfort

The CLA's seats offer nice bolstering, but they have a short cushion that lacks thigh support. Mercedes' MB-Tex faux leather feels exceptional and durable but lacks ventilation. Prepare to feel sticky.

Ride comfort

A mixed bag here. The CLA250 (before the suspension retune) handles potholes and breaks in the pavement with zero drama, but gets jostled by seams in the highway and pulled around by grooved pavement.

Noise & vibration

In true Mercedes fashion, the CLA250 is quiet at all speeds and does an admirable job blocking out the ambient sounds you'll find on the road.


A traditional Mercedes-Benz interior design in that it isn't flashy, but it surprises with its ease of use. Limited rear-seat access and space, plus lackluster visibility, hurt the CLA's score in this category.

Ease of use

The CLA's interior is deceptively simple and remarkably easy to use, with a large infotainment screen, clear gauges and an easy knob- and button-based climate control. The gear-selector stalk is love-it-or-hate-it.

Getting in/getting out

Front-seat access is a nonissue with wide door openings and a reasonably high seat. Rear-seat access is hugely problematic. Because of the sloping roof, there just isn't enough head clearance.


The CLA's interior feels tight. Not unpleasant, but cozy. The rear seats have good legroom but severely lack headroom.


The rearview camera is a near-necessity due to the CLA's poor rear visibility. You can thank that sloping roofline. Driving this car definitely requires proper mirror adjustment.


Meticulous types will be able to find some bits on the CLA that wouldn't make it to the C-Class. But most everything you touch — from steering wheel to stalks, switches, the COMAND controller and the seats — feels like a Mercedes.


Smart interior packaging allows for more storage options than in some rival sedans. The trunk is well shaped with a large opening and benefits from added rear-seat convenience items for larger objects.

Small-item storage

With the shifter relocated to the steering column, the center console is freed up to house more bins and cupholders. There's plenty of them to hold all of your personal effects.

Cargo space

The trunk is decently proportioned, with a large opening and shrouded hinges. Total capacity is 13.1 cubic feet. The standard split and folding rear seats and a center pass-through will help when things get tight.

Consumer reviews

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Features & Specs

23 city / 30 hwy
Seats 5
7-speed automated manual
375 hp @ 6000 rpm
See all 2018 Mercedes-Benz CLA-Class AMG CLA 45 features & specs


Our experts’ favorite CLA-Class safety features:

Active Brake Assist
Warns of an impending front collision and applies the brakes if the driver doesn't react.
Blind Spot Assist
Displays a warning triangle in the mirror if a car is in your blind spot and beeps if you activate a turn signal.
Attention Assist
Uses many sensors and other data to tell if a driver is getting fatigued and suggests a rest stop.

2018 Mercedes-Benz CLA-Class AMG CLA 45 for Sale

Mercedes-Benz CLA-Class 2018 CLA 250 4MATIC 4dr Sedan AWD (2.0L 4cyl Turbo 7AM)
6,230 miles
Used 2018
Mercedes-Benz CLA-Class
Est.Loan: $533/mo
Great Deal!Great Deal!
View Details
Mercedes-Benz CLA-Class 2018 CLA 250 4MATIC 4dr Sedan AWD (2.0L 4cyl Turbo 7AM)
5,430 miles
Used 2018
Mercedes-Benz CLA-Class
Est.Loan: $612/mo
Good Deal!Good Deal!
View Details
Mercedes-Benz CLA-Class 2018 CLA 250 4MATIC 4dr Sedan AWD (2.0L 4cyl Turbo 7AM)
9,152 miles
Used 2018
Mercedes-Benz CLA-Class
Est.Loan: $635/mo
View Details
Dealer Notes
ONE OWNER, BACKUP CAM, BLUETOOTH, HEATED SEATS, LEATHER, PANORAMIC ROOF, CLA 250 4MATIC�, 4D Sedan, 2.0L I4 Turbocharged, 7-Speed Double-clutch, 4MATIC�, Mountain Gray Metallic, Black w/MB-Tex Leatherette Seat Trim. Mountain Gray Metallic 2018 Mercedes-Benz CLA CLA 250 4MATIC� 4MATIC� 7-Speed Double-clutch 2.0L I4 Turbocharged See more photos of this vehicle at www.battlefieldford.com. Recent Arrival! 32/24 Highway/City MPG We accept all trade in's no matter what the year or what the payoff is. Plus we can handle all your financing needs from first time buyer, to re-establishing credit and pre-approvals or instant approvals. We use all banks and most credit unions, so this will be your last stop to get your pre-owned VA inspected used car here at Battlefield Ford. We are not responsible for typographical errors, misprints on prices, or equipment. Call 703-368-3184 and ask for a Sales Manager to set your appointment today!

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More about the 2018 Mercedes-Benz CLA-Class

If you've been pining for a Mercedes-Benz with the same longing as Janis Joplin, the 2018 CLA-Class may be your easiest way to get your fix. It costs about the same as a nicely equipped family sedan and delivers a decent amount of refinement. Understandably, it's not quite as nice as other Mercedes vehicles, partially because those models have received the latest interior treatments and features, but buyers should be satisfied for the price.

Standard feature highlights for the 2018 Mercedes-Benz CLA250 include 17-inch wheels, selectable drive modes, dual-zone automatic climate control, MB-Tex simulated leather upholstery, an 8-inch infotainment screen, Mercedes' COMAND infotainment system, a rearview camera, forward collision warning and mitigation, a drowsy driver monitor and the Mbrace emergency telematics. The AMG CLA 45 adds a more powerful engine, all-wheel drive, 19-inch wheels, LED headlights, unique styling and aerodynamic flourishes, a sport exhaust system, upgraded brakes and transmission, a torque-vectoring differential, a sport steering wheel and faux suede upholstery elements.

Mercedes offers most of the CLA's optional features in packages. Key features to consider include keyless entry and ignition, blind-spot monitoring, heated front-seat leather upholstery, a navigation system, smartphone integration, adaptive cruise control and lane keeping assist.

Among other entry-level luxury sedans, the CLA250 comes in second behind our class favorite, the Audi A3, which is similarly priced but quite a bit nicer to drive. The Mercedes gets a slight edge for price and feature content over the stalwart BMW 3 Series, but the advantages for performance and refinement may be well worth the added outlay. Check out the competition and all of Edmunds' resources to get the right fit for your tastes and budget.

2018 Mercedes-Benz CLA-Class AMG CLA 45 Overview

What do people think of the 2018 Mercedes-Benz CLA-Class AMG CLA 45?

Consumer ratings and reviews are also available for the 2018 Mercedes-Benz CLA-Class AMG CLA 45 and all its trim types. 0 Edmunds consumer reviews allow users to sift through aggregated consumer reviews to understand what other drivers are saying about any vehicle in our database. Detailed rating breakdowns (including performance, comfort, value, interior, exterior design, build quality, and reliability) are available as well to provide shoppers with a comprehensive understanding of why customers like the 2018 CLA-Class AMG CLA 45.

Edmunds Expert Reviews

Edmunds experts have compiled a robust series of ratings and reviews for the 2018 Mercedes-Benz CLA-Class AMG CLA 45 and all model years in our database. Our rich analysis includes expert reviews and recommendations for the 2018 CLA-Class AMG CLA 45 featuring deep dives into trim levels and features, performance, mpg, safety, interior, and driving. Edmunds also offers expert ratings, road test and performance data, long-term road tests, first-drive reviews, video reviews and more.

Read our full review of the 2018 Mercedes-Benz CLA-Class AMG CLA 45 here.
Our Review Process

This review was written by a member of Edmunds' editorial team of expert car reviewers. Our team drives every car you can buy. We put the vehicles through rigorous testing, evaluating how they drive and comparing them in detail to their competitors.

We're also regular people like you, so we pay attention to all the different ways people use their cars every day. We want to know if there's enough room for our families and our weekend gear and whether or not our favorite drink fits in the cupholder. Our editors want to help you make the best decision on a car that fits your life.

What's a good price for a New 2018 Mercedes-Benz CLA-Class AMG CLA 45?

Shop with Edmunds for perks and special offers on new cars, trucks, and SUVs near Ashburn, VA. Doing so could save you hundreds or thousands of dollars. Edmunds also provides consumer-driven dealership sales and service reviews to help you make informed decisions about what cars to buy and where to buy them.

Which 2018 Mercedes-Benz CLA-Class AMG CLA 45s are available in my area?

2018 Mercedes-Benz CLA-Class AMG CLA 45 Listings and Inventory

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Why trust Edmunds?

Edmunds has deep data on over 6 million new, used, and certified pre-owned vehicles, including all models of the 2018 Mercedes-Benz CLA-Class AMG CLA 45 and all available trim types. Rich, trim-level features & specs and options data tracked for the 2018 Mercedes-Benz CLA-Class AMG CLA 45 include (but are not limited to): MSRP, available incentives and deals, average price paid, warranty information (basic, drivetrain, and maintenance), features (interior and exterior color, upholstery, bluetooth, navigation, cruise control, parking assistance, lane sensing, keyless ignition, satellite radio, folding rears seats,run flat tires, wheel type, tire size, sunroof, etc.), vehicle specifications (engine cylinder count, drivetrain, engine power, torque, engine displacement, transmission), fuel economy and MPG (city, highway, and combined, fuel capacity, range), vehicle dimensions (interior cabin space, vehicle length and width, seating capacity, cargo space). Edmunds also provides tools to allow shopper to compare vehicles to similar models of their choosing by warranty, interior features, exterior features, specifications, vehicle dimensions, consumer rating, edmunds expert review, safety rating, and color.

Should I lease or buy a 2018 Mercedes-Benz CLA-Class?

Is it better to lease or buy a car? Ask most people and they'll probably tell you that car buying is the way to go. And from a financial perspective, it's true, provided you're willing to make higher monthly payments, pay off the loan in full and keep the car for a few years. Leasing, on the other hand, can be a less expensive option on a month-to-month basis. It's also good if you're someone who likes to drive a new car every three years or so.

Check out Mercedes-Benz lease specials
Check out Mercedes-Benz CLA-Class lease specials