When first looking at Mercedes-Benz’s newest family members, it’s evident that a new target audience was in mind throughout the entire development process. To be brutally honest, Mercedes-Benz has usually been defined as a “Gen X” vehicle. The smoother ride, the more classic body styling; all the way around, the pre-2008 Mercedes-Benz vehicles were never “designed” for the younger audience. In 2008, Mercedes-Benz began to take on a more youthful, refined look beginning in its C-Class.
Now in 2014, Mercedes-Benz is producing vehicles with all-out aggressive styling. At the forefront of this asphalt-eating pack are the CLA and GLA vehicles and classes.
The CLA, having been out for about a year now, is a four door coupé. Before you get all up in arms about the term “four door coupé,” let me explain the term. The vehicle is designed with four doors for convenience purposes. With this car being targeted towards a younger audience, it needs to push the limits of the automotive industry. The deep swooping back mimics that of a traditional coupé, but the vehicle offers the convenience of a four door sedan. Additionally, the trunk offers ample space for large items. If there were no rear doors, the vehicle would still look like a nice car, but adding the rear doors makes it something in its own league.
The GLA, in direct competition with the BMW X1, does all it should do and more. With more standard features than BMW even offers as options, the GLA sits nicely at the head of its class. It sits on the same chassis as the CLA, but offers a totally different experience. Being a small SUV, it doesn’t feel so small on the inside. Between the standard power lift gate that can be adjusted to open to the height you want, and the modern and sleek interior, it doesn’t feel like you’re in a car that starts in the low 30-thousand range. It has a low and wide stance, adding to the aggressive look.
Both vehicles have a standard power plant of a turbo charged inline four cylinder that offers enough pep to make the drive really fun, and fuel efficient. The 7 speed, dual-clutch transmission in these vehicles is the exact same one that is offered in the high end AMG models, such as the SLS AMG and the AMG GT. Both vehicles have similar front ends as well. They look similar to a set of hawk eyes glaring at you for a demeanor that is young, sleek, and ultimately fierce.
Overall, these vehicles are definitely something to check out when looking to purchase your next vehicle. The battle that so many tend to fight of “Mercedes-Benz is too expensive for me” is no longer a relevant argument. With the CLA starting at just under $30,000 and the GLA starting at just over $33,000, these prove to be more realistic options for many more people. If you want to go for a more high-end option, both the CLA and GLA offer an AMG model as well. And don’t kid yourself. If you think these aren’t genuine Mercedes-Benz products because of their price, drive one. All of your expectations will be met and surpassed.
Allen Cardosi, Automotive Contributor
Edited by JRB, Editor-in-Chief