Globally, Mercedes-Benz is known as the maker of everything from Unimog trucks to luxury executive sedans and everything in between. In the U.S., however, Mercedes is known for nothing but big, luxury rear-drive cars and crossovers. That’s why the front-drive 2014 Mercedes-Benz CLA-Class represents a major step in a new direction for the brand. On this week’s episode of Ignition, Motor Trend’s Frank Markus heads to France to see if the new CLA250 can live up to the Mercedes name.
The new Mercedes CLA is the automaker’s latest attempt at winning over younger buyers. Unlike the company’s last attempt, the C230 coupe, Markus points out that the CLA is an honest effort, thanks to its $30,000 price tag, stylish sheetmetal, and luxurious interior.
Markus makes the point that at first glance, the CLA is more Volkswagen than Mercedes because of its front-drive architecture. Based on the European Mercedes A-Class, the front-drive CLA is powered by a 2.0-liter 208-hp and 258 lb-ft turbo-4, mated to a seven-speed dual-clutch gearbox. All-wheel drive will be available later in the 2014 CLA’s production run, as will a high-octane AMG version.
Get more of Markus’ thoughts on the new Mercedes-Benz CLA-Class on Ignition below.