• THE 2018 MERCEDES-BENZCLA250 HAS A GORGEOUSSHAPE AND AN IMPRESSIVEPACKAGE. OASIS LIVINGTOOK IT FOR A SPIN

    In the UAE, there are two things which matter most on the road: engine power and a good-looking car. And when it comes down to it, not many car brands can deliver on both.

    Mercedes-Benz is one of the exceptions. The brand's threepointed star is easily one of the most recognisable logos in the world, having seamlessly associated itself with the terms luxury and power. It's also a well-known fact that purchasing one typically sets one back a hefty amount.

    This isn't exactly the case with the brand's new CLA250 though, a sportcum- luxury coupe that offers a lot of Mercedes-Benz's charm and quality for the price of a non-luxury sedan.

    Oasis Living hit the road with the fourdoor coupe.

    AT FIRST GLANCE

    The car tested out was the top-ofthe- line CLA250 4matic (all-wheel drive) as opposed to the standard FWD (front-wheel drive). The trickedout version, also known as the AMG Line Exterior, brings highlights such as a chrome diamond-block grille, a panorama roof and 18-inch multispoke wheels.

    Despite all the add-ons though, what catches the eye first in any 2018 CLA250 is the frameless four-door coupe sleek style, an audacious look making a number of its competitor’s stylings look a tad conservative in comparison.

    The sedan also shows a fine balance in its size by not being too big to park and not too small to make the driver feel vulnerable among the ever-shifting road traffic of the UAE. In fact, it makes it more fun to weave in and around cars yourself if you're a 'takeover drive'.

    THE LITTLE COUPE THAT CAN

    When it comes to a Mercedes-Benz, one can go on and on about its exterior designs but ultimately, what really matters in a car is not what one can see on the surface but what lies under the hood.

    And under the hood is where you'll find a two-litre turbo charged, four-cylinder engine with a horsepower of 208. The car sends power to the wheels through a seven-speed dual clutch automatic with paddle shifters.

    Upon starting, you immediately feel the pep when you hit the pedal because of the turbo-charged engine but what really pushes the speed is the fact that the CLA250 features one of the lowest drag coefficients in the industry, effectively making it a bullet in the wind as you speed up.

    The car also features four modes which the driver can slide through via clicking the Dynamic Select button on the console. The modes include comfort, sport, individual (tailor-select to your preference), and eco.

    As you switch modes, adjustments are made to the shift points, the throttle response, the steering sensitivity, and the eco start-stop system. For instance, the sport mode leads to an immediate downshift holding the rpms (revolution per minute) at a higher level giving you a much quicker acceleration. Comfort offers familiar driving while eco, while not as fun to drive, is the most fuel-efficient.

    INSIDES MATTER TOO

    In true Mercedes-Benz fashion, a nicely weighted steering sits in front of the dashboard. Neither too light nor too heavy, the steering rests comfortably between the hands and imbues a planted and sure-footed connection to the wheels, setting any driver at ease.

    The brakes are linear and easy to modulate and are primed when the driver lifts their foot of the pedal marking a quicker brake response time and allowing for a safer ride.

    When it comes to the interior design, it’s as elegant as is expected. Comfort is looked after with the 14-way lumbar support available for front-seat passengers along with a memory function setting for up to three drivers.

    Aluminium ringed air vents give off a jet-like feel to the console which is clean of clutter, spacious with its aplenty storage space but the infotainment display seems a tad tacky as it protrudes abruptly off the console. It’s still not a touch screen, asking drivers to operate the system via knob which takes a bit of getting used to in this touch-screen prevalent world.

    As it’s a coupe, passengers in the back are in for a bit of a tight ride. The car can comfortably seat up to five people only if two of the passengers in the back were children. Otherwise, anyone over 5’4” might feel a bit constricted.

    The trunk offers ample space which can be enlarged as the rear seats can be folded to accommodate large luggage if need be.

    The CLA250 also comes equipped with several useful safety features including a standard rear-view camera, a driverattention monitor, and forward collision warning.

    The 2018 Mercedes-Benz CLA250 comes as an impressive car delivering more performance than one expects, and is in an equally impressive package but in spite of being one of the more affordable vehicles under the brand’s range, the price sees a significant hike as extra features like the 12-speaker premium Harman Kardom audio system, the panoramic sunroof, Apple CarPlay and an automated parking system are added on – that calls for a lot of couch cushions to dig through.