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2017 Mercedes-Benz CLA-Class: First Look

img 2081331120 1458065689812 jpg 2017 Mercedes-Benz CLA-Class | Manufacturer image

Competes with: Audi A3/S3, Acura ILX, Volkswagen CC

Looks like: The CLA-Class’ new features are more significant than its new styling

Drivetrain: 208-horsepower, turbocharged 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine (CLA250) or 375-hp, turbocharged 2.0-liter four-cylinder (CLA45 AMG) with a seven-speed dual-clutch transmission; front- or all-wheel drive

Hits dealerships: Summer 2016

CARS.COM — The four-door CLA-Class is Mercedes-Benz’s smallest, most affordable car, and the German luxury brand is using the 2016 New York International Auto Show to show off the midcycle updates it’s made to the 2017 CLA250 and CLA45 AMG, both of which hit dealerships this summer. Changes include revised styling, additional standard features and new technology options.

Related: More 2016 New York Auto Show Coverage

Exterior

The 2017 CLA-Class’ new exterior styling cues don’t dramatically change the car’s appearance. A new front bumper design with a pinched center section emphasizes the mesh trim under the headlights, while the exhaust tips are now better incorporated within the rear bumper. Lunar Blue metallic paint is now available, and Mercedes has updated the available wheel styles.

Options include LED headlights and variable-intensity taillights, which are designed to make the brake and turn-signal lights less overwhelming at night. An automatic-opening trunk lid, which is activated by swiping your foot under the rear bumper, is also optional.

Interior

Changes to the cabin include a new 8-inch dashboard screen, new upholstery choices, new gauges, and a new silver finish for some buttons and switches. The overall design theme of the interior, however, is unchanged.

A backup camera is now standard, and the optional Smartphone Integration Package brings Apple CarPlay and Android Auto smartphone mirroring to the CLA-Class. Other available features include an automated parking system, a panoramic sunroof and a Harman Kardon stereo.

Under the Hood

The CLA250’s drivetrain is unchanged; it’s powered by a 208-horsepower, turbocharged 2.0-liter four-cylinder that works with a seven-speed dual-clutch transmission. Offered with front- or all-wheel drive, Mercedes says the CLA250 can accelerate from zero to 60 mph in about 7 seconds.

The CLA45 AMG’s turbocharged 2.0-liter four-cylinder is rated at 375 hp. It also works with a seven-speed dual-clutch transmission but is only available with all-wheel drive. The CLA45 AMG is significantly quicker than the base CLA250; Mercedes says it can hit 60 mph in 4.1 seconds. The AMG Dynamic Plus Package adds a limited-slip front differential, AMG Ride Control with adaptive damping and a Race mode.

Mercedes’ Dynamic Select system, which tailors the response of the engine, transmission and steering, is standard.

Safety

Automatic emergency braking is standard while a blind spot warning system is available.

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Mike Hanley has more than 20 years of experience reporting on the auto industry. His primary focus is new vehicles, and he's currently a Senior Road Test Editor overseeing expert car reviews and comparison tests. He previously managed Editorial content in the Cars.com Research section. Email Mike Hanley

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