Although it's incredibly hard to believe that a Mercedes that looks as good as the new 2014 Mercedes-Benz CLA 250 starts under $30,000, there's more to this front-drive Benz than the price. Motor Trend's Frank Markus recently had a chance to drive the new CLA in France and put it through its paces for the latest installment of Ignition on the Motor Trend YouTube channel.
The CLA is arguably the best-looking car in the brand's current lineup, with its curvy body and pillarless windows. The interior doesn't scream Mercedes like the exterior, but it does borrow some styling cues such as the gauges and air vents.
Of course when you start piling on the options, the CLA 250 can easily get as high at $38,000, so it's not exactly as cheap as advertised if you want some bells and whistles to go with it. But the powertrain looks to be worth the money. The CLA's turbocharged 2.0-liter 16-valve I-4 with 208 hp and 258 lb-ft of torque mated to Benz's seven-speed twin-clutch transmission should prove plenty capable. In addition, an all-wheel-drive version and the CLA 45 AMG are on the way soon for folks looking for more power and handling prowess.
Comparisons are made to the C-sport coupe, which according to the video was a flop (that one I disagree with as I own and drive a C-Coupe, but I do realize it didn't exactly sell well). Other than the minimal rear passenger head room and lack of driver feel typical of a front-drive car, it's hard to ask much more from the CLA, especially at its starting price.