2024 Mercedes-AMG CLA 35 4MATIC: Posh Pace For A Price

Mike Schlee
by Mike Schlee
Mature tastes want a bit of comfort and luxury along with performance. Image Credit: Mike Schlee

Growing up can be hard to do. With greater age comes greater responsibilities and a shuffling of priorities. Drawbacks, annoyances, and/or compromises that were once acceptable during one’s youth may no longer be the case. Take singular-purpose vehicles for example.


Cars that put performance above all else, like the Honda Civic Type R, Hyundai Elantra N, and Toyota GR Corolla, just don’t cut it anymore. Mature tastes want a bit of comfort and luxury along with performance. Thankfully, vehicles like the Mercedes-AMG CLA 35 4MATIC exist.

Quick Take

For those that crave luxury and comfort along with performance, there are vehicles like the 2024 Mercedes-AMG CLA 35 4MATIC. With a baby ‘Benz interior, adjustable suspension, and 302 horsepower engine, the CLA 35 is a sophisticated hot hatch sedan.


Interior space does come at a premium, especially for rear seat passengers, and there is a price premium to pay. But, for the 2024 model year the CLA gets a mild refresh, and did we mention the all-wheel drive compact can run from 0 to 60 mph in well under five seconds?


What’s New for 2024: Minor Refresh

The CLA Coupe has been Mercedes' entry-level sedan for quite some time. Although the brand refers to it as a coupe, it’s really a four-door car with a sleek profile.


For the 2024 model year, the CLA-Class receives a minor refresh that includes updates to the front and rear design, notably the headlights and taillights. A 10.25-inch infotainment system is now standard running the latest generation MBUX software.

The CLA 35 gets an AMG-specific radiator grille, standard performance steering wheel, as well as belt-driven starter-generator and 48-volt electrical system.

Exterior Style: Pricey Paint Completes a Stylish Look

At a length of 184.8-inches (2,729 mm) long, the CLA is larger than a BMW 2 Series Gran Coupe and slightly smaller than the Acura Integra. Even with the refresh, the 2024 Mercedes-AMG CLA 35 is still very recognizable. The small four-door features a roofline that blends into both the hood and trunk. Our tester came with the optional 19-inch AMG twin-spoke black wheels that have a thick band around the outside diameter.


The CLA seen on these pages also includes the Patagonia red exterior paint that adds an eye-opening $1,750 ($2,275 CAD) to the price tag. Granted, it’s quite a nice-looking finish, especially in person.


Another extra added to the CLA 35 we drove is the AMG Night Package, which we’re quite a fan of. It adds black trim to places like the front splitter, grille trim, air intakes, mirror covers, tailpipe trim, window surrounds, and more.


The 2.0-liter turbocharged four-cylinder engine provides motivation. Image Credit: Mike Schlee

Powertrain and Fuel Economy:

All versions of the 2024 Mercedes-Benz CLA come powered by a 2.0-liter turbocharged four-cylinder engine. The power levels differ quite a bit though. While the pedestrian CLA 250 makes 221 hp, the CLA 35 produces an impressive 302 hp and 295 lb-ft. of torque. But it’s the CLA 45 where things go bananas with the 2.0-liter cranking out 416 hp.


Even with just 302 hp, the CLA 35 4Matic is swift in acceleration, going from 0 to 60 mph in a conservatively claimed 4.8 seconds. Power is sent to a front-bias AMG performance all-wheel drive system through an eight-speed dual clutch automated transmission.


With various drive modes, the most aggressive Sport+ mode delivers quick, crisp upshifts and well blipped downshifts. The little engine makes a hearty growl under acceleration and is eager to propel the CLA forward. It’s the right balance of tone and volume to let drivers know this is a sporty sedan without becoming tiresome.


Another plus is fuel economy, rated at a respectable 22 mpg (10.8 L/100 km) in the city and 29 mpg (8.0 L/100 km) on the highway.

A familiar cockpit. Image Credit: Mike Schlee

Handling and Drivability:

As a sport-based model, the CLA 35 comes with an adjustable AMG Sport suspension. Combined with the optional 245/35R19 tires, the suspension keeps the 3,505-pound (1,650 kg) 2024 Mercedes-AMG CLA 35 quite flat through twisting switchbacks, especially in Sport+ mode. The various drive modes can be quickly selected/changed via two steering wheel button-dial combinations.


The downside to the car’s handling prowess is a suspension that remains decidedly on the firm side, even in the softest setting. If ride comfort is an absolute necessity, it might be worth looking at the subdued CLA 250 instead.

Competitors

  • Acura Integra Type S
  • Audi S3
  • BMW M235i xDrive Gran Coupe

Ride Quality and Comfort:


Aside from a firm ride, the rest of the CLA 35’s driving experience is what one would expect from a Mercedes-Benz – even a smaller one. Road and wind noise are kept to a minimum while the steering and braking are well weighted with a smooth delivery.

Both front seats are powered and heated, offering 38.5-inches (1,023 mm) of headroom and 41.8-inches (1,062 mm) of legroom. Our six-foot tall tester fit inside without issue, but taller drivers may run out of cranial capacity. The rear seat is the domain of smaller humans though, with a scant 35.7-inches (908 mm) of headroom and 33.9-inches (861 mm) of legroom. For reference, most folks in their teenage years or later may find it tight back there.

The CLA has 20 inches of screens. Image Credit: Mike Schlee

Interior Style and Quality:


Although a bit cramped, the CLA is not short on luxury. Mercedes-Benz has done a good job scaling down a similar interior as the C-Class to fit in the CLA. The air vents, door trim, customizable ambient lighting, and center console all feel premium compared to a regular compact car.


Adding to the premium feel are features like a panoramic sunroof and the optional Exclusive trim, that adds LED intelligent headlights, illuminated door sills, augmented video navigation, and more.

Mercedes’ latest MBUX software. It also includes wireless Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. Image Credit: Mike Schlee

Tech and Safety:


As mentioned earlier, the 2024 CLA 35 now comes with a standard 10.25-inch driver information center and a 10.25-inch infotainment system running Mercedes’ latest MBUX software. It also includes wireless Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, pumping sweet sounds through a Burmester surround sound system.


As should be wholly expected in a 2024 model year luxury car, there is a driver assistance package that adds all the active safety equipment expected, like forward collision mitigation, blind spot assist, active lane keeping, evasive steering assist, and much more.

The rear seat is great for kids. Image Credit: Mike Schlee

Value Dollars and Sense:


With a starting price of $56,100 including destination charges, the 2024 Mercedes-AMG CLA 35 4MATIC starts a good bit higher than a BMW M235i xDrive Gran Coupe or Acura Integra Type S. With an as tested price of $63,550 (once again including destination charges), the gap continues to grow.


In Canada, pricing starts at $60,800 before destination charges, and arrives as tested at $69,305.

Entry level luxury at its finest. Image Credit: Mike Schlee

Final Thoughts:


While many luxury manufacturers ignore the small sedan segment, Mercedes-Benz offers not one, but three distinct options in the class. Although it does cost a premium, the AMG CLA 35 4MATIC is the sweet spot of the model’s lineup. More entertaining than the CLA 250, it’s also not as manic as the AMG CLA 45 4MATIC.


The 2024 Mercedes-AMG CLA 35 4MATIC offers that goldilocks middled ground, with hot-hatch performance, luxury car finishings, and premium comfort for front-seat passengers.


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Category

Mercedes-AMG CLA 35 4MATIC

Powertrain

8 /10

Efficiency

8 /10

Handling and Drivability

8 /10

Passenger Comfort

7 /10

Ride Quality

3 /5

Exterior Style

4 /5

Interior Style and Quality

9 /10

Infotainment

8 /10

Cargo Capacity and Towing

3 /5

Safety

5 /5

Value

6 /10

Emotional Appeal

8 /10

TOTAL

77 /100

Pros

Cons

Punchy Engine

Small Rear Seat

Premium Interior Feel

A Bit Pricey

Decent Fuel Economy

Rides a Bit Rough

FAQs

  • Q: How much is the 2024 Mercedes AMG CLA 35?
  • A: Pricing starts at $56,100 in the United States, or $63,550 in Canada
  • Q: Is CLA35 a real AMG?
  • A: Yes. Although there are two AMGs, the CLA 35 is the less intense version of the car, but it is still an AMG.
  • Q: Is CLA35 AMG fast?
  • A: That depends on perspective, but with a 0 to 60 mph time of less than five seconds, we would say it’s pretty quick.

Engine/Motor

2.0-liter turbo four-cylinder

Output:

302 hp, 295 lb-ft.

Drivetrain:

AWD

Transmission:

8DCT

Fuel Economy (mpg)

22 city, 29 highway

Fuel Economy (L/100 km)

10.8 city, 8.0 highway

0-60 mph

4.8 seconds

Starting Price USA

$56,100 (incl dest)

Starting Price Canada

$60,800 (not incl dest)

As Tested Price USA

$63,550 (incl dest)

As Tested Price Canada

$69,305 (not incl dest)

Mike Schlee
Mike Schlee

A 20+ year industry veteran, Mike rejoins the AutoGuide team as the Managing Editor. He started his career at a young age working at dealerships, car rentals, and used car advertisers. He then found his true passion, automotive writing. After contributing to multiple websites for several years, he spent the next six years working at the head office of an automotive OEM, before returning back to the field he loves. He is a member of the Automobile Journalists Association of Canada (AJAC), and Midwest Automotive Media Association (MAMA). He's the recipient of a feature writing of the year award and multiple video of the year awards.

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