Luxurious and practical

Izah Azahari

Following the unveiling of the new Mercedes-Benz A-Class Sedan and CLA Coupe earlier this month, Jati Transport Sdn Bhd invited the media for a short drive around the Beribi area straight to the Pengiran Muda Al-Muhtadee Billah Highway and back to the Mercedes-Benz Autohaus to get a feel of the new A-Class Sedan and CLA Coupe.

Staying true to its sporty and emotive beauty, the first car we tried out was the ever sleek-looking CLA Coupe and, upon driving it, one can instantly feel the car’s lightness and manoeuvrability.

While it has a 1.3 litre engine cylinder, the CLA Coupe is aided with turbo power that can produce up to 163 horsepower at 5,500 rpm and 250 Nm at 1,620 rpm while accelerating from zero to 100 km/hr in 8.1 seconds with a maximum speed of 230 km/hr.

Drivers have the option of choosing from three driving modes – Normal, Eco or Sport – and in the case of the test-drive, we tried out the Normal and Sport modes of the CLA Coupe, where we found the Sport mode to be a more favourable drive.

In terms of driving dynamics, the new CLA keeps the promise of its design with a wide track and lower-centre of gravity that highlights its two key features, giving it the sportiest driving characteristics of all models in the new generation of compacts.

The Mercedes-Benz CLA Coupe. PHOTOS: IZAH AZAHARI
ABOVE & BELOW: A representative from Jati Transport Sdn Bhd explaining the functions of the MBUX within the A Class Sedan; and the Mercedes-Benz A-Class Sedan

The bumps on the road of the highway leading back to the Mercedes-Benz Autohaus were not as tedious due to the car’s decoupled multi-link axle at the rear for reduced noise and vibration, Direct-Steer system as standard and hydromounts at the front, a stabiliser bar with a larger diameter to reduce body roll, as well as ESP® that has been specifically adapted to the CLA’s potentially high cornering speeds and handling performance.

Upon returning to the Mercedes-Benz Autohaus, we immediately changed cars and tested out the A-Class Sedan. Unlike the CLA Coupe, the A-Class Sedan has a slightly heavier drive which is good for drivers who prefer a more solid feel.

Again, we tried out both the Normal and Sport modes for the A-Class Sedan. This magnificent car works on 188 hp at 5,800 rpm.

The new A-Class Sedan offers great utility, which includes above-average shoulder, elbow and headroom plus easy access to the rear, and is at the top of its segment with regard to rear headroom with 944mm.

The best and most crucial part of the A-Class Sedan is the low fuel consumption in real-life conditions, which comes from the good aerodynamic properties of the car.

The new A-Class Sedan has the lowest aerodynamic drag of all production vehicles worldwide as a host of details were optimised with numerous computation loops, CAE simulations and measurements in the wind tunnel in Sindelfingen to make this happen.

Both the A-Class Sedan and CLA Coupe are equipped with the Mercedes-Benz User Experience infotainment system with touchscreen (MBUX), which would give you hands-free access to the car’s systems through simply saying “Hey Mercedes” to start it up without the hassle of fidgeting through dials and buttons.

There’s also the 64 colours of the optional ambient lighting to look forward to in both the A-Class Sedan and CLA Coupe that would fit the driver’s or passengers’ mood, making it five times as many colours available than before.

And it is not just the variety that has increased, but the emotive presentation also sets standards in this segment as the different colours are composed into ten colour worlds to allow an avant-garde lighting display with spectacular colour changes which would make night-time driving even more interesting.

As a driver, the highlight of both the A-Class Sedan and CLA Coupe for me would have to be the Active Lane Keeping Assist that would warn the driver of any nearby vehicles by pulsed vibrations in the steering wheel when the vehicle is unintentionally drifting out of its lane at speeds between 60 and 200 km/h, as well as the PRE-SAFE® Plus that can recognise an imminent rear-end collision.

There’s also the Blind Spot Assist that would be a big help for drivers to spot other cars, pedestrians or cyclists as it uses radar technology to monitor areas directly alongside and behind the car through a red warning signal that would illuminate in the glass of the exterior side mirrors, with a warning signal sound to go along with it as well.

Most importantly, the A-Class Sedan and CLA Coupe are not just pretty looking luxury cars, but are also practical cars for daily use on the Brunei roads making them a worthy investment.