The 2020 Mercedes-AMG CLA 45 S Is a Compact 416-HP Drift Monster

Mercedes-AMG has been teasing a new generation of its entry-level CLA 45 for what seems like forever. The company showed off the car’s engine, the 416-horsepower M139 2.0-liter inline-four, a month back. Now, we finally get to see the rest of the car in full.

The main attraction here is the engine. We’ve gone in-depth with Mercedes’s new M139 powerplant before, but here’s what you need to know. The engine sports a single twin-scroll turbocharger with roller bearings for the compressor and the turbine, allowing for less friction, more response, and a higher maximum RPM. The cylinder linings are coated in a patented material called Nanoslide, which creattes a mirror-like surface that’s twice as hard as cast-iron liners. In addition to the standard direct-injection fuel system, there’s an additional set of injectors in the intake manifold to create even more power.

The standard CLA45 makes 382 horsepower and 354 lb-ft of torque, while the CLA 45 S model makes 416 horsepower and 369 lb-ft. The 0-62 mph sprint happens in 4.1 seconds for the base car, and 4.0 seconds flat for the S. Top speed is limited to 155 mph for the base car, and 168 mph for the S. Buyers of the base car can option the AMG Driver’s Package, which raises top speed to 168 mph.

Getting power to the wheels is an eight-speed dual-clutch transmission connected an all-new 4Matic+ all-wheel drive system with a new electronically controlled rear differential. There are two multi-disc clutches for either axle, allowing the system to control power distribution independently. Launch control is standard, while AMG’s drift mode, which first appeared on the E63 sedan, is optional. A digital gauge cluster, six driving modes, and a two-mode exhaust are also standard. Passive dampers are standard, but a three-mode adaptive units are optional.

Currently, Mercedes has only announced that the base CLA 45 is coming to the US, though we suspect the more-powerful S variant will arrive in the not-too-distant future. For those curious about the CLA’s hatchback cousin, the A 45, that car is a Europe-only affair, just as before. Though, an A 45 sedan is seems like a possibility for the US market, and a 45-series variant of the next-gen GLA baby SUV is almost certain for the states. Pricing for either variant of the CLA 45 has yet to be announced, though Mercedes says sales will start by the end of 2019.

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