First Drive: 2014 Mercedes Benz CLA Class mercedes benz luxury cars first drives
First Drive: 2014 Mercedes Benz CLA Class mercedes benz luxury cars first drives
2014 Mercedes-Benz CLA-Class. Click image to enlarge

Review and photos by Jonathan Yarkony

Aix-en-Provence, France – First let’s start with the bad news: This car, the 2014 Mercedes-Benz CLA-Class will only be available about six months from now, in September 2013.

Some people might be disappointed that they won’t be able get an efficient but powerful diesel engine (though by the volume and frequency of their comments, you’d think they buy one every week) but, frankly, I doubt that will stop the flood of new customers that will beat down the glass showroom walls of Mercedes’ dealerships.

Lastly, and this one is pure conjecture, you will have a hard time getting a test drive at dealerships because they will all be presold for the first year and a half. If you think I’m joking, I already know of one person that has put their money where their sense of style is, and I doubt she’s alone in that queue. The combination of big, bold ‘coupe’ styling and four doors at an approachable price will send cash-strapped, status-obsessed luxury-sedan-hungry Americans into a frenzy.

Oh, and one more thing: Mercedes continues to call this sedan a four-door coupé, though that likely won’t matter a lick to those interested in one. Oh well, when you have your competitors lining up to copy you, I guess you get to make up the segment name.

And now on to the good news. I can’t tell you to think that this car is gorgeous, and I likely don’t have to. You probably already do. If you don’t, you’re in the minority of people I’ve spoken to. While some potential owners won’t care about others’ opinions (especially when they have taste this good), others might find their peers’ attention and fawning pleasing, or give it a leg up upon seeing it in person, where it seems to exude the presence of a much larger, more expensive car. This car has a certain flair that charismatic people do, their personality filling the room and demanding attention. While I never warmed up to the CLS that inspired this design niche, the tightened proportions of the CLA just speak to me, and this one looks as good going away as arriving. But enough about style, you can make your own minds up about how beautiful it is on a scale of 10 to 11 – everybody else can fight over the single digits.

First Drive: 2014 Mercedes Benz CLA Class mercedes benz luxury cars first drives First Drive: 2014 Mercedes Benz CLA Class mercedes benz luxury cars first drives
2014 Mercedes-Benz CLA-Class. Click image to enlarge

Now that we’ve established that it is a fine-looking automobile, what is it? Although Mercedes doesn’t like to pigeonhole their cars into size categories, it is a compact sedan, about the same size as a Buick Verano or Acura ILX and about a foot longer than either the Audi A3 hatchback or BMW 1-Series coupe. What does that make the C-Class? As per Mercedes, it is a four-door sedan to the CLA’s four-door coupé and the B-Class’ five-door hatch, while Desrosiers Consulting will peg them all simply as Luxury.

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