The Mercedes-Benz CLA facelift 2017 has launched in Mumbai today, updating what is positioned as an affordable compact luxury sedan. The facelift was first unveiled earlier in the year during the New York International Auto Show, and now it is finally making its official launch in the country. The updated Mercedes-Benz CLA is retaining its positioning as an accessibly luxury sedan. Back when it was launched in 2015, the CLA moved in to fill a gap that was left by the C-Class, which had been moved to a more premium positioning. As such, it competes with the likes of other entry-level luxury offerings like the Audi A3, which is priced at INR 22.95 lakh to 32.66 lakh (ex-showroom Delhi). Compared to these two, the CLA was considered a late entrant into a market that is bustling with activity, as India’s growing rich find that their dream cars are now within their reach. Also Read: Mercedes launches two convertibles priced up to Rs 2.25 crore
2017 Mercedes-Benz CLA vs Audi A3: Exteriors
The facelifted Mercedes-Benz CLA largely retains the same exteriors as its predecessor. The front bumper gets a redesign and air scoops with black highlights, along with LED headlights. The rear also gets LED illumination and a slightly redesigned bumper. Overall, the design language remains the same, with the changes making it around seven inches longer than the prime competition: the Audi A3. The low roofline, coupe-like design and swoops and curves gives the CLA a more memorable design. On the other hand, the A3 would appeal to those who want a more classical sedan look.
2017 Mercedes-Benz CLA vs Audi A3: Interiors
Mercedes-Benz has also updated the interiors of the CLA, giving it a sportier look while retaining most of the design theme. The circular AC vents have been retained, and so has the dashboard design that gives the front a good sense of depth. There’s a lot of storage space in the central console tool. Meanwhile, the Audi A3 extends the classic design of its exterior to its insides as well. It has a safe and conventional dashboard design, although it did get a better infotainment screen than the CLA. Mercedes has updated the screen this time on the CLA, but only a hands-on test will tell if the system matches up to the competition this time. On the rear end, expect the challenges of a compact sedan on both cars. The CLA and A3 can both feel a little cramped in their rear seats. Internationally, the updated CLA has got a slightly longer wheelbase but space at the rear has remained largely unchanged.
2017 Mercedes-Benz CLA vs Audi A3: Features
So far, the Mercedes-Benz CLA facelift 2017 appears to be carrying forward the same features list as its previous version. This means that the new CLA will remain an even match with the Audi A3, with all features included. Both models offer satellite navigation, power-adjustable front seats and much more. The CLA gets a nice Harman Kardon audio system, while the Audi A3 can get a multimedia interface with a touchpad controller. In terms of safety, the features list is very comprehensive. There are seven airbags for each model, along with ABS with EBD as well as ESP. With Mercedes, there is also the pre-safe program for preparing the driver in case of a likely collision.
2017 Mercedes-Benz CLA vs Audi A3: Engine Specifications
The newly-launched 2017 Mercedes-Benz CLA retains the same power-train as the models from 2015 and 2016. This means that there are two engines on offer: a 2.2-litre diesel engine producing 134 bhp and 300 Nm, and a 2.0-litre petrol motor that delivers 141 bhp and 320 Nm. The transmission will also continue unchanged, so expect to see the seven-speed automatic mated to both petrol and diesel variants. On the other hand, the competing Audi A3 uses a 1.8-litre TFSI petrol engine that delivers 178 bhp of power and 250 Nm of torque and a 2.0-litre TDI diesel engine delivering 141 bhp and 320 Nm. Six- and seven-speed auto transmissions are on offer with the Audi. The Audi A3 has the more powerful power-train then, and also feels dynamic on the highway. Its 250 kg lighter weight than the CLA plays a large part in this, of course. Still, the CLA is no slouch in terms of performance. And although the 7-speed DCT gearbox feels a little slower than Audi’s six-speed auto, the car is definitely not underpowered and can be quite fun to ride in the Sport mode.
2017 Mercedes-Benz CLA vs Audi A3: Price Details
Finally, it all comes down to this. The CLA, as mentioned before, is positioned as an aspiration for India’s new-age rich who want to enter the world of luxury. So is the Audi A3. With the 2017 facelift, the Mercedes-Benz CLA is priced between INR 31.40 lakh for the 200 D Style variant to INR 34.68 lakh for the 200 Sport (ex-showroom Delhi). Before this, the Mercedes-Benz CLA was priced from INR 31.61 lakh (ex-showroom Delhi) onwards. In comparison, the Audi A3 is priced a little lower, starting from INR 27.10 lakh (ex-showroom Delhi) to INR 35.65 lakh (ex-showroom Delhi). That’s a decent price gap of around 3 lakh, but the sedans on offer are, in many ways, different from each other and appealing to different audiences.