Motor Trend had been compared the new 6 in-line BMW M235i with Mercedes CLA 45 AMG equipped with the most powerful 2 liter turbo in the world.
Mercedes and BMW are long time rivals in the field of sporty compact cars. One of the most notably competition was between Benz 190 E 2.3-16 and BMW M3 E30.
Three decades later, times have changed a lot. The turbo had taken the place of natural aspiration and the CLA’s engine is even mounted in the front in a complete departure of Mercedes’ tradition.
The host from Motor Trend Jonny Liebermann had expressed his opinion about design.
“BMW M235i is one of the nicest BMW in the last years. I like the character line and the rear end. But I don’t like the design of the CLA even if up to the B pillar, the CLA looks the same with A-Class”.
Leaving alone the subjective impressions about the design , let’s see what Lieberman said about the technical package.
BMW has a very nice six in-line turbo engine with a superb response especially on Sport Plus. M235i is very nice to drive, is a fun car.
But the brakes are not so performant like we expect from a such car. Ok, this is not an M2 but we would need better brakes. But is good that hand brake is still there.
Motor Trend editor likes also the steering even is not the best BMW steering in terms of feeling.
And what about Mercedes CLA 45 AMG?
Mercedes has clearly better brakes and a better steering with more feeling. The all wheel drive helps to bring the power earlier on the asphalt. And also the engine is superb but the seven speed dual clutch gearbox compromise the idea of this concept because is hesitant. The gearbox is the weakest part of the car and is a pity because this is an AMG car.
BMW is a little more fun to drive but AMG has a more fascinating sound, better brakes, more grip and better acceleration.
Motor Trend had asked also an opinion of a racing driver, Randy Pobst.
“The balance is so good in BMW. I like the engine also. Is a turbo six but you never know it is a turbo because of its linear power delivery and broad torque. It is my favourite BMW in the last 10 years”, says Pobst.
“Mercedes CLA 45 AMG has a great engine but the increase of the power increases also understeering. And the shifting is not quick enough. But on the other hand, Mercedes CLA 45 AMG is more stable, which will be appreciated by more drivers”, complete Pobst.
On the track, the result was very close, and Mercedes won with less than two tenth: 1:26,21 seconds against 1:26,38 seconds for BMW.
At the end is not so easy to give a final verdict. BMW is a little more fun to drive and costs less but Mercedes is faster on the straight line, has better performances and is faster on the race track.
See all the review here.