by: SHAWN DONOVAN BRETT
The Gay Pages team just had the exclusive opportunity of joining fellow motoring enthusiasts and journalists at the Mercedes-Benz launch where we were spoilt for choice with the arrival of the new A-Class sedan, CLA Coupe and GLC. Our meeting point, the phenomenal Westcliff Hotel, the ideal location for a luxurious occasion… the best or nothing.
Through the introduction of the A-Class, Mercedes-Benz has been able to grab the attention of a much younger audience with their sleek design concepts and sporty appeal. Despite a shared platform, the A-Class Sedan and CLA Coupe has distinctive dimensional differences in the sense that the CLA is longer, wider and lower than the A-Class by 139mm, 7mm and 34mm. Being the baby brother to the CLS, the sleeker CLA features larger headlights, reshaped taillights and two bonnet pinch lines, whereas the sedan has more headroom in the rear.
Both models feature the MBUX system as standard, so “Hey Mercedes” will assist, guide and entertain your every whim and query. As a standard there is a dual 7-inch infotainment system, with the option to upsize it to 10.25 inches. There is a vast list of optional extras with which you can entertain your finance calculator, from heated and cooling driver and passenger seats to the irresistible matt paint finish, just about everything can be upgraded to enhance the luxurious feel.
The A 200 sedan and CLA 200 Coupe are both available with the already familiar and cheeky 1,33 litre turbo-petrol engine, as well as the more dominant 2,0 litre derivative available in the A 250 and CLA 250. Our rides, the 200’s produced an identical 120 kW output and 250 Nm of torque. The ride quality and handling dynamics are thoroughly present when the vehicles are enthusiastically driven, despite the A-Class and CLA having a smallish exterior the sense of security and stability on an open road are very present.
All drivers paired up and we embarked on a swift journey to the Cradle Boutique Hotel near the Cradle of Humankind, with some pit stops and swops along the way, we all enjoyed our opportunity to the pilot the fresh-approach sedans. With the mention of an exquisite lunch awaiting us at Saint in Sandton, we hurried back to the city feast, where we shared thoughts and prepared ourselves for the chariots awaiting us in the parking lot, the new Mercedes-Benz GLC, for the trip back to the Westcliff Hotel.
Awaiting our eager eyes were a series of neatly queued GLC SUV’s and Coupes, an already popular contender in the SUV market since 2015, with stronger features, an elevated interior design and improved ride comfort, this is the car to keep.
We had the opportunity to experience the much sought after diesel engines, the GLC 220d as well as the GLC 300d. Both equipped with a 2,0-litre turbodiesel engine. The GLC 300d producing the more enticing power output of 180 kW and 500 Nm of torque, versus the GLC 220d comfortably resting on 143 kW and 400 Nm of torque, needless to say not lacking when the power is needed. These figures apply to both the SUV and Coupe line-up, offering identical performance, merely at different price tags with the sportier Coupe averaging over R100 000 more than its more conservative pragmatic sibling.
All models come standard with an electronic fold away tow bar as well as the MBUX System, because everyone needs AI companionship in a technology dominant era. The interior is furnished with high quality finishes, premium materials and easy to use controls. The driving assistance systems are abundant, making every journey a safe one with DYNAMIC BODY CONTROL, Active Distance Assist and Active Steer Assist.
The exterior design has a distinctive off-road look which is accentuated by muscular surface contours, a heavily contoured grille and chrome trim which runs from front to rear as standard. The coupe sets itself aside with a more dynamic visual appearance without losing the connection in design with the SUV.
Our day came to an end once again at the Westcliff hotel where we parted with our divine rides. The entire range is exploding with excitement and vibrant youthful energy, the GLC contributes greatly to the growth of the Mercedes-Benz product line up and is fast becoming a structural pillar in the brand which we welcome to the South African market with open arms.