How to Choose Between Mercedes Benz CLA and C Class? (Buying Guide)

This article will compare the Mercedes Benz CLA Class and the C class and also answer the questions: which one should you buy? and which engines are available in the C & CLA class?

Mercedes Benz CLA vs Mercedes Benz C class

The following table compares important parameters of Mercedes Benz CLA and C Class:

Model/ SpecificationsMercedes Benz CLAMercedes Benz C Class
Starting price38,200 USD43,000 USD
Number of passengers45
Width72.0 in71.7 in
Height 56.7 in56.6 in
wheelbase107.4 in112.8 in
Engine optionsInline 4 CylinderInline 4 Cylinder

Detailed specifications of Mercedes Benz CLA

It is a small-sized sedan launched in 2013, it is based on the W176 A-class platform. Mercedes Benz CLA received a good response in domestic as well as international markets. Hence, in 2015 Mercedes Benz also introduced the CLA shooting brake which is an estate model of the standard Mercedes Benz CLA.

CLA shares all components with the Mercedes Benz A, and B classes. The suspension setup remains the same despite the longer wheelbase of CLA. Mercedes Benz sold more than 100,000 units of CLA in the first year since its launch and the global figure exceeded 750,000 units.

Mercedes Benz CLA was very popular in international markets like China and India. CLA was the cheapest sedan sold by Mercedes Benz before it was replaced by the V177, a longer wheelbase version of A-class with a practical boot in the back.

Mercedes Benz launched the second generation of CLA with the model series C118. The latest generation of CLA is much bigger than the first generation. Matter of fact, with a wheelbase of 2800 mm it is almost closer to the Mercedes Benz C class.

Exterior styling is improved and CLA now looks like a distinct model even though it is based on the new W177 A-class platform. It also gets all the features of the latest Mercedes Benz user experience (MBUX) with a 7-inch touch screen and 64-colour ambient lighting system. 

The new CLA is available in a shooting brake model with more than 500 litres of luggage space. There are two high-performance versions, CLA 35 AMG and CLA 45 AMG. The 35 is an AMG line model with modified performance maps in the ECU and AMG performance exhaust as standard. 

The CLA 45 on the other hand is an aggressive spec model with a 2.0-litre hand-built engine. The M139 engine used in the 45 series is also the most powerful 4-cylinder engine in the world.

Detailed overview of the Mercedes Benz C Class

It is model series W205/W206 a standard-sized sedan from Mercedes Benz. It is also available in the AMG line and AMG 63 model series. The C class coupe comes with a 4MATIC all-wheel-drive system. The C class comes in different body styles like 2-door sports coupe and soft-top convertible model.

C class is the entry-level model in the sedan segment of Mercedes Benz, it can easily accommodate 5 passengers and more than 400 litres of boot space.  The first generation was launched in 1993 with the model series W202.

 It was well-received in domestic as well as international markets, the first generation of the C class was also the entry-level model in the Mercedes Benz lineup until the new generation of cars like the A-class was launched in 1997.

Currently, the C class is in its fifth generation with the model series W206 which will be replacing the W205 C class. The C class is manufactured in all Mercedes Benz factories; the only exceptions are the AMG 63 and AMG 63s models. 

Which one should you buy?

The latest Mercedes Benz CLA starts at around 40,000 USD and the latest C class is around 45000 USD. there is no significant difference in the price of both the models. The first generation of CLA was popular because it offered a 4-door sedan with a Mercedes Benz badge at a much more reasonable price. 

The latest model, although it brings the latest technologies and advanced driver assistance systems like the blind spot assist and active brake assist, it is simply not worth buying over the C class.

C class is a full-sized executive sedan with a front-engine rear-wheel-drive setup. The CLA has a transversely mounted engine and gearbox and it is mainly front-wheel drive. There are 4 Matic models in the CLA as well but they aren’t as good as the 4 Matic models in the  C CLass like the C 300.  

The C class also gets a 9g Tronic transmission which is a 9-speed gearbox and it is significantly better than the new 8-speed dual-clutch transmission in the Mercedes Benz CLA. 

Therefore if you are going to buy a CLA spend a little extra and get the Mercedes Benz C class. If budget is an issue the A class limousine model series V177 is better to buy than the CLA.

Which engines are available in the Mercedes Benz CLA and C class?

The Mercedes Benz CLA and C class have petrol and diesel engine models.

  • The petrol engine in the Mercedes Benz C Class and CLA

The CLA has the smallest displacement M282 engine with 1.3litres, it was produced by Renault, and Nissan and used in compact car models. The M282 produces 134 horsepower and 200 Nm of torque. It is also the smallest engine with a cylinder shutoff function that can increase fuel economy. 

The M 264/260 engines are common in both CLA and C. The displacement of the M260 in the CLA is 2.0 litres it is available in the 220 and 200 models and produces more than 200 horsepower and 350 Nm of torque. The M264 in the C class has a 48 V high voltage electric system with an integrated starter-alternator, together with the motor it makes 220 horsepower and 300 Nm of torque. The C class also uses a 2.0-litre M254 engine without any 48 V high voltage electrical system, the M254 is available in the C 300 and produces 255 horsepower with 400 Nm of torque.

  • The diesel engine in Mercedes Benz C Class and CLA

Diesel variants of CLA and C class use the OM 654 & OM654 q which is a transversely mounted version of the OM654 with an AdBlue injection system for exhaust after-treatment. The maximum power output is 188 horsepower in the CLA and 200 horsepower in the C class, 400NM torque remains the same in both models.

 CLA also gets a 1.3 litres OM608 diesel engine for the 180 D model, OM608 is produced by Renault. Diesel engines are equipped with low and high-pressure exhaust gas recirculation to reduce NOX emissions. AdBlue injection with selective catalytic reduction can be also found in the latest models. These exhaust gases after treatments are present to fulfil emission regulations.

All engines available in CLA and C class have NANOSLIDE coating on the cylinder walls. Except the M282 and OM 608 engines. Nanoslide is an extremely thin coating applied to the inner surface of the cylinder to reduce friction between the piston. Twin-wire arc spraying (TWAS) is used to spray an extremely thin coat of iron-carbon alloy on the cylinder walls.  The friction between the piston and piston rings is reduced by almost 50 per cent.

Other articles about Mercedes Benz you may be interested in

Mercedes Benz C Class Vs Mercedes Benz E class

Mercedes Benz vs Volkswagen

Can you drive a Mercedes every day?


The market for cheap entry-level compact sedans is very competitive and Mercedes Benz tried to make an impact by introducing the A class limousine and making the CLA second generation more premium. However, the A-class limousine received a lukewarm response, especially in the international market which led to Mercedes Benz discontinuing the A class Limousine. If Mercedes Benz can price the CLA correctly, it can become a good choice in the compact sedan car segment.