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The plug-in hybrid CLA offers a claimed 50km range

The plug-in hybrid CLA offers a claimed 50km range

The plug-in hybrid CLA offers a claimed 50km range

Mercedes Benz - CLA 250e Coupé A/T

I'm either really losing my marbles lately or, as the song says, the gargle has dimmed my brain. Because I find myself using the old Google machine more and more these days to look up dates and years of certain events I have attended over the last 10 years.

I mention this as, in the back of that head of mine, I remember being at the launch of the first-generation Mercedes Benz CLA to roll off the production lines, but I couldn't for the life of me remember what year it was.

Thankfully for me, there is a man on a computer somewhere in the world that records all the data that I have lost to the brain fairies down through the years.

What would we do without Wikipedia in this day and age?

Turns out that the CLA was launched way back in 2013, not too long after I first got my wheels in motion writing about cars.

I do remember that it was one of my first international car launches, possibly in France, with a large group of veteran motor journalists from all over the world.

One thing that I definitively do remember, like it was yesterday, is how impressed I was with it from the first time I laid eyes on it.

In fact, I would nearly say it was the car that began a whole new chapter for the Mercedes Benz brand.

The overall excitement on the night must have really struck a chord with me as I never once even closed my eyes (I normally catch some shut eye during the boring parts) during the hour-long press conference.

Back then, the CLA was a breath of fresh air for a brand that had a reputation for somewhat ignoring the younger-generation motorist and putting all of its focus into the more mature motorist, who liked to place his Rex Harrison hat on the rear-parcel shelf.

With the introduction of the new CLA, the German premium brand completely ripped up its ageing manuscripts and set its sights on the Google generation by creating very stylish and affordable cars that could be customised to the exact taste of its new audience.

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To say I was impressed at the time is an understatement as, upon my return home from the launch, I recommended the CLA to not only friends, but to my own brother who bought one himself just a short time later.

Since then, like a fine wine, the slick Mercedes Benz CLA has only matured with age over the years, undergoing a number of nips and tucks in almost every department.

Almost 10 years on and the CLA is charging forward again, this time pairing its tried-and-trusted petrol engine with a small plug-in hybrid battery pack.

The German brand has obviously nailed it when it comes down to electric power as multi-national company, Amazon, has literally ordered thousands of fully-electric Mercedes vans direct from Daimler for its world-wide distribution.

My test car for the week was the new 250 e plug-in hybrid CLA. Unlike some of its larger siblings in the Mercedes Benz stable, the head honchos have gone for a petrol plug-in hybrid rather than diesel, which a lot of other cars use.

For me, it works to perfection with the battery pack offering a claimed 50km range for pottering about on those schools runs and shopping trips.

I have said before that I am a big fan of these models as they give you the best of both worlds and you will never have to worry about running out of charge like you would in a fully-electric model.

Basically, if I was commuting to my office in Dublin's city centre on a daily basis, I should realistically get two days from a full charge without ever having to use a drop of petrol.

The CLA 250e is powered by a 1.3-litre, four-cylinder petrol engine combined with an electric motor.

The electric motor gets its power from a 15.6kWh rechargeable battery. The small petrol engine on its own produces 160bhp, however, when combined with the electric motor the 250e delivers 218bhp.

With the two running side-by-side, Mercedes claims an average fuel consumption figure of between 1.3-1.5l/100km - astounding figures that are very close to being achievable under normal, everyday driving conditions.

The trick is to train yourself to keep the battery charged up to full while the car is parked in your driveway if you want to get the best out of this plug-in hybrid.

Prices for the new CLA start from €42,520 and petrol and diesel versions are available. The CLA 250e automatic has a starting price of €47,430.

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