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Mercedes Benz CLA: The Gateway Drive

benzo

Recently, Mercedes came to my hometown and I was invited out to an night’s stay in at The Graham Hotel in Georgetown, Washington, DC and the opportunity to drive the CLA250 and CLA45 the whole day through Virginia.  I did a piece geared towards Generation Y on the site Behind the Hustle for Complex Magazine. SEE BELOW

Mercedes Benz moves to stay relevant by aiming at Generation-Y with a bullet in the all-new CLA250.  It is built like a Mercedes, drives like a Mercedes but costs as much as a high-end Ford Fusion. Sincerely.

So I pose the question, “Is Mercedes a brand that you aspire to purchase right now?”  Maybe it hits the top of your list when your hair starts to thin or gray a bit. Or maybe when you get that six-figure salary you are hustling for.

Well, Mercedes would like to welcome you to the party early.

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Above was to Generation Y but to those older and wiser see what I feel below …

I like the CLA250 for the younger generation, because of the safety features and some of the whistles and luxury cues, I would recommend it for my daughter if she was 20+ years old and in market for a car.  I know the car is not aiming at me so it did not surprise me that it missed the mark.

When I sit in the lap of luxury it has to really feel like it and on top of that a front wheel drive 4-cylinder car just won’t meet my demands as a driver, although it does have a nice kick to it. I have driven quite a few Mercedes over the years, so this just feels less than but the good thing is that it doesn’t feel contrived or forced like the other luxury brand that are scrambling to put out vehicles to compete. 

 

Cadillac All Americans

 

XTS

XTS

I recently had the pleasure of wining and dining two of Cadillac’s top prospects, the 2013 XTS and ATS.  These two blue chippers are can’t miss players from team Cadillac with handcrafted cut and sewn leather inside and money door handles on the exterior that glow at night.  Cadillac is running it’s brand in a new direction and it’s a direction the cool kids can cheer.caddy 2

Both in design and features, Cadillac sidesteps its pocket-passer boring image and steps into a pistol offense style that will confuse competitors. These are versatile vehicles that can do it all. They look great on the street and perform wonderfully on the road. They can handle hostile environments such as choppy road, changing weather conditions and jealous haters all while providing the driver a smile of satisfaction.

The ATS cockpit is a comfy and snug fit.  It’s like a sliding into fresh pair of retro Jordan 3s; it just feels right.  It’s a bold move forward as I noticed nods to the Mercedes-Benz interior as well.

The XTS, on the other hand, has the X-factor inside, which is space.  More interior space for the driver to lean the seat back in luxury and still have room for his or her team and  all their luggage.

ATS

ATS

Across the board the heart of these vehicles’ coolness is the Cadillac User Experience, which is Caddy’s infotainment system better known as CUE.  Cadillac has devised its own way of calling plays in big game situations.  The 8-inch touch screen that provides access to the CUE stretches the imagination of the user experience. Literally, you can stretch, pinch and scroll like you do on an iPhone. When you are on the road you need to be able to interface with all your devices and all the things your car can do for you.

Cadillac’s new direction is based around technology and the user experience.  All digital, everything!  Check your speed in the digital display on the driver’s window and never take your eyes off the road.  And if you must look at the dash the gages appear like magic, digitally as well.  On it you can toggle through your music, radio stations and other features from your heated steering wheel before you even have to call on the CUE system.  When you do call on the Cue, your voice allows you to leave your hands on the wheel and continue the drive.

caddy 1Still there is more than meets the eye.  Tap the center console touch screen in the right place and it flips open to reveal a single disc CD slot and an area to plug in your smart phone. Touch in another place and it closes to hide your smart phone from plain view.

The driver experience is also not what one might expect in a Caddy. Each vehicle is quite fluid, quick, smooth and much more responsive. Even in the larger XTS, it’s sporty feel remains in tact.  Less cumbersome, and less stiff, these vehicles don’t float on the road, they stick to it.

The sound system is a touchdown in the ATS and XTS, which both have a premium Bose surround sound that is front row Jay-Z concert worthy.  While the cockpit is so quiet you catch every quotable line.

Cadillac can now more competitively take the field with its foreign rivals. Cadillac may even surprise them and leap to the top of the division.  The ATS and XTS are poised to be perrenial All-Stars once consumers take the time to see what these All-Americans have to offer.

 

 

2013-Cadillac-ATS-003-medium

Cadillac ATS AWD Premium

Price Tag: $46,695 base ($50,035 tested)

Power: 3.6L Turbo V6 321 horsepower

Transmission: 6-speed Geartronic Automatic Sport-Mode

Drivetrain: All-Wheel Drive

Fuel Economy (mpg): 19-city/ 28-hwy

 

2013-Cadillac-ATS-002-medium

2013 Cadillac XTS AWD Premium

Price Tag: $55,810 base ($59,625 tested)

Power: 3.6L V6 304 horsepower

Transmission: 6-speed Automatic

Drivetrain: All-Wheel Drive

Fuel Economy (mpg): 17-city/ 26-hwy

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