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      03-10-2014, 10:16 AM   #1
Jason
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Post Entry Level Luxury Sedan Motortrend Review: BMW 320i vs CLA250, CC and Regal

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Entry Level Luxury Sedan Motortrend Review: BMW 320i vs CLA250, CC and Regal
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Motortrend has published an entry-level luxury sedan review, comparing the BMW 320i, Mercedes CLA250, VW CC and Buick Regal. Check out some highlights below and head on over to Motortrend for the full review.

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The initial idea suggested to yours truly was to line up the Mercedes-Benz CLA250 against the Volkswagen CC R-Line, but the proposal was compelling for all of two minutes. Apart from vaguely sharing body shapes and having turbocharged engines with similar outputs, the bigger, $35K, entry-level luxury question asked was, “Would anybody care?”

Because we wouldn’t have access to an MQB-underpinned Audi A3 until a month after our prospective itinerary, we turned to the other natural Germanic competitor. The MPV-like, front-drive BMW 2 Series Active Tourer is tentatively due in 2015, so a suitably priced 320i was chosen. The least expensive BMW sedan you can lease right this instant also, shockingly, starts at $4550 less than a no-frills 328i.
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Even though the 320i came fitted with the passive M sport suspension -- unique springs, shock absorbers, and bushings, with 0.2/1mm thicker front/rear anti-roll bars -- as part of the $1300 Sport Package, it rode confidently on its staggered 18-inch wheels. The BMW suspension delivers a reassuring ride that’s more adept than those of the Regal or CC at snuffing motions after the wheel impact, rather than letting the car oscillate on its own. The purest of BMW purists have harangued that the current F30 3 Series isn’t as laser-focused on handling and as rewarding a driver’s driver as the E30, E36, E46, and E90. We counter the F30 is still an admirable all-around vehicle.

The CLA250 is way different. On an unblemished road, all is right. Take it out of its element—such as out on the wild remnants of Route 66 -- and the cabin sounds like all hell has broken loose. The front end is too tight, sending loud, sharp thwacks through the air where the other three broadcast softer thumps. The body control is good, even if you feel a lot of the road. We started holding our breath any time the surface took a turn for the worse, scowling until the cracks and divots disappeared. The little Merc had optional, $500 18-inch wheels. We’d like to believe the standard 17s with slightly taller-profile tires would offer enough cushioning to alter the ride, but the harshness seems more serious than a set of tires could fix.
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First and second place were clear. First goes to the 320i, with its easygoing, composed chassis. It’s the most eager to go driving in by a long shot. Knocks against it: It’s weaker on wind-noise abatement and doesn’t come with as many features, although there are plenty of a la carte options to inflate the final price. Second sits the Regal, exceptionally outfitted with goodies including a heated steering wheel and AC power receptacle and boasting ride comfort for all ages. There’s no embarrassment in (inadvertently) taking it through a canyon.

The votes tied the CC and CLA250, circling us back to the standoff that initiated the whole adventure. Needing to break the stalemate for third place, we flipped through the yeas and nays for the two. The CC: simple and elegantly executed, if a bit bland, and it’s definitely showing its age. The CLA250: The fuel economy (both the EPA estimate and Real MPG) is impressive, and it looks neat, but nobody mentioned the driving experience as a positive.

4th Place: Mercedes-Benz CLA250
It'll be a star when rough-riding luxury cars become all the rage.

3rd Place: Volkswagen CC 2.0T R-Line
Beauty craving more substance.

2nd Place: Buick Regal T
Nearly bucked the “3 Series always win” trend.

1st Place: BMW 320i
Prepared for any road, anywhere, any time.

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      03-10-2014, 10:45 AM   #2
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Wow, thank God that the F30 didn't lose to the Buick, I think hell would have frozen over on this board.

And lol at CLA...but I'd guess the CLA outsells the others combined, so I guess we're all probably "haterz".
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      03-10-2014, 10:53 AM   #3
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Sounds about right. The CC was on my short list and I test drove an R-Line as a matter of fact. Like the looks, the ride was nice, the DSG is nice but all in all, it didn't compare to the 320. Never drove the Buick.
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      03-10-2014, 11:54 AM   #4
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Buick....really? some of them look semi ok but still has that old people feel to it, in and out
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      03-10-2014, 11:58 AM   #5
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The CLA is a terrible car with horrendous styling. Looks like its melting lol.
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      03-10-2014, 12:08 PM   #6
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Isnt the CLA a bellwether that BMW is looking at to determine potential interest in a 2 series GC?

"It didn't sell."

Yeah, but not because of the proportions.

I'm gbcoing to need a little 4 for sedan to replace my car someday.

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      03-10-2014, 12:23 PM   #7
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where is the A3 at?
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      03-10-2014, 12:35 PM   #8
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where is the A3 at?
They said in the review they couln't get one for another month. So it didn't make the comparo.
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      03-10-2014, 12:37 PM   #9
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I think the A3 would have put a good showing. MotorTrend has a thing for Audis.
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      03-10-2014, 12:45 PM   #10
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BMW wins, how 'bout that!
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      03-10-2014, 12:59 PM   #11
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my list would be
1. 320 for RWD, Space, and tunable engine.
2. CLA for the logo(yes i like mercedes), design.
3. CC for space and it looks someone decent.
4. buick? buick who? I don't care how well it drives. call me a brand whore. i will not drive a buick.
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      03-10-2014, 01:02 PM   #12
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If the A3 were in this comparison, I'm guessing it probably would've been in 2nd place, pushing back the Buick to 3rd.
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      03-10-2014, 01:28 PM   #13
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Not surprising. The CLA has been thoroughly trashed by nearly every reviewer. It only sells due to the "Look, an affordable Mercedes!" marketing.
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      03-10-2014, 02:17 PM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sor View Post
Not surprising. The CLA has been thoroughly trashed by nearly every reviewer. It only sells due to the "Look, an affordable Mercedes!" marketing.
for the price, it's a nice car. no one is buying a MB at that price for handling. they are all trying to show and tell only.
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      03-10-2014, 03:12 PM   #15
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I think the A3 would have put a good showing. MotorTrend has a thing for Audis.
I have noticed this myself
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      03-10-2014, 03:31 PM   #16
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Here is why the CLA will win in the market, looks and badge. From certain angles it looks way more expensive then it is (similar to the CLS). I love the F30, and I think the 320i is a night and day better car, but many people in this price range who want to get into a BMW/MB nameplate will go for looks over performance, and the CLA is way flasher and expensive looking from the outside especially compared to a stock non modded 320i.

Its sad but I have already seen a ton of these CLA's, the brand image is strong in this one.
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      03-10-2014, 03:45 PM   #17
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Have driven a regal MT & wasn't bad at all so glad it beat out the crappy CLA. Who sells a coupe with 4 doors?!
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      03-10-2014, 03:47 PM   #18
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The Regal Turbo is a pretty decent car. It doesn't really drive like a RWD BMW, but its got its own strengths. Its a rebadged Opel Insignia. It won 2009 car of the year in Europe. So technically they are all German cars.

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      03-10-2014, 05:04 PM   #19
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i agree with this review
I've driven all cars except the VW, but hell YES Regal is MUCH better than CLA. You remove those badges, CLA indeed is a piece of crap...honestly...
Regal is a very good car, pretty nimble than i expected.
I hate seeing and saying these praise comments about BMW 3 sedans (although i own one lol..), but this is a very fair,accurate analysis. BMW>Regal>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>CLA

Throughout my experience with "luxury" car models, there's two worst ways to waste your money. 1 used to be the Land Rover Freelander/LR2, the other one is CLA. it's that bad
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      03-10-2014, 05:16 PM   #20
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I H-A-T-E the look of the CLA! It has to be one of the ugliest cars made today. Seeing how poorly it drives compared to anything else is just icing on the cake.
Buick is based on a very good European sedan. Not a bad showing at all.
320i is a bargain BMW. Well done.
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      03-10-2014, 06:45 PM   #21
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Ill share my point of view... I used to have an e92 335 and I loved the community around the tuning platform. I moved to Miami and noticed that fast cars are a waste in one of the worst cities for traffic and in such a metropolitan area where you can't drive spiritedly other than on the freeways at 5 am or 11pm when the rush hours have calmed. There just no point in having a car here that can do 150 mph and a 4 second 0-60.

I really like the look of the CLA (sports package version). For people like myself, I know I'm not going to have the opportunity to drive it hard around corners or on anything other than FL roads. I need a car that looks sporty, classy, and has the potential for me to make it look unique. Here in Miami almost every 5th car is a BMW 3 series. The CLA has great gas milage (about the same as my Car2go Smart Car) and I can honestly see the 4 cylinder turbo charged motor being the next "N54" when it comes to affordable tunability for a younger crowd.
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      03-10-2014, 07:38 PM   #22
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"There just no point in having a car here that can do 150 mph and a 4 second 0-60. "


True to some degree, though you can join the BMWCCA or other car clubs and sign up for Drivers schools at the local tracks. You could get seat time on the Moroso road course or drive over to Sebring, where there is lots of room to go fast, etc. Trust me. 4 half hour sessions on a track is worth months of "fast" driving on the street. You drive much faster in a safer environment, and you'll learn a lot about your car.

By the same token, if you start to go to those schools you'll realize that a 200hp 3 series is already a pretty darn fast car. It may take 6 or 7 seconds to get to 60 mph, but you focus on keeping your momentum in the corners, and it makes you a much smoother,faster driver.

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