2020 BMW 2 Series vs. 2019 Mercedes AMG CLA 45

Detailed Review, Specifications & Comparison

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Safety

Both the 2 Series and the AMG CLA 45 have standard driver and passenger frontal airbags, front side-impact airbags, driver and front passenger knee airbags, side-impact head airbags, front seatbelt pretensioners, plastic fuel tanks, four-wheel antilock brakes, traction control, electronic stability systems to prevent skidding, crash mitigating brakes, daytime running lights, rearview cameras, driver alert monitors, available all wheel drive and rear parking sensors.

For its top level performance in all IIHS frontal, side, rear impact and roof-crush tests, with its optional front crash prevention system, and its available headlight’s “Acceptable” rating, the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety grants the 2 Series the rating of “Top Pick” for 2018, a rating granted to only 104 vehicles tested by the IIHS. The AMG CLA 45 has not been tested, yet.

Warranty

The 2 Series’ corrosion warranty is 7 years longer than the AMG CLA 45’s (12 vs. 5 years).

BMW pays for scheduled maintenance on the 2 Series for 3 years and 36,000 miles. BMW will pay for oil changes, lubrication and any other required maintenance. Mercedes doesn’t pay scheduled maintenance for the AMG CLA 45.

Reliability

J.D. Power and Associates rated the 2 Series second among small premium cars in their 2018 Initial Quality Study. The AMG CLA 45 isn’t in the top three in its category.

J.D. Power and Associates’ 2018 Initial Quality Study of new car owners surveyed provide the statistics that show that BMW vehicles are better in initial quality than Mercedes vehicles. J.D. Power ranks BMW 11th in initial quality, above the industry average. With 5 more problems per 100 vehicles, Mercedes is ranked 15th.

J.D. Power and Associates’ 2019 survey of the owners of three-year-old vehicles provides the long-term dependability statistics that show that BMW vehicles are more reliable than Mercedes vehicles. J.D. Power ranks BMW 7th in reliability, above the industry average. With 12 more problems per 100 vehicles, Mercedes is ranked 13th.

From surveys of all its subscribers, Consumer Reports’ December 2018 Auto Issue reports that BMW vehicles are more reliable than Mercedes vehicles. Consumer Reports ranks BMW 9 places higher in reliability than Mercedes.

Engine

The M240i’s standard 3.0 turbo 6 cyl. produces 19 lbs.-ft. more torque (369 vs. 350) than the AMG CLA 45’s 2.0 turbo 4 cyl.

Fuel Economy and Range

Regenerative brakes improve the 2 Series’ fuel efficiency by converting inertia back into energy instead of wasting it. The AMG CLA 45 doesn’t offer a regenerative braking system.

Transmission

An eight-speed automatic is standard on the BMW 2 Series, for better acceleration and lower engine speed on the highway. Only a seven-speed automatic is available for the AMG CLA 45.

Brakes and Stopping

The 2 Series stops much shorter than the AMG CLA 45:

2 Series

AMG CLA 45

60 to 0 MPH

111.1 feet

125.4 feet

AutoWeek

Tires and Wheels

Changing a flat tire near traffic can be dangerous and inconvenient. The run-flat tires standard on the 2 Series can be driven up to 50 miles without any air pressure, allowing you to drive to a service station for a repair. The AMG CLA 45 doesn’t offer run-flat tires.

Chassis

The 230i is 10 inches shorter than the AMG CLA 45, making the 2 Series easier to handle, maneuver and park in tight spaces.

Passenger Space

The 2 Series Coupe has 1.9 inches more front headroom, 1.3 inches more front legroom, 1.1 inches more rear headroom, 5.9 inches more rear legroom and .2 inches more rear shoulder room than the AMG CLA 45.

Cargo Capacity

The 2 Series Coupe has a larger trunk than the AMG CLA 45 (13.8 vs. 13.1 cubic feet).

With its coupe or convertible body style, valet key, locking rear seatbacks and remote trunk release lockout, the 2 Series offers cargo security. The AMG CLA 45’s non-lockable folding seat and non-lockable remote release defeat cargo security.

Servicing Ease

The 2 Series uses gas struts to support the hood for easier service access. The AMG CLA 45 uses a prop rod to support its heavy hood. It takes two hands to open the hood and set the prop rod, the prop rod gets in the way during maintenance and service, and the prop rod could be knocked out, causing the heavy hood to fall on the person maintaining or servicing the car.

The engine in the 2 Series is mounted longitudinally (North-South), instead of sideways, as in the AMG CLA 45. This makes it easier to service and maintain, because the accessory belts are in front.

Ergonomics

Heated windshield washer nozzles are standard on the 2 Series to prevent washer fluid and nozzles from freezing and help continue to keep the windshield clear in sub-freezing temperatures. The AMG CLA 45 doesn’t offer heated windshield washer nozzles.

In poor weather, headlights can lose their effectiveness as grime builds up on their lenses. This can reduce visibility without the driver realizing. The 2 Series offers available headlight washers to keep headlight output high. The CLA doesn’t offer headlight washers.

While driving with high beams on, sensitive light sensors available for the 2 Series detect other vehicles which could be blinded and automatically switch to low beams. The AMG CLA 45 doesn’t offer automatic dimming high beams.

To help drivers avoid possible obstacles, the 2 Series offers optional cornering lights to illuminate around corners when the turn signals are activated. The AMG CLA 45 doesn’t offer cornering lights. The 2 Series also offers optional adaptive headlights to illuminate around corners automatically by reading vehicle speed and steering wheel angle.

On extremely cold winter days, the 2 Series’ optional heated steering wheel provides comfort, allowing the driver to steer safely and comfortably before the car heater warms up. The CLA doesn’t offer a heated steering wheel.

Model Availability

The BMW 2 Series comes in coupe and convertible bodystyles; the Mercedes AMG CLA 45 isn’t available as a coupe or convertible.

The 2 Series is available in both rear-wheel drive and all-wheel drive configurations. The AMG CLA 45 doesn’t offer a two-wheel drive configuration.

Economic Advantages

Insurance will cost less for the 2 Series owner. The Complete Car Cost Guide estimates that insurance for the 2 Series will cost $4410 to $10175 less than the AMG CLA 45 over a five-year period.

The 2 Series will cost the buyer less in the long run because of its superior resale value. The IntelliChoice estimates that the 2 Series will retain 47.46% to 51.69% of its original price after five years, while the AMG CLA 45 only retains 47%.

According to The Car Book by Jack Gillis, the 2 Series is less expensive to operate than the AMG CLA 45 because it costs $273 less to do the manufacturer’s suggested maintenance for 50,000 miles. Typical repairs cost much less on the 2 Series than the AMG CLA 45, including $367 less for a starter, $138 less for fuel injection, $413 less for a fuel pump and $267 less for a power steering pump.

IntelliChoice estimates that five-year ownership costs (depreciation, financing, insurance, fuel, fees, repairs and maintenance) for the BMW 2 Series will be $5486 to $48184 less than for the Mercedes AMG CLA 45.

Recommendations

Consumer Reports® recommends the BMW 2 Series, based on reliability, safety and performance.

Motor Trend performed a comparison test in its June 2014 issue and they ranked the BMW 2 Series Coupe higher than the Mercedes AMG CLA 45.

J.D. Power and Associates rated the 2 Series second among small premium cars in owner reported satisfaction. This includes how well the vehicle performs and satisfies its owner’s expectations. The AMG CLA 45 isn’t in the top three.

The M235i/M240i was chosen as one of Car and Driver’s “Top Ten” for 3 of the last 5 years. The AMG CLA 45 has never been a Car and Driver “Top Ten” pick.

The 2 Series was chosen as one of Automobile Magazine’s “All Stars” in 2015. The AMG CLA 45 has never been an “All Star.”

© 1991-2018 Advanta-STAR Automotive Research. All rights reserved.

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