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We Tear Through France in the New Mercedes You Can Actually Afford

The fast, furious, and affordable Mercedes CLA is coming, and we went to Provence to say bonjour.

We first saw the Mercedes CLA on Super Bowl Sunday, where it miraculously took our eyes off Kate Upton in one of the night's most hotly anticipated ads. Besides looking incredibly sleek and modern, the car's sub-$30K base price had us choking on our Buffalo wings. We liked what we saw, so much, in fact, that we graciously accepted an invitation to the south of France to drive the CLA on some of the most twisty, turny, and terrifying mountain roads in the entire world.

Thanks in no part to our driving skills (or lack thereof), the 211-horspower compact sedan hugged the roads like a needy girlfriend and kept us from falling off a cliff into a fiery French grave. The direct-steer system, in conjunction with its sports suspension, provided plenty of road feel. When it was necessary to blow past a rickety truck full of stinky cheese on a narrow country road, the 7-speed dual clutch automatic transmission—which we kept in "sport mode" the whole time—downshifted perfectly. The interior is just as performance-oriented as the exterior, and we felt like real champs nestled in the sports seats gripping the thick steering wheel as a French schoolboy we zipped by gave us a thumbs up. (That's not, like, the finger over there, is it?)

The fact that this car is priced the way it is means that even regular dudes like us can afford it, and that is truly cause for celebration. So drool over these pics, watch this video, and practice telling people that, yeah, that's your Benz parked outside.

Spec Check:
Base price: $29,950
Engine: 2-liter in-line 4
Horsepower: 211
Torque: 350 lbs-ft
0-60:  6.7 seconds

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