• Turbo import pocket rockets - 2014 Mercedes CLA45 AMG vs. 2014 BMW M235i vs. 2014 Subaru WRX STI

      A Subaru going up against a Mercedes with an AMG and a BMW sporting an M badge? Hey, it does not sound as crazy as it once would have before BMW had a 2-Series and Mercedes-Benz produced a turbo 2.0 liter four-cylinder AMG model with all wheel drive. As the Germans move downscale these types of comparisons of brands not traditionally compared will becomes more common. How does the new Subaru WRX STI stack up to its German competition?

      Well, the first thing to notice is its the greatest value. A Subaru does not exactly have the brand appeal of a BMW or a Mercedes-Benz but that much is obvious. Starting at $38,190 and its as tested price of $38,190 makes that Mercedes badge lose some of its luster when the CLA45 AMG tested price comes in at an eye opening $60,625. If the CLA45 AMG loaded up with options is getting to $60k what will the new W205 C63 AMG go for? $80k? Probably.

      The M235i's tested price is $46,025 so it actually comes up in the middle between the STI and the CLA45 AMG. It also does not have all wheel drive or a turbo four-cylinder like the other two. It does offer the greatest displacement at 3.0 liter from its turbo inline-6 versus 2.5 liter for the STI turbo flat-4 and 2.0 liters from the AMG turbo inline-4.

      The WRX STI has the least amount of horsepower and torque at 305 horses and 290 lb-ft. It is outgunned by the 320 horse 330 lb-ft M235i and the 355 horse and 332 lb-ft CLA45 AMG. It shows in the acceleration figures:

      1. CLA45 AMG - 12.7 @ 110.0 1/4 mile, 4.2 0-60
      2. M235i - 13.0 @ 106.6 1/4 mile, 4.4 0-60
      3. WRX STI - 13.1 @ 104.4, 4.6 0-60

      The CLA45 AMG is the quickest and fast of the bunch, decisively. So the acceleration is quite clear but what about the handling performance? Interestingly all three cars pull a .97g skidpad. The skidpad does not tell the whole story and fortunately MotorTrend took all three cars for timed laps on the roadcourse. The result is quite interesting.

      The quickest car around the roadcourse? The WRX STI. Does the fact it has the lightest curb weight of the trio at 3367 pounds help? Certainly. It also seems to manage its nose heavy weight distribution of 59/41 front to rear better than the CLA45 AMG with its incredible 60/40 front to rear bias. It is clear which car here was designed as a front wheel drive originally.

      Streets of Willow laptime:

      1. WRX STI: 1:26.12
      2. CLA45 AMG: 1:26.20
      3. M235i: 1:26.37

      So the least powerful and cheapest car in the comparison has the best laptime. It also wins the comparison. The STI is said to just pack in a ton of fun into the package despite its understeer. The BMW unfortunately comes up short and the laptime likely shows that the tight Streets of Willow course does not favor an M235i without a limited slip differential and an automatic transmission. Whereas the STI has a sportier manual and the CLA45 AMG a technology advanced dual clutch the BMW is stuck with an automatic. What's going on here? Open diff, automatic, is this really a BMW?

      The STI wins and deservedly so. A great value and all around package. The CLA45 AMG shows it is the dragster of the group and very capable... but boring. MotorTrend cites the lack of emotion and so it finishes last.

      A Subaru going up against a BMW and a Mercedes? That thought certainly does not look so crazy in retrospect.

      3rd Place: Mercedes-Benz CLA45 AMG

      Big on speed, style, and price; small on emotion.

      2nd Place: BMW M235i

      A well-balanced rear-driver in need of options for pizzazz.

      1st Place: Subaru WRX STI

      Launch Edition: Loud, fast, surefooted, amenity-packed—it typifies fun.

      2014 BMW M235i 2014 Mercedes Benz CLA45 AMG 2015 Subaru WRX STI (Launch Edition)
      DRIVETRAIN LAYOUT Front-engine, RWD Front-engine, AWD Front-engine, AWD
      ENGINE TYPE Turbocharged I-6, alum block/head Turbocharged I-4, alum block/head Turbocharged flat-4, alum block/heads
      VALVETRAIN DOHC, 4 valves/cyl DOHC, 4 valves/cyl DOHC, 4 valves/cyl
      DISPLACEMENT 181.8 cu in/2979 cc 121.5 cu in/1991 cc 149.9 cu in/2457 cc
      COMPRESSION RATIO 10.2:1 8.6:1 8.2:1
      POWER (SAE NET) 320 hp @ 5800 rpm 355 hp @ 6000 rpm 305 hp @ 6000 rpm
      TORQUE (SAE NET) 330 lb-ft @ 1300 rpm 332 lb-ft @ 2250 rpm 290 lb-ft @ 4000 rpm
      REDLINE 7000 rpm 6250 rpm 6700 rpm
      WEIGHT TO POWER 10.9 lb/hp 10.1 lb/hp 11.0 lb/hp
      TRANSMISSION 8-speed automatic 7-speed twin-clutch auto. 6-speed manual
      AXLE/FINAL-DRIVE RATIO 3.08:1/2.05:1 2.44:1/1.17:1 3.90:1/2.94:1
      SUSPENSION, FRONT; REAR Struts, coil springs, anti-roll bar; multi-link, coil springs, anti-roll bar Struts, coil springs, anti-roll bar; multi-link, coil springs, anti-roll bar Struts, coil springs, anti-roll bar; multi-link, coil springs, anti-roll bar
      STEERING RATIO 14.5:1 14.5:1 13.1:1
      TURNS LOCK-TO-LOCK 2.2 2.7 2.5
      BRAKES, F;R 13.4-in vented disc; 11.4-in vented disc, ABS 13.8-in vented, drilled, grooved disc; 13.0-in vented, drilled disc, ABS 13.0-in vented disc; 12.4-in vented disc, ABS
      WHEELS, F;R 7.5 x 18-in; 8.0 x 18-in, cast aluminum 9.0 x 19-in, cast aluminum 8.5 x 18-in, forged aluminum
      TIRES, F;R 225/40ZR18 88Y; 245/35ZR18 92Y Michelin Pilot Super Sport 235/40ZR19 91Y Dunlop Sport Maxx RT MO 245/40R18 97W Dunlop Sport Maxx RT
      WHEELBASE 105.9 in 106.3 in 104.3 in
      TRACK, F/R 59.7/60.4 in 61.3/61.4 in 60.2/60.6 in
      LENGTH x WIDTH x HEIGHT 174.5 x 69.8 x 55.2 in 184.7 x 70.0 x 55.7 in 180.9 x 70.7 x 58.1 in
      TURNING CIRCLE 35.8 ft 36.1 ft 36.0 ft
      CURB WEIGHT 3494 lb 3600 lb 3367 lb
      WEIGHT DIST., F/R 53/47 % 60/40 % 59/41 %
      HEADROOM, F/R 40.1/36.5 in 37.0/35.6 in 39.8/37.1 in
      LEGROOM, F/R 41.5/33.0 in 40.2/27.1 in 43.3/35.4 in
      SHOULDER ROOM, F/R 54.4/53.4 in 56.0/53.2 in 55.6/54.2 in
      CARGO VOLUME 13.8 cu ft 13.1 cu ft 12.0 cu ft
      0-30 1.7 sec 1.4 sec 1.3 sec
      0-40 2.4 2.2 2.3
      0-50 3.3 3.0 3.2
      0-60 4.4 4.2 4.6
      0-70 5.7 5.3 6.0
      0-80 7.3 6.9 7.5
      0-90 9.0 8.6 9.7
      0-100 11.2 10.5 11.9
      PASSING, 45-65 MPH 2.2 2.2 2.5
      QUARTER MILE 13.0 sec @ 106.6 mph 12.7 sec @ 110.0 mph 13.1 sec @ 104.4 mph
      BRAKING, 60-0 MPH 103 ft 105 ft 108 ft
      LATERAL ACCELERATION 0.97 g (avg) 0.97 g (avg) 0.97 g (avg)
      MT FIGURE EIGHT 24.9 sec @ 0.78 g (avg) 24.6 sec @ 0.79 g (avg) 24.9 sec @ 0.79 g (avg)
      1.6-MI ROAD COURSE LAP 86.37 sec 86.20 sec 86.12 sec
      TOP-GEAR REVS @ 60 MPH 1800 rpm 1500 rpm 2400 rpm
      BASE PRICE $44,025 $48,375 $38,190
      PRICE AS TESTED $46,025 $60,625 $38,190
      AIRBAGS Dual front, front side, f/r head Dual front, front side, f/r curtain, front knee Dual front, front side, f/r head
      BASIC WARRANTY 4 yrs/50,000 miles 4 yrs/50,000 miles 3 yrs/36,000 miles
      POWERTRAIN WARRANTY 4 yrs/50,000 miles 4 yrs/50,000 miles 5 yrs/60,000 miles
      ROADSIDE ASSISTANCE 4 yrs/unlimited miles Unlimited 3 yrs/36,000 miles
      FUEL CAPACITY 13.7 gal 14.8 gal 15.9 gal
      EPA CITY/HWY/COMB ECON 22/32/25 mpg 23/31/26 mpg 17/23/19 mpg
      ENERGY CONS., CITY/HWY 153/105 kW-hrs/100 miles 147/109 kW-hrs/100 miles 198/147 kW-hrs/100 miles
      CO2 EMISSIONS, COMB 0.76 lb/mile 0.75 lb/mile 1.01 lb/mile
      REAL MPG, CITY/HWY/COMB 22/29/25 mpg 23/30/26 mpg 22/25/23 mpg
      RECOMMENDED FUEL Unleaded premium Unleaded premium Unleaded premium

      This article was originally published in forum thread: Turbo import pocket rockets - 2014 Mercedes CLA45 AMG vs. 2014 BMW M235i vs. 2014 Subaru WRX STI started by Sticky View original post
      Comments 42 Comments
      1. singletrack's Avatar
        singletrack -
        Click here to enlarge Originally Posted by Sticky Click here to enlarge
        That's the crappiest steering feel in the world.
        Our only hope is that they still keep the M models focused...if some floaty crap on the low end helps finance that, and that makes the "other" people happy, then I have no problem with it. If it overtakes the brand, then we have a big problem.
      1. singletrack's Avatar
        singletrack -
        Click here to enlarge Originally Posted by Sticky Click here to enlarge
        That's fine. My preference is the E46 steering.
        Splitting hairs IMO - two great cars...maybe one is a 9.5 in feedback and the other a 10. I can accept that the 46 might feel better to is lighter which definitely helps.