2014 Mercedes CLA 250

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The new Mercedes CLA is one thing no previous Mercedes-Benz has ever been – front-wheel-drive (with AWD optional) and also another thing very few Mercedes Benzes have ever been – fairly inexpensive.'14 CLA lead

If you can afford a loaded Camry you can probably afford this car. But the CLA is not a Camry – or a Toyota.

And that’s just the point.

The object here is to sell more cars to more people – to make money on volume as well as per car. To increase the number of people who are part of the MB family – and not just lusters-after.

The tough part is doing that without cheapening the MB brand.

Does the CLA pull it off?

WHAT IT ISMercedes-Benz CLA 220 CDI, (C117), 2012

The CLA is Mercedes’ new entry-level sedan, slotting in just below the C-Class in size – and price.

But way above it in curb appeal, performance and fuel-efficiency (if not back seat legroom).

Front-wheel-drive is the standard layout – a first for a Mercedes-Benz passenger car. And a unique, too – no other current Mercedes vehicle is available in FWD form. This version of the CLA – the CLA 250 – carries a base price of $29,900 – which also makes it it the most affordable Mercedes passenger car available.

But don’t mistake this for an economy car with a three-pointed star. '14 CL45 AMG 1

The AWD CLA45 AMG will vaporize such notions in a cloud of fast and furious. Twin-scroll turbos boost the output of its 2.0 liter engine to an incredible 355 hp – and 0-60 in just over 4 seconds (while still getting more than 30 on the highway).

This one starts at $47,450.

But even the base CL250 is no slow poke. In fact, it’s a fast poke- a full second quicker to 60 than a C250 (and delivers much better gas mileage, too).

Either way, the CLA is a groundbreaking car for MB – and for buyers, too. It doesn’t – yet – have any direct competition. BMW’s entry-level car – the 1 Series – comes only in coupe/convertible from (and is RWD). The least expensive BMW sedan – the base 3 Series – is larger, more formally styled – and significantly more expensive, with a starting price of $32,750.'14 CLA front quarter

The Lexus ES350 is FWD – but it starts at $36,620 – and it’s also a larger (and much softer-driving) car than the sexy/sporty CLA.

The closest CLA analog is the not-quite-here-yet Audi A3 sedan. It’s also available in either FWD or AWD versions – and its projected base price of $29,900 just happens to be exactly the same as the CLA250’s base price.


But, the A3’s a 2015 – and not actually available yet (at the time this review was written in early March of 2014). It should be out in a couple of months. But until then, the CLA largely has the field to itself – and a clear shot at the end zone.


The CLA is all-new, the latest addition to MB’s rapidly proliferating lineup.

WHAT’S GOODMercedes-Benz CLA 250 Edition 1, (C117), 2012

Camry/Avalon price tag – Mercedes-Benz key fob.

Not low-rent. It looks, feels – and drives – like a Mercedes ought to.

Excellent – or exceptional – performance. Take your pick.

High-end equipment/technology (10 Gig music storage hard drive, adaptive cruise control, panorama sunroof) is available.


Space is tight in both rows; it’s a much smaller car than a Camry  . . . or a C-Class.

Low-slung roofline, high beltline and fastback glass restricts outward visibility relative to a more conventionally (formally) styled luxury sedan such as the C-Class (or a BMW 3).'14 CLA back seats pic

Some equipment  – such as heated seats – that arguably ought to be standard equipment in a nearly $30k car still costs extra – or is only available as part of packages that boost the price of the car well beyond $30k.


Both versions of the new CLA are powered by a 2.0 liter turbocharged four – a size (and type) of engine that seems to be becoming the “universal” engine among smaller/entry luxury cars. The BMW 3 comes with one – and so does the Audi A4. The Range Rover Evoque –  and the Cadillac CTS, too. These engines are not coming from the same factory, however. Each is unique to its brand. So why 2.0? It’s not too big (for gas mileage reasons) and it’s not too small (for power/performance reasons). It’s a “just right” size for these times – especially when turbocharged.'14 CLA engine 1

Speaking of which.

The CLA250’s version of the 2 liter engine has a single turbo and produces a maximum output of 208 hp – as well as 258 ft.-lbs. of torque – the torque output being comparable to the output of a much larger V-6 engine. This gets the fairly heavy Baby Benz (3,262 lbs.) moving right smartly when you need it to: Zero to 60 in about 6.4 seconds for the FWD version (4-Matic AWD is available optionally). But the CLA  is also capable of 38 MPG on the highway when you’re just loping along – and 26 MPG in city driving.

That is spectacular efficiency – almost as high as the most economical economy cars. To give you some perspective, the 2014 Nissan Versa – which is one of the most fuel-efficient new economy cars on the road – maxxes out at 40 on the highway – only 2 MPG better than the CLA250.'14 CLA shifter pic

But the Versa does not get to 60 in 6.4 seconds.

If that’s not speedy enough for you, well – there’s more. One more turbo (two total, twin scroll type) and a bunch of heavy duty internals later, the 2.0 engine’s output rises to an incredible 355 hp and 332 ft.-lbs. of torque. This is V-8 power out of an engine with half the cylinders and a third the displacement. So equipped, the CLA45 AMG rages to 60 in about 4.3 seconds – supercar quickness – and manages 23 city, 31 highway.

Mercedes has broken new ground here.

Hell, they’ve ripped up the entire lawn.'14 CL45 engine

Both versions of the CLA come with seven-speed dual-clutch automatics, but they’re each tweaked for the application. The 250’s version has has three driver-selectable modes – Economy, Sport and Manual – the latter controllable via paddle shifters on the steering wheel. The CLA45’s version is beefed up to handle the increased hp and set up to shift more aggressively when in Sport/Manual mode.

In the CLA250, there is a stalk-type column shifter (in addition to the secondary paddles) which you tap up and down to engage Drive and Reverse – with a button on the tip that you tap to engage Park. In the CL45 AMG, the not-so-sporty stalk is disappeared in favor of a meaty grab handle (brushed metal finished) on the center console. Naturlich, there are also secondary paddle shifters on the steering wheel.'14 CL45 grab handle

While the CLA250 is available in either FWD or AWD versions, the CL45 AMG comes only in AWD form.

Both engines want – but do not require – premium fuel. They also come with automatic engine stop, to save fuel rather than waste it when the car is idling (as at a red light). The engine re-starts automatically when the driver takes his foot off the brake and depresses the accelerator pedal.

This feature can be turned off, if you so desire.


Who’d a thunk it? A FWD Mercedes!'14 CLA 250 road 1

But, that’s the trend – and the truth is, FWD makes a lot of sense. It’s an inherently more space-efficient (and weight-saving) layout than a rear-drive layout, because with FWD, the engine/transaxle (that’s the transmission and drive axles) are snugged together up front rather than spread out over the length of the car. The rear axle assembly (and a long driveshaft connecting it to the transmission) are eliminated entirely. This also frees up interior space, because a “tunnel” in the floorpan for the driveshaft is no longer needed.

A FWD car usually delivers better grip on slick surfaces, too – because it’s being pulled along rather than pushed – and because of the traction advantage of having the weight of the drivetrain over the drive wheels.'14 CLA dash detail

But, there has – historically – been a downside.

Because there’s more weight on the nose (and because the drive wheels are also tasked with steering the car) the FWD layout has not heretofore been regarded as the optimum layout for balanced high-speed handling. This is why most performance cars (including most luxury-performance sedans) have – historically – been built on rear-drive layouts.

But that is changing.

For one, high-speed handling takes a real-world back seat to being able to make it work when there’s a little snow on the ground. For two, FWD-based vehicles are not necessarily clumsy handlers (ask an Audi owner).'14 CLA 250 road 2

Not anymore, that is.

The obvious things – like torque steer – that used to clearly call attention to a FWD car’s limitations as a performance car – have been disappeared by German engineering brain sweat and the technological advances which flow from that. Punch it and the CLA does not do the herky-jerky left-right dance that – not so long ago – was the characteristic flaw of powerful FWD cars. Instead, it just goes – pulling directly and authoritatively – very much like a RWD car. There is no sensation discernible to the driver that the CLA is a front-driver. That includes in the curves – which the CLA carves most adroitly. On my informal test track – the rightly-named Bent Mountain – the CLA snapped ’round 35 MPH-posted curves at 55 with no light-in-the-tail, front end tacking-toward-the-inside-of-the-turn FWD car flapdoodle. It felt more poised, in fact, than the last C-Class (RWD) I test drove. This may be a function of the CLA’s more sporting suspension (the car does ride firmly – especially if equipped with the optional 18-inch wheels and tires) but the bottom line is you’d be challenged to ID this car as a FWD car without crawling underneath for a look-see.

It really is that good.'14 CLA 250 road 3

Fuel economy is even better.

I took the CLA250 on a trip to Raleigh, NC from southwest Virginia near Roanoke. This is an appx. four hour trip driving 75-80 most of the way. I did not need to stop to refuel – and had plenty of fuel left in the 13.1 gallon tank when I arrived. You can go just shy of 500 miles (497.8 to be precise) on the highway on a single fill-up.

The CLA’s slightly bigger brother – the C250 – would be pit-stopping much sooner – if it didn’t have a larger (17.4) gallon fuel tank. The C250’s max range on the highway is 539.4 miles at the rate of 31 MPG. You do the math. And the C is slow – at least, compared with the CLA. It (the C250) takes 7.3 seconds to reach 60  – almost 1 full second behind the CLA250. The V-6 powered C300 outruns the CLA250 – but not embarrassingly so. It gets to 60 in 6 flat. But it also gets 20 city, 27 highway. That’s down 11 MPG vs. the fuel-sippy (and pretty doggone zippy) CLA250.'14 CL45 road 4

Order the CL45 AMG and you will – cuing Conan – crush enemies, see them driven before you and hear the lamentations of the women.

The thing’s a bullet – a 44. magnum hollow point – but it only costs “.22s” to shoot it. It is quicker than the 6.2 liter V-8 powered C63 AMG, which gets to 60 in 4.5 seconds vs. 4.3 for the CL45 – but only costs about half as much to feed (and thousands less to buy).

The C63 is an epic gas guzzler: 13 city, 19 highway -worse than my ’76 Pontiac Trans-Am – vs. the CLA45’s 23 city, 31 highway. Even if you’re flush with cash, that’s a hard to ignore disparity – especially given that the C63’s not quicker than the CL45. Given its appetite, it ought to be. The fact that it’s not spells Bad News for the C63 once the word gets out about the CL45.

There are two downsides to CLA ownership, on-the-road-wise.'14 CL45 AMG road 5

First – as mentioned earlier – even as-it-comes CLA250’s ride is on the firm side. Not harsh – but definitely firm. It becomes very firm if equipped with the optional Sport package, which includes those aggressive compound/stiff sidewall 18-inch tires mentioned earlier.

The CL45 AMG’s ride is firmer still.

An optional automatic/adjustable suspension for the CLA250 would be nice – and Benz will probably want to address this, if the object is to broaden the CLA’s potential buyer pool beyond just the 20-30-something enthusiast driver crowd.'14 CL45 interior console shifter

Second, visibility’s not the greatest due to the extreme rake of the fastback rear glass (and the tall, federally mandated back seat head restraints which limit the already restricted rearward view) and the low-cut roofline. This is compensated for to some extent by smart (deliberate or inadvertent) positioning of the B pillars which – though thick, as they are in almost all modern cars – don’t get in the way of your peripheral vision too much. There are also electronic supplements – an automatic blind spot warning system, with lights built into the car’s outside mirrors.

AT THE CURB'14 CLA 250 curb 1

The CLA is styled to have a “coupe-like” profile – the latest take on the four-door-two-door concept Benz pioneered a few years back when it debuted the CLS. Others have since imitated the concept (e.g., VW Comfort Coupe) but Mercedes gets credit for being first.

But unlike the CLS, the CLA does not cost $72k – even in AMG form.

However, the CLA also doesn’t have the space you’d get in the CLS – or even the C-Class, for that matter. Both rows are tight – but the second row is really tight. Legroom maxxes out – minimizes out? – at 27.1 inches. The C sedan – which is actually shorter overall (180.8 inches bumper to bumper vs. 182.3 for the sleek CLA) has six-plus inches more legroom in the second row (33.4 inches). A Toyota Camry’s backseat offers 38.9 inches – almost a foot more room for your feet (and knees).'14 CLA back seats 2

Rear headroom is also a tight squeeze (35.4 inches vs. 36.9 in the C-Class) and the trunk is tiny – 13.1 cubic feet. However, this is actually a bit more trunk than you have in the C Class – 12.4 cubes. This is the inevitable result of the C-Class sedan’s being shorter overall than the CLA while still having a more leggy back seat. Compromises have to be made somewhere.

The CLA, in contrast, sacrifices trunk space – and legroom –  for the sake of a sexier, more sinuous shape.


This car looks great – and far from entry level (unlike the old 190s and – frankly – the current C-Class). The interior is as sharp as the exterior – with high-grade finishing (even the carpets have stitched edging) throughout. '14 CLA 250 curb 3

A 190 this isn’t.

The only problem I foresee for Mercedes is that the CLA could peel away C-Class – and maybe even CLS –  buyers who love the looks – and the price tag – who can live without the extra inches in the back seat.

Someone like me, for instance.

THE REST'14 CLA tail-light detail

The seat heaters are top-drawer – they get piping hot, not merely warm – but they aren’t standard. You have to buy the Premium Package ($2,300) which – in its defense- also includes an upgraded Harman/Kardon LOGIC7 surround sound stereo with 12 speakers. However, Mercedes could have messed with the heads of competitors even more than it already has by including the heated seats as part of the standard equipment package in the $29k as-it-sits CLA250.

Space – the absence thereof – also manifest in one other slightly inconvenient way. The buttons for the AC, heat and fan are small – and tucked down low (and recessed slightly) at the very bottom of the center stack. Just ahead of them are flip-up lids for storage cubbies and coffee cups – and these (when up) partially obstruct easy finger access to the controls, especially the “up” and “down” buttons for fan speed.'14 CLA LCD

On the other hand, the iPad-like flat screen is slick-looking and well-positioned. And the COMMAND interface is much improved, too. Master a few basics and it’s among the easiest to use without having to ponder first – or fiddle with buttons overmuch.

The Sport package – a $2,200 option for the CLA250 – adds some AMG enhancements, including a body kit with a more aggressive front clip and those super low-profile 225/40R-18 “summer” tires. Steering response is even quicker with these meats and the car will amaze you with its absolute refusal to break loose in the curves, even when driving at Ludicrous Speed. But test drive this one for awhile before you buy it, though – as those 18-inch “summer” tires do not help the CLA’s already stiff ride at all.


I personally love this car. It is – hands down – my favorite new Benz. My favorite Benz, period. It was hard handing back the keys. If you’ve been reading my reviews over the years, you’ll know this is rare praise from me – for any new car.

There is nothing else like it in the MB lineup – and nothing like it anywhere else, either.

Three cheers, guys. This one’s out of the park.

Throw it in the Woods?


  1. May the drifting sands of time mercifully bury the political madness of the past together with the memory of all the madmen who perpetrated these evil schemes on the ‘ordinary’ people!

    Thanks Eric for the test and evaluation of the Mercedes GLA! We are looking at purchasing a GLK 250 Bluetec Diesel Mercedes Benz SUV, based on a lot of research and on the remark YOU made that this vehicle (although not a MB model which costs a hundred grand) is put together with the same high grade components and same attention to detail and quality as if it was!

  2. * * * * NSFW Drone Pix. Don’t look. * * * *
    ACLU sues CIA

    TV Reality Singer Shakira

    Pakistani Drone Bombing Reality Shakira

    * * * * Safe to look now. Keep Calm & Pay Taxes* * * *
    Drones don’t kill people. Nations don’t kill people. People kill people. People build drones. People fly drones.

    Holocaust Hoax. World War Hoax. Drone Hoax. Bradley Manning Hoax. Snowden Hoax. Nobody dies who doesn’t deserve it. Only the enemies perish. They only watch the bad guys. The good guys are still winning, like always.

    Do not exit your grid. Stay in your matrix. They are in control. Monkey see monkey do. Monkey watch monkey no think. All is well.
    * * * *

    Sorry All. It only hurts when I think.

  3. The Germans more than anyone shaped who we are today. They were the first listeners/watchers. First glued to radios, and then glued to the Nazi television broadcasts, which were the first broadcast TV of any kind.

    There’s lots of Germans in my extended family. I remember being told about how they were when they first left Germany.

    Whether scattered throughout many decades to SW Africa or N America, they stayed in touch through newspapers and later were always glued to the radio once it became available, and always listening to the same type of German broadcasts. Heaven help any kid who came any where near them when they were trying to listen to their programs.

    Germany Emigration and Immigration

  4. Joseph Stalin

    was the second leader of the Soviet Union. His real name was Iosif Vissarionovich Dzhugashvili, the name “Stalin” (derived from combining Russian stal, “steel” with “Lenin”) originally was a conspirative nickname; however, it stuck to him and he continued to call himself Stalin after the Russian Revolution.

    Stalin also used at least a dozen other names for the purpose of secret communications, but for obvious reasons most of them remain unknown.

    Childhood and early years

    Born in Gori, Georgia in 1879 to illiterate peasant parents (who had been serfs at birth), his harsh spirit grew from undeserved and severe beatings by his father, inspiring vengeful feelings towards anyone in a position to wield power over him (perhaps also a reason he became a revolutionary).

    His mother set him on a path to become a priest, and he studied Russian Orthodox Christianity until he was nearly twenty. His involvement with the socialist movement began at seminary school, from which he was expelled in 1899.

    After being expelled, Stalin worked for a decade with the political underground in the Caucasus. He soon followed Vladimir Lenin’s ideology about centralism and a strong party of “professional revolutionaries”.

    His practical experience made him useful in Lenin’s Bolshevik party leading up to the 1917 October Revolution.


    Rise to power

    Stalin spent his first years after the revolution building his small position secretly into the most powerful one in the communist party. After Lenin’s death in 1924, a triumvirate of Stalin, Kamenev, and Zinoviev governed against Trotsky and Bukharin.

    Then Stalin abandoned his alliance and joined together with Bukharin against the new opposition of Trotsky, Kamenev, and Zinoviev.

    By 1928 Stalin’s supremacy was complete. He had control over the party and the country but not a formally complete power until the Great Purges of 1936-1938. The final stage of Stalin absolute came after he had Trotsky murdered in Mexico in 1940. After that only foreign minister Vyacheslav Molotov remained as the lone Bolshevik besides Stalin.

    Purges and mass murders

    Stalin consolidated his power with Great Purges against opponents, most notably the old cadres and the rank and file of the Bolshevik Party.

    Tactics included imprisonment in work camps (Gulags) to assassination (such as Trotsky and Kirov). Several show trials were held in Moscow, to serve as examples for the many other trials to be carried out elsewhere in the country. The four key trials from 1936 to 1938 were, The Trial of the Sixteen, Trial of the Seventeen, Trial of Red Army generals, including Marshal Tukhachevsky, and finally the Trial of the Twenty One, including Bukharin.

    Under the pretext of socialism, Stalin terrorized large segments of the Soviet population, such as the Kulaks, who were formerly prosperous farmers who were disinherited when agriculture was collectivized.

    He orchestrated a massive famine in the Ukraine known as the Holodomor in which 5 million people died. Including the purges, forced famines, state terrorism, labor camps, and forced migrations, Stalin was responsible for the death of as many as 40 million people within the Soviet Union.

    In 1939, Stalin made a pact with Nazi Germany which divided Eastern Europe between the two powers. In 1941, the pact was dissolved and Hitler began invading the Soviet Union. The Soviet Army put up fierce resistance, but were ineffective against advancing Nazi forces.

    The Germans reached the outskirsts of Moscow, at the battle of Stalingrad in 1942-43, after the deaths of 1 million soldiers, the Red Army was able to regain the initiative of the war. The US and UK military industrial complex loaned them military equipment on credit and the Soviet forces were able to regain their lost territory and push their over-stretched enemy back to Germany itself.

    From the end of 1944 large sections of eastern Germany came under Stalin’s Soviet Union occupation and on May 2, 1945, the capital city Berlin was taken with equipment provided by American and British manufacturers.

    One quarter of the Russian population was wiped out in the war, the main winners were the banks and military industrial factories.Post-war era

    Stalin continued his genocidal policies while exerting ruthless control over the Soviet Union and its satellite states until his death in 1953. More than 15 million Germans were removed from eastern Germany and pushed into central and western Germany.

    Russians, Ukrainians, Poles, Czech etc. were then moved onto German land. Other ethnic groups, like the Crimean Tartars and Volga Germans, were moved to the Asian part of the Soviet Union. Millions of German POWs and Soviet ex-POWs were sent to the Gulags.

    The eastern European states occupied by the Red Army were established as communist Satellite states and put to work helping repay the Western Banks and the Western Military Industrial Complex.

    Stalin is often credited with successfully industrializing the Soviet Union. The Soviet economy was industrialized under his tyrannical reign, but little of the fruits of this labor benefited Stalin, or the citizens of the Soviet Union. The main beneficiaries of this increased production were international lenders and international corporations, very little benefit ever accrued to the Soviet workers or people themselves.

    List of the 30,000 Soviet forced labor camps. Most of the Gulag system was operated at a profit in the mining, construction, and timber industries. Stalin skimmed off the top, the rest went to International Creditors and Manufacturers who had provided machinery and expertise in return for the lion’s share of the profits.

    • Yes, to call Stalin a scumbag would be to insult ordinary, run-of-the-mill scumbags everywhere. His government was the naked State incarnate, stripped of any thin veneer of respectability or pretense of service to its subjects. Orwell’s “Oceania” was patterned after Stalin’s Russia.

      Although I lack the personal/family connection to Stalin’s atrocities, I realize full well that our former “ally” and darling of the American Progressive movement practically made Hitler look like a girl scout. (Is it due to that link to the American Left that more is not taught about Communist atrocities?) In fact I am incredulous that anyone in the Ukraine today would support rejoining Russia after the way that Stalin condemned millions there to a slow agonizing death through starvation.

      For what it is worth, if there were any Russian cars sold in the U.S. I would not particularly be interested in buying one of those either.

      • The ideal state, if it need exist at all would be:

        ordinary. run by the ordinary. not the best, not the worst, just ordinary people. say garbage men level minds for example, get the basics done. no exciting plans for the future. if there’s to be any excitement and planning, it’ll have to come from somewhere else.

        no pretense. no service. just a bunch of guys that come around, throw your shit in a truck and give you your cans back. you don’t get to talk to them. it wouldn’t do much good if you could.

        unresponsive. they’re loud and simple. they don’t really give a crap about you one way or another, other than in some fuzzy manner, they understand that they’re only getting paid because they’re doing something you need done.

        not respectable. I loathe the respectable state. I hate forcing people to feed the hungry, care for the aged and sick, clothe the naked, house the homeless, teach the children. I pray for the wettest wetbacks to come here in droves, and pick every resource of theirs clean. For the blackest black Africans to steal and loot their infrastructure even to the last brick and last mortar.

        no do-gooders. no recordkeeping. Garbage men need just take your garbage. Not weigh it or keep records of it. Not charge different amounts. Just take it away. The thing is there isn’t anything more evil than the do-gooders. And their prisons. And their surveillance. And their rules for our behavior. And their seemingly respectable do-goodery. And their documentations of everything anyone’s ever done or will ever do.

        no state exceptionalism. American exceptionalism is the greatest atrocity of all. The eternal atrocity that seeks to never end. Not until everything is acheived by force, and then the achievements are forced ever higher. And someday, this force will escape this planet, and then stars. A galaxy of starship troopers.

        no state force for good. Everywhere the force is with them. Forcing each other to be better. Forcing ourselves to give more. Forcing ourselves to eat right. Forcing ourselves to look right. Forcing each other to act right. Forcing all people to be nice. Forcing everyone to be pretty. Forcing everyone to be clean. Forcing everything to be sanitary.

        no force machinery. Building force machinery so that all people can be said to abstain from force. Empowering a race of force overlord Gorts. Gorts that will keep us safe. Force us to be moral. For us to do right. To be fair. To keep our word. To never lie or cheat. To never have secrets. To never be unaccountable. To never be lazy or mean.

        naked. it should openly declare its intentions no matter how brutal. pretense is expensive. pretense breeds advanced slavery. slaves who are soothed and comforted by pretense. who naively believe the temporary pretenses will always remain.
        – – –

        Eric Blair (pen name George Orwell)
        was a policeman in Burma, India. Later he was a high school teacher in England. Other times he was a hobo, a writer, a critic, and a journalist-advocate of socialist revolutions in civil wars of Catalonia, Spain.

        The Spanish Civil War played the most important part in defining Orwell’s socialism. He wrote in 1937: “I have seen wonderful things and at last really believe in Socialism, which I never did before.”

        Having witnessed the success of the anarcho-syndicalist communities, for example in Anarchist Catalonia, and the subsequent brutal suppression of the anarcho-syndicalists, anti-Stalin communist parties and revolutionaries by the Soviet Union-backed Communists, Orwell returned from Catalonia a staunch anti-Stalinist and joined the Independent Labour Party.

        He was strongly influenced by the Trotskyist and anarchist critiques of the Soviet regime, and by the anarchists’ emphasis on individual freedom. Orwell stated: “a real Socialist is one who wishes – not merely conceives it as desirable, but actively wishes – to see tyranny overthrown.” “Every line of serious work that I have written since 1936 has been written, directly or indirectly, against totalitarianism and for democratic socialism, as I understand it.”

        “For some years past I have managed to make the capitalist class pay me for writing books against capitalism. This state of affairs is not going to last forever … the only régime which, in the long run, will dare to permit freedom of speech is a Socialist régime. If Fascism triumphs I am finished as a writer – that is to say, finished in my only effective capacity. That of itself would be a sufficient reason for joining a Socialist party.

        For all his brilliance, Orwell makes the same error that allegedly freedom loving Americans are making. He thinks a new system will make him freer. And keep him free. I accept working on existing systems as a secondary priority. But never the primary one.

        Orwell fails to see, that if behind all the systems, there are the same loan sharks of Federal Reserve Banks and their fiat money, nothing is ever going to change. He fails to understand, that he has to accrue his own wealth. And forgo their poisoned goods and services. Even if it means a lower standard of living.

        You need produce or acquire wealth under your own control, if you ever hope to someday live free.

    • Churchill first admired Hitler, saying that if his country were in the trouble that Germany was in at the time (consequences of Versailles) he would wish that it would have a strong and sensible person like Hitler to get it back on track. After it was decided that Germany would be destroyed instead of communism Winston’s admiration turned to Stalin, whom he called at Yalta a great human being to be admired for his honesty and straight forward predictable character. Of course, it was all just spin for the masses, as he knew that Stalin would never give up an acre of new land that he had just captured. He did not and it took another 4 decades before those enslaved lands liberated themselves from the oppression.

      • I think Winston Churchill Smith is Double Plus Right, at least to a point. Better a Stalin devil who plays with his cards face up and nothing up his sleeve we can’t see.

        Not to ignore, not to fail to mitigate, not to continue to sweep down the memory hole, all the evil things Stalin did.

        But at least with Russia, China, Saudi Arabia, Iran, Pakistan, today, it’s fairly easy to determine what’s really going on. The men in charge say what they mean, mean what they say.

        Sometimes that means naked brutality of the worst sort, but at least you see things as they are.

        Hitler/Mussolini/Roosevelt/Christian/Israeli type irrational psychopathy, that’s much more lethal in the long term. Their’s no solutions to crazy equations.

        The false prophets that read great speeches by eloquent psychopaths. The kind of cultural ingrained irrationality and leadership is the hardest of all to defend against.

        Greece completely vanquished Israel, but they never lost their fear of them. Before long, it was Israeli thought which assimilated Greece. The Borg’s Kosher meal was never fully digested, and instead the prey consumed the Borg himself from inside his bowels.

        The types of men with bibles, talmuds, darwinisms, eugenicisms, can never really be defeated if some of them are allowed to live.

        The mystical mind is fiercely destructive of anything it doesn’t see as real. The mystic’ll even stack himself and his loved ones like bricks to build walls to keep away things he doesn’t want from his holy lands.

        When a charismatic leader tells lies to the kind of men who’ll put their kids on altars and light them on fire for YHWH or Der Fuhrer or Stal-Lenin without hesitation…

        That’s a recipe for endless war.

        That’s the crap sandwich we’ve had our Mom’s pack for us and have been wearily eating every day in the Western World since 1913.

        Since the Federal Reserve Bank church of social unity was built and opened to the faithful.

  5. I am going to leave the Nazi discussion to more informed minds than mine. The thing I don’t like about this car is that it is FWD. To me, that cheapens the brand. I would rather drive a high line VW CC or a Passat than one of these. At least with the VW, you get a heavily discounted car with a little room in it. This car is a gaudy car for people who like Benz logos and who understand little else.

    I hope that BMW doesn’t start copying this lousy idea, torque steer or not.

    • It’s not likely that there are many RWD Purists at this market segment. Even buyers who actually understand the relative pros and cons of RWD will rarely, if ever drive this Baby Benz hard enough to detect any difference. For them, lack of RWD will remain more of a theoretical disadvantage than a real one.

      I respect your opinions. But few will share them. Not enough to keep the CLA 250 from selling like crazy.

      • Hi Mike,

        I drive pretty hard and – no BS – this car handles superbly. So much so that it is virtually impossible to tell it is FWD-based unless you’re driving at almost all-out track speeds – at the very limit of the car’s capabilities (which are very high).

        Bent Mountain (Google Earth it) is about 3 miles of switchbacks running from the Roanoke Valley to the crest of the Blue Ridge, an elevation gain of about 1,400 feet. It is a great place to test a car’s high-speed handling limits. I ran the Benz through the series of turns at speeds that – without getting into too much detail – were well beyond even remotely legal limits. Speeds that could easily have resulted in a cuffing and stuffing – and which would have made most passengers white wif fright!

        To get to the Benz’s limits, I’d have had to kick it up even higher.

        It is that good.

        I’ve had professional training, do track days – and assure everyone reading this that I drive faster on the street than pretty much everyone who isn’t a pro – or a complete maniac. If I tell you the Benz will easily do things most drivers wouldn’t dare – take it as gospel!

    • Well, consider that one of the best selling luxury cars – the Lexus ES350 – is FWD. And that Audis – all of which are based on FWD layouts – sell very well, too.

      I prefer RWD, too. But this car impressed me – and that (knowing me as you do) should impress you!

      I wish I could toss you the keys so you could experience it for yourself.

      FWD is no liability here, I promise.

      On gaudy: I disagree. In fact, this is one of the handful of recent MB models that – to my eye – is not gaudy. It looks high-end, but not desperately flashy (along the lines of an SL roadster, say). It is – to my eye – like the CLS, which is a beautiful car sans cRap Star “bling.”

      Of course, opinions vary.

      But one can’t say this car looks – or feels – cheap.

      And that’s a big deal – and a great achievement.

      • Dear Eric,

        Mercedes cars with those specs are not impressive — if the MSRP is sky high, as it usually is.

        The bargain price is what blows me away. All that performance and luxury for only 30K. Mind-blowing.

        Do you still call it “sticker shock” if you’re shocked that the price is so low?

        30K. That’s the price for a Dodge Charger R/T with a 5.7L Hemi.

        I like the Dodge Charger and Challenger cars. But you can be sure the resale value of the Merc is going to be waaay higher than a Dodge muscle car. Not even in the same ball park.

        • Absolutely!

          A new Camry XLE costs (stickers) for more than the CLA!

          Now, the Camry is a very nice car. But it is a Camry… and a Toyota.

          • Dear Eric,

            Downward price pressures from market competition is a real blessing, for consumers at least.

            What’s got me scratching my head though, is “How the hell did Mercedes manage it?”

            Production line efficiencies? Labor cost reductions? Reduced profit margins? Are these “loss leaders” to build traffic? Sounds funny. M-B loss leaders!

            The auto industry is a mature industry. Old tech. I would think every cost reduction method was already implemented decades ago.

            Damned if I can figure it out.

  6. Yep. Looks like a real winner. Of course, we know MB will be jacking the OTD price on these puppies way, way beyond that theoretical $29,900. But such is the case with all German makers. So even at the much higher “real” price, this CLA 250 should still be a great value.

    I doubt that Cadillac will be able to respond to this rising of the bar. It might even be a year or three before BMW and Audi can do so.

  7. Yes, the Germans are fantastic engineers, whether they are designing automobiles or engineering the efficient slaughter of millions of “undesireables.”

    • Ouch!

      I know there are people who won’t buy a German car for precisely that reason. But are the Germans who designed and built the CLA the same Germans who designed and built Treblinka and Auschwitz?

      It’s important for us to not group-guilt anyone.

      The engineers at MB design cars; they don’t design gas chambers.

      • That is a good point, however when an entire nation goes off the deep end it is tough not to apply group guilt. (Unfortunately we in the U.S. may well be going down a similar path, just with different “undesireables.”)

        It’s been a long time, but the events of World War II are still (just) within living memory, it’s not like they happened 1000 years ago. I don’t think my great aunt Sadie who still has a serial number tattooed on her arm would appreciate being picked up in a German car to go shopping.

        Of course these days auto manufacturing is a global business, old hostilities are long forgotten by most, and most cars contain parts and systems designed and built by the Axis powers — but that’s not quite the same as buying a big-ticket item from a German company.

        It’s unlikely there are any 90-year-old engineers at Mercedes Benz, but I’ll bet the fathers and grandfathers of the current crop have some “interesting” war stories to tell.

        Then there’s the actions of the company itself during the war to consider. A little web searching will reveal items such as:

        “Daimler-Benz, for example. The firm avidly supported Nazism and in return received arms contracts and tax breaks that enabled it to become one of the world’s leading industrial concerns. (Between 1932 and 1940 production grew by 830 percent.) During the war the company used thousands of slaves and forced laborers including Jews, foreigners, and POWs. According to historian Bernard Bellon (Mercedes in Peace and War, 1990), at least eight Jews were murdered by DB managers or SS men at a plant in occupied Poland. There was a report that Daimler-Benz built mobile poison gas vans, but this has never been corroborated and is doubtful.” (Source: http://www.straightdope.com/columns/read/1095/did-krups-braun-and-mercedes-benz-make-nazi-concentration-camp-ovens)

        So yes, there is still a little resentment against the country and the company despite the knowledge that a different crew is in charge these days.

        • Hi Jason,

          Most of the designers and engineers are guys in their 40s – born decades after the war ended. Is it fair to hold them responsible (or even look down on them) because of things their fathers and grandfathers did?

          I never owned any slaves; neither did my parents or grandparents. I therefore feel no personal culpability for the victimization of blacks by other people and resent blacks who believe I (and other whites) owe them a debt because other white people (a long time ago) abused their ancestors.

          Holding individuals responsible for what they, as individuals, have done is (for me) an essential element of Libertarian philosophy.

          Would I buy a car from the man who designed gas chambers – or had any part in such things? Of course not.

          But his son? If the son was born years after the events and had nothing whatsoever to do with them – and is personally blameless and appears to be a nice guy?

          Sure, of course.

          Remember: The entire nation did not go off the deep end. An evil man and his followers did. Not all Germans followed the Fuhrer. But everyone got caught up in the maelstrom – just as good people will be (and already have been) caught up in the doings of “our” government.

          Did you have anything to do with Waco? With the use of depleted uranium rounds in Iraq? Yes, you were forced to help finance both operations. But you were not complicit in these crimes.

          And neither were all Germans complicit in the crimes of Hitler & Co.

          • You are absolutely correct from a rational standpoint. However it is difficult for those that had personal experiences at the hands of Der Fuhrer and his minions to be rational about Germany, and to an extent that is the case even for many in the following generation(s) that deal with the survivors. I take your point but still would not want to buy a German car due to personal preference forged by the war. (I would not criticize anyone who did want to buy one, by the way, I’m just voicing one of my own reasons for not being interested in one.)

            That brings to mind an interesting point — corporations have “lifetimes” that can far exceed those of the individual managers and employees. Under current law, corporations are considered to be persons. That being the case, should a company be held responsible for its actions that took place generations ago, even if the current employees are personally blameless? I frankly don’t know the answer to that.

            • Hi Jason,

              Your point in re corporations is well taken. My antipathy toward corporations as such is one of the areas where I, personally, diverge from many Libertarians. Corporations seem to me to be an end run around moral hazard – a very dangerous thing. If you or I own a business and are personally responsible for what the business does, it provides a strong incentive to conduct business responsibly and fairly. If, however, you or I are just officers (or shareholders) of the corporation, not only are we legally immune from many (even all) of the consequences of irresponsible corporate conduct, there is strong incentive to be irresponsible – even criminal – precisely because it is hard, if not impossible, to hold corporate officers (much less shareholders) personally responsible for the things the corporation does.

              Minimally, the fiction of legal “personhood” must be done away with. And (also minimally) corporate officers must be held personally accountable – civilly as well as criminally – when the corporation conducts itself in an irresponsible or criminal fashion while under their direction.

          • Funny how Stalin and his Bolshevik communist hordes (who annihilated many more millions than the Nazis – several times more – totally escaped and keep escaping any blame and criticism! Were all the millions of Russians in agreement with what Uncle Joe (Josef) was doing? Absolutely not! I suspect that this part of history is left out of modern American and British memory because Stalin and the communists were our allies! Stalin was never elected by the people, but then neither was Hitler, who was in fact appointed chancellor by the cabinet and the President without any input from the electorate! He used the extraordinary powers granted to him to install himself as a leader dictator and banned all other parties, the rest is history.
            By the way, having been born in Austria he never bothered to become a German citizen, he just pretended to be one! Check your history!

            I bet that very few of those who endlessly cling to the old discrimination agenda have the foggiest idea of history.

            A landlord of mine many, many years ago was a German soldier (drafted of course) who drove a battle tank during the whole eastern campaign. He related how they were greeted as liberators not only by Ukrainians but also by Russians (who began fighting on the German side) and others.

            I would never hold anyone alive today responsible for crimes committed by others when they themselves were not even born yet. Personally I am a totally happy Toyota owner for the last ten years after having endured for patriotic reasons decades of unreliable pieces of Detroit junk, including many GM, one Ford and one very expensive Chrysler Concorde LXI lemon which was the worst mechanical nightmare ever. Great design but crudely put together with inferior parts!

      • Fine review, Eric. It looks like a great car. I hope my wife opens up her mind to look at it (she likes the look of larger cars, unfortunately).

        The ONLY/SOLE guy in America who designed and built gas chambers (and electric chairs) for U.S. prisons, Fred Leuchter, investigated Auschwitz and said, before a Canadian court, ‘There is no way you could kill anyone with gas there.’ Open your mind, Jason, and read, ‘The Leucther Report,’ ‘The Hoax of the 20th Century,’ and ‘The Rudolf Report,’ all written by technical experts (engineering professor, chemist).

        The camps, it appears, were work camps. No doubt, many — tens of thousands — died. But, they died largely of typhus, near war’s end, and no way did millions die or were killed.

        ‘The Holocaust’ is a big fabrication, just like 9/11, Sandy Hoax, Aurora, the Apollo landings, the Maine, no UFOs/ETs, etc.

        • Jason, if you are not a book reader, you may find this video of interest. It is by a thoughtful young Jewish guy who went to see Auschwitz and poke around. Fascinating!

        • I’ve heard about this kind of thing for a long time. Since these events are still in living memory, my standard for this is whether you can convince someone who was actually there in the camps at the time that it did not happen. I have yet to see such a person who has been convinced of this.

          I try to keep an open mind, but no so open that my brains fall out.

          • Just my two pfennigs:

            Anyone with only slave status, can never be sure exactly what his masters are up to. Nevertheless, he can make an effort to know as much as he can.

            General rule of thumb: There are two sides to every story, both of them wrong to one degree or other.

            And as Mencken said: “For every problem, there is a solution presented that is simple, neat, and wrong.”

            The Jewish Virtual Library has found 15,000 known labor, death, and concentration camps. All known camps – classified by country (1939-1945 borders) – are listed below.


            The list is far from complete – it doesn’t include camps which were created for limited operations or time, as most of these were destroyed. Additionally, this list doesn’t contain the names of the ghettos created by the ruling class of Germany.

            Probably the biggest underlying cause of these type of camps is the various blockades, mostly by the UK. They successfully blockaded the Baltic and the Mediterranean. Nations become isolated from merchants abroad who would otherwise willing provide them needed food.

            “Even in peace, Europe was unable to feed itself, and although Germany now held two-fifths of the green fields of Europe, Germans found that despite decrees forcing farmers to sell their produce and livestock and outright requisition, in terms of food the occupied lands represented a net drain on their resources that could not be made good.”

            “The British blockade of the Mediterranean immediately cut Italy off from 80% of its imports. Essential items such as pasta, flour and rice were severely rationed, leading to riots, and any farmer withholding his crops from compulsory storage could be imprisoned for a year.”

            Germany didn’t want to admit it was failing to feed everyone under its dominion, so it invented the cover story of race purification, thus masking the fact that their system was unable to even feed everyone, much less build some kind of Aryan Utopia.

            America is right now committing this brutal act of war against all manner of foreign nations. It also domestically restricts how much food production can be undertaken by anyone except it’s approved mega-farm corporate share-croppers.
            camp list

            Economic War blockade

            Phoney War

            • One aspect of this that almost never gets brought up – and which annoys me endlessly – is Soviet genocide. Stalin’s wholesale deportation and mass extermination of various groups, both economic and racial. Stalin personally signed the death warrants of (literally; the paperwork with his signature can be viewed today in the archives) of thousands of innocent people – and was personally responsible for the mass murder of an estimated 30 million people during the course of his reign as the Red Tsar.

              Yet one never hears about it. The perpetrators – e.g., NKVD thugs – are interviewed on the History Channel. Not hounded for war crimes/crimes against humanity.

              High-ranking Soviet officials – Stalin’s Helpers (for example, Molotov) – were allowed to live out their lives in quiet retirement and to this day their names are not synonymous with EVIL. There are statues of Stalin all over Russia. One can openly wear a T shirt with the Soviet flag – or even Stalin’s image – on it.

              Meanwhile, the US (? – think about that one) continues, to this very day, to relentlessly pursue 80-year-olds who were 17-year-old camp guards for a few months in the spring of ’45.

              I am not exonerating such. I am merely pointing out the grossly disproportionate treatment.

              Another one: Julius Streicher was a cretin, but – at least so far as we know – never killed anyone. His crime was political incorrectness. He was the publisher of an obnoxious, odious anti-Semitic newspaper. Nothing more. He was hanged for this.

              For publishing his ideas, in other words.

              It’s a pretty frightening precedent, if you stop to think about it.

              Meanwhile, one of his judges at Nuremburg was – guess who? Vyshinsky – of Stalin show trail fame. A man who was personally responsible for the murder of thousands of innocent people.

      • off topic, but tt last count 1.2 million dead and crippled men, women & children in Iraq over non-existent WMD. Who is killing who?

        • Exactly.

          American cognitive dissonance. When our Dear Leaders commit mass murder – and this is mass murder – it is trivialized, marginalized, ignored and dismissed. All in a good cause.

          Were I German, the hypocrisy of this sort of thing would enrage me.

          • What stands out in the German case is the mechanized efficiency of it all, a huge machine planned and engineered for the specific purpose of eliminating “untermenschens.” It is also one of the few large-scale slaughters of which there are still living survivors. People who lived through such an event, and their immediate descendents, will naturally have a more visceral reaction to it that than those events which were not part of their own experience.

            However, in the context of overall world history the German/WWII Holocaust is but one in a long string of occurrences in which governments butcher people (frequently their own citizens) on a wholesale basis. Then of course there are countless times when governments routinely conduct slaughter on a smaller scale. It’s all in a day’s work for the State.

            • Hi Jason,

              Actually, Stalin’s gulag system was very much mechanized. And the terror he orchestrated through the Cheka, NKVD and KGB far more pervasive and extreme than what occurred in Germany. Stalin once introduced Lavrenti Beria as “our Himmler.”

              And living survivors of the gulag? There are plenty of those.

              History – which is nothing more than a partial account of events, often very inaccurately described – has simply elected to ignore (relative to the German bloodbath) the objectively much worse Soviet bloodbath. I say objectively worse because it lasted far longer (the German Reich only existed for 12 years; the Lenin-Stalin regime lasted for about 36 years, from the time of the ascendance of the Bolsheviks through the death of Stalin in the early 1950s. Tens of millions were murdered during this time – far more than the numbers slaughtered by the Nazis in the camps. These are facts.

              Yet the Nazis are widely regarded as the apotheosis of evil – when Soviet communism was objectively worse by any definition that includes sheer numbers, pervasiveness and duration.

              Again, this is not to be taken as a defense of Nazi Germany. It is merely to point out historical amnesia and the “free pass” given to the communists – in my opinion, solely because that system lacked the white racialism that characterized Nazi Germany.

          • Dear Eric,
            One hurdle that stops everyone from determining the truth of Stalin, is no one has the ability or stamina to get to the bottom of anything. If only one of us could do so, he could explain for the others.

            Surely its been many trillions, the value the US/UK/Israel continues to siphon off of Germany by militarily occupying and controlling it.

            Germans are like wild horses just recently broken, they wear the saddle and pull the cart, they still remember the time before, but they are resigned to their fate.

            Russians on the other hand, are true porcupines covered in all manner of crazy quills. Many have placed saddles on Russia and gotten her to pull the cart for a time. But always, though you lead her to water, she finds the vodka and crashes the cart into a tree, and you’re left with nothing.

            Russians are far less willing to assemble into complex slave formations and build pyramids for Pharaohs on demand, than are the Germans. Russians are happy to be mercenaries and enslave others, take North Korea for example. But they never generate even a fraction of the mountains of cash, that the Germans do.

            I believe that is why the PTB waste little time with the copper coin of Russian misdeeds. What good would come of the US/UK/UN occupying Russia?

            The PTB already have the gold coin of American pride. Easier to get America to rob its people with boogeymen of Slavery, Militarism, Womens Lib, Gay Rights, Terrists, Global Warming, and many other cons. Americans will wear a US saddle, a UN saddle, and a NAFTA saddle all at the same time. They blank out the fact they’ve been domesticated by outsiders and will even go deep into debt and make future promises to their debt enslavers.

            The PTB also have the silver coin of German guilt over holocausts, warmongering, and eugenics. In a fairer world, the Austrian Empire would still stand, national socialist’ debts would still be in the process of being repaid, and they’d lead the world, seeing as how they’ve contributed the most scientifically and industrially.

            The English speakers have made a meal out of their German speaking betters. Exactly in the same way the Roman’s once did to the Greeks.
            – – –

            True learning is hard. Bevin posted a 2 hour video. I watched a minute and a half of it, and then posted something tangential and unrelated, because, holy crap, 2 hours!

            Now I’m 9 minutes into it, and I see the value there and why he posted it. But I’m unsure how to share it with anyone else.

            I make an effort, but I’m limited by an unfocused magical kind of thinking that’s deeply ingrained.
            – – – – –

            I’ve always been a porcupine since the earliest childhood. Great for my individual freedom and open-mindedness, but limiting as far how well I can communicate with others here.
            – – – –
            The mystery of Stalin? Let’s start with his second wife.

            41 year old Josef married 17 year old Nadezhda in 1919. Josef had been living under his new identity of “Joe Steel” for seven years by then. He was a widower and father of one son, born to his first wife, who died of typhus years earlier.

            Nadezhda and Joseph had two children together: Vasily who became a fighter pilot, and Svetlana. According a close friend of Mrs. Stalin, the marriage was strained, the two argued frequently.

            Mrs. Stalin suffered from mental illness, probably because her husband was a mass-murdering psychopath. After a public fight with Stalin at a Soviet dinner, Nadezhda was found dead in her bedroom, a revolver by her side. The official announcement was that Nadezhda died from appendicitis.

            Many in Russia allege that Stalin killed her himself. Accounts of contemporaries and Stalin’s letters indicate that he was much disturbed by her death. Their daughter Svetlana later managed to leave the Soviet Union in 1967 and defected to the United States.

            Stalin’s Wife Nadezhda

            Stalin’s Daughter Svetlana

            It’s interesting, how so many Germans and Russians find sanctuary and a new life in America. Almost as if America, England, German Traitors, and Russian Traitors, have all been in collusion since the beginning.

            • Hi Tor,

              Also, people know what they’re told. And they’re not told much about Stalin or the Soviet Union (at least this was my experience growing up/as a student). But they are told – endlessly – about the Nazis and the Holocaust.

              Mind, it’s not that I in any way object to the crimes of the Nazis (of anyone) being exposed and the perpetrators held accountable. It’s that it’s curious how benevolently – despite the enormity of his crimes – Stalin is treated by history (and society) as opposed to Hitler.

              Also, for that matter, the Japanese.

              They committed unspeakable war crimes against the Chinese, as well as POWs from various nations. Yet Japan was permitted to retain its Fuhrer – the emperor – and continues to fly the imperial war flag on its military vessels, as well as show official/sanctioned reverence for the WWII-era leadership.

              Imagine Angela Merkel solemnly laying a wreath at the grave of Rudolf Hess … the shit-storm would be epic.

              But the same thing happens in Japan routinely and no one says much.


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