Stud: 2014 Mercedes-Benz CLA
For some, a front-wheel drive Mercedes-Benz breaks a rule of some sort. The company is founded on the principle of rear-wheel drive being superior, and all-wheel drive being a backup for slick streets. But the undeniable packaging advantages of eliminating all that drivetrain hardware from under the car–and its associated weight–is actually nothing new for Mercedes-Benz; the A-Class and B-Class have been on sale for more than a decade in Europe, and both are front-wheel drive. The 2014 Mercedes-Benz CLA-Class looks to us like an excellent ambassador for front-wheel drive Benzes in this country. It’s classy and elegant, and it looks substantial in spite of its compact dimensions. But best of all, it will be genuinely affordable. Prices will start around $30,000, and we’ve been assured that the price won’t break $40,000, even when you check all the options boxes. That’s an impressive deal for a Mercedes-Benz, and one that surely has compact luxury car makers Acura (ILX) and Buick (Verano) scrambling.