Yes, you can put a price on things. And if the price is almost R750 000, then you best believe that the product is worth the tag. Bear with me here, as I go about defending the Mercedes-Benz CLA45 AMG. Expensive it is, but through some literate magic, it might just be justified…

Based on the very capable platform found underneath both the A- and GLA-Classes, the CLA-range is already starting off with a good base. Stiffen that same platform up and let the fuel pump through the company’s acclaimed 2,0-litre biturbo engine, and you are looking at one of the purist cars on the market. There are other brands that offers commendable value for money propositions, but none of them offer a product that can take it to heavyweights higher up the motoring hierarchy.

What the Mercedes-Benz CLA45 AMG is essentially doing, is doing what the first couple of BMW M3’s did. Don’t stone me just yet; hear me out first. The original M3 gave customers the proposition of holding a candle to the bug guns, being able to take the fight to any driver feeling the need have a dice. In time, the status and cult-following the BMW M3 had garnered is perhaps unparalleled and unmeasurable by any and all means. However, the M3 had become a bit expensive; out of range of those who thought they’d one day own one.

Am I going to suggest that the Mercedes-Benz CLA45 AMG is an alternative to the expensive M3? I’d have to be crazy to do such a reckless thing. No, there is no alternative to the BMW M3. But there are better value propositions.

And this is where the CLA 45 AMG comes. It develops a wee bit more power (265 kW, 450 N.m) than the infamous E46 BMW M3 and hurries from 0 – 100 km/h faster than a cheetah with turpentine rubbed all over it.

The CLA45 AMG is fast. Undoubtedly fast. It literally torpedoes toward the horizon and the national speed limit pops up quicker than a tightly sprung jack-in-the-box. And this is what this car does best: it propels and thrusts its driver and occupants with an amazing amount on ease to what can only be described as an elevated swift from here to there.

The Mercedes-Benz CLA45 AMG is your Dr Jackal and Hyde type of car. On the hand you have this beast of a car, and on the other you have a compliant, gentle, almost soft-spoken car. Switch it over to Comfort and the CLA45 AMG goes about a smooth, untroubled drive. Road-imperfections are felt through the seats and steering, but never does this car wiggle, twitch, or twerk as it make its way forward. This setting is actually comfortable enough to transport a sick person with bedsores to or from hospital. It’s comfortable. but it never makes you forget that you are in one fine piece of machinery. The soft spooling of the turbo, the gentle blips from the exhaust, the paddles behind the steering wheel, the chrome pedals, the racing seats, the self-tightening seatbelts, the speedometer reading 300 km/h… everything comes together and it only wants to be a thrashed. Hard!

Now, I won’t lie: an AMG is stiff. It rides hard. But, why complain? It’s not as if you bought an AMG to ride over eggshells. So, when you put the CLA45 AMG in Sport, don’t expect it to carry you on Hallelujah-wings. There is nothing gentle about Sport. No indication saying “I forgive you”. No. This is a setting that unleashes the beast of the underworld. An angry Hades screaming out of those quad-exhausts. Sharpened steering and a sensitive throttle are at the forefront of what is an adrenaline-charged drive. Sport unleashes a driveability not found in any of the CLA45 AMG’s peers. Those that does seem to offer some sort of competition falls away by the wayside.

The Mercedes-Benz CLA45 AMG can hold a candle to almost any car pitted against it. It can hold its own in any brawl and will not leave you red in the face. On its various abilities and capabilities alone, it warrants the CLA45 AMG a definite second look if you’re in the market to purchase a hot and spicy family saloon. There are other offerings on the market, but none with more zest, flare, character, and bang than this car.

It is expensive, but as a value proposition there is nothing that can come close. This, then, embodies the original M3: not too expensive, buckets of fun, and able to run with the best of them.

*Special thanks to Mercedes-Benz Century City for the availability of the CLA45 AMG.