STYLISH, beautifully packaged and intelligent – yes, you may find your own grey matter playing second fiddle to its uber cleverness – the Mercedes-Benz CLA Coupe makes for a compelling choice in the executive motoring sector.

It is true to say that it relies heavily on its emotional pull and sportiness to woo customers, but it is also clever enough to offer economical motoring that delivers almost 50 miles to the gallon through lower powered petrol engines.

The entry-level CLA 180 AMG Line and the CLA 200 both offer this sort of economy with similar low CO2 outputs, but the 200 brings with it an extra 27hp at 163hp from its 1.4-litre engine.

The CLA 200 is by no means a performance car then, clocking up a 0 to 62mph sprint time of 8.2 seconds, but it feels fast and is accompanied by a rasping engine note when you are in a hurry.

There are 220 and 250 versions if you crave more power and the option of four-wheel drive, plus diesel versions of the 200 and 220, but I suspect the petrol-powered CLA 200, tested here, will be the

big winner

All models are available with seven-speed automatic transmission and AMG Line models come as standard.

The cockpit is a feast for the eyes and senses. The multimedia system includes voice recognition, a 10.25-inch digital touchscreen infotainment display, seven-inch digital cockpit display, and a navigation system that switches from route map to images at junctions and roundabouts with indicators on where you should be heading.

In addition, you will find LED high performance headlights that are among the best in the business, privacy glass, two-zone automatic climate control, keyless starting, DAB radio, smartphone integration, wireless charging, heated front seats and leather upholstery, with a choice of four colour options.

There’s a host of extras to consider, including a parking package, speed limit assist, ambient lighting with a choice of 64 colours, panoramic sunroof and adaptive high beam assist.

There’s even a so-called energizing pack that uses a number of the car’s systems to boost driver fitness and wellbeing, and a whole series of safety features such as active emergency stop, steering assist, braking assist and cross-traffic braking.

At 4,888 mm long – up 48 mm over its predecessor - and 1,830 mm wide with 2,729 mm wheelbase, the four-door CLA makes for an imposing statement of style on the outside.

Take a peek inside and you might recognise some of the finishing touches from the flagship S-Class, including a steering wheel with touchpads and the fully digital cockpit display.

All elements are arranged according to what Mercedes call the overarching design themes of ‘high tech’ and ‘youthful avant-garde’ – be that the steering wheel, the door handle operating module, the centre console or the seats.

Passengers above six foot in the rear seats might find the roof line combing their hair, but up front there are no such problems. Boot space is generous too.

The CLA 200 provides a comfortable ride with little lean and progresses easily through the gears. Cushioned by the fine suspension and wrapped in technical excellence, you will soon begin to appreciate how the CLA has evolved to set a new benchmark in its sector.

The combination of the long, stretched bonnet and frameless doors give the CLA a sporty and elegant character not found elsewhere. Prepare to be seduced.

The lowdown:

Mercedes-Benz CLA-Class 200 AMG Line Coupe

Price: from £32,180 (range from £31,280)

Engine: Four-cylinder 1.4-litre petrol producing 163hp

Transmission: Seven-speed automatic

Performance: 0 to 62mph in 8.2 seconds; top speed 142mph

Economy: 47.9mpg to 42.8mpg combined

CO2 emissions: 126g/km

Star ratings:

Performance: ****

Economy: ****

Ride/Handling: ****

Space/Practicality: ****

Equipment: *****

Security/Safety: *****

Value For Money: ****