We often test-drive cars at drive events on unfamiliar roads. This can paint a different picture of how that same model may perform when driven in and around Cars.com's Chicago headquarters, where the majority of our testing occurs.
When I tested the new Mercedes-Benz CLA45 AMG last year in our nation's capital, I was sure that the area's pockmarked roads were so similar to Chicago's brutal terrain that the overtly firm ride I was experiencing was a no-go — even in a trim level meant for extreme performance.
Here's what I said in my original review: "The AMG's ride is extremely rough, with jolts coming through sharply over every road imperfection. It's so severe that it reminded me of more aggressive alterations like Audi's RS5 coupe."
Recently, another 2014 Mercedes-Benz CLA45 AMG arrived in our Chicago fleet. When I picked up the keys I was expecting to relive that brutal ride. I was pleasantly flabbergasted that this CLA45 AMG didn't ride anything like I remembered.