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The noise that is heard from outside of the car is the sound of a 'direct injection' engine. Almost all cars by every manufacturer are made with direct injection now, as it is designed to save fuel. (and doesn't do it all that well...)

The clunking while downshifting into 1st gear sounds like you are driving in 'S' or 'sport' mode. I haven't noticed it in 'E.' 'E' mode is a 'Comfort mode' (should've been a 'C') designed to AVOID downshifting into 1st when decelerating so that you do not experience that harsh downshift and have to rely more on your pedal-braking.
Welcome!

Also, the 'Sport' mode doesn't always rev-match as effectively when downshifting into 1st, and can be annoying. I drive in 'M' (Manual) mode about 60% of the time, and have found it to be pretty enjoyable and useful for harnessing the power band.

I definitely agree, that first gear from a stop is awful on the CLA/GLA platform. It's unpredictable, slow-to-react and just slushy. It makes absolutely ZERO sense because it is a DCT (dual clutch) and should be substantially faster than a torque-converter auto.

I'm definitely going to get a TCU re-program to change the shift parameters of the transmission.
 
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