Mercedes-Benz scored a hit with the original CLA. Combining sportiness and style, its attributes helped shine a positive light on the German firm’s full compact car portfolio. Now a redesigned model has been revealed, with the covers coming off Tuesday at the 2019 Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas.
Due in showrooms in late 2019 as a 2020 model, the new CLA is bigger, more stylish and loaded with much more tech than the model it replaces. The car serves as a sportier alternative to the similarly sized A-Class sedan that’s just been added for 2019.
Compared to the model it replaces, the 2020 CLA is both 2 inches longer and wider. This results in more interior space but also lends the car more presence on the road, especially when the available 19-inch wheels are fitted (18-inch wheels are standard). The overall design resembles a scaled-down version of the mid-size CLS, which is definitely a good thing.
2020 Mercedes-Benz CLA-Class
Inside, the design matches the cabin of the A-Class. There is a dual-screen interface with 7.0-inch screens for both the instrument cluster and infotainment hub, the latter with touch capability. These can be swapped out for larger 10.25-inch units.
New in the 2020 CLA is an enhanced version of the smartphone-like infotainment system known as MBUX. Among the new features added is an assistant that identifies operation requests on the basis of hand movements. For example, it enables the adaptation of screen content as soon as a hand approaches the touchscreen in the dashboard or the touchpad on the center console. Individual elements are highlighted according to the currently active menu.
There’s also augmented reality for navigation and an ability to understand indirect voice commands. The latter, when paired with the Mercedes Me Connect app, can recognize and respond to considerably more complex queries, for example: “Hey Mercedes, find child-friendly Asian restaurants nearby with a 4-star rating which are neither Chinese nor Japanese?” There is also a growing number of domains for which the system can understand complex questions: these include sports (“Hey Mercedes, how did the San Francisco 49ers play?”), financial markets (“Compare the share price of Apple Incorporated to Microsoft”), calculations (“What is the square root of 3?”) or general knowledge (“How big is Texas?” or “What is the fat content of an avocado?”).
2020 Mercedes-Benz CLA-Class
Naturally, there are also new technologies concerning actual driving. For the first time, the CLA is able to drive semi-autonomously in certain situations thanks to new electronic driver aids. These include, either standard or available, adaptive cruise control with route-based speed adaption, active lane control, automatic emergency braking, and blind-spot monitors with cross traffic warning.
Only one version of the 2020 CLA has been announced so far, a CLA250 with a 2.0-liter turbo-4 that delivers 221 horsepower and 258 pound-feet of torque. Its engine is mated to a 7-speed dual-clutch automatic transmission and spins the front wheels as standard. All-wheel drive will be available.
Further out, the AMG division will add CLA35 and CLA45 models. These will also pack 2.0-liter turbo-4 engines, but with outputs of around 300 and 400 hp, respectively.
Pricing information for the 2020 Mercedes CLA will be announced closer to launch.
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