Mercedes-Benz announces new CLA at CES

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Words: Nile Bijoux
11 Jan 2019

Mercedes-Benz has just launched the updated CLA sedan at CES in Las Vegas.

Initially arriving in only CLA 250 guise, the little four-door will pack a 2.0-litre turbocharged four-cylinder engine good for 165kW and 350Nm. The power is fed into a seven-speed dual-clutch gearbox and directed to either the front wheels or all four, depending on buyer spec. Performance details are scarce but the CLA 250 does have a limited top speed of 209km/h.


Compared with the previous model, overall length is up 48mm to 4688mm with a wheelbase stretch of 30mm to 2729mm. However, this has not really translated into extra space inside the cabin; while the front passengers lose 1mm of legroom, the rear passengers gain a mm.
Allowing the CLA entry into CES is a mildly updated MBUX user interface. Already seen in the A-Class, it comes to the CLA with a pair of seven-inch screens - one for the instruments and other for the infotainment system. Buyers can up-spec to dual 10.25-inch screens if they so choose.

The small updates are more to do with bettering voice recognition and understanding more complex queries than adding new features. For example, MB says the system can understand and respond to something like ‘Find child-friendly Asian restaurants nearby with 4-star rating which are neither Chinese nor Japanese. ’

MBUX can also understand and answer complex questions with regard to things like sport (‘Hey Mercedes, how did the San Francisco 49ers play? ’), the stock exchange (‘Compare the share price of Apple Incorporated to Microsoft’), calculations (‘ What is the square root of 3? ’) or general knowledge (‘How big is Texas? ’, ‘What is the fat content of avocados? ’)

Another option adds gesture control to the tech that allows occupants to wave their hands like Tony Stark to make selections, rather than using the usual touchpad. Further available improvements include navigation and a Burmester Surround Sound System.

Active Brake Assist comes standard, which automatically slows the car to avoid collisions with vehicles, cyclists and pedestrians. Adding the optional Driver Assistance Package adds features like adaptive cruise control, active steering assist, lane keep assist, speed limit sign recognition, and blind spot monitoring.

We’re expecting pricing to be announced closer to its launch here next year.

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