Mercedes-Benz’ new CLA: small sedan, big on tech.

The latest addition to the company’s A-Class range shows that Mercedes-Benz retains confidence in the marketability of its sedan product portfolio.

Despite SUVs and crossovers continuing to be theme of customer demand from 2018 into 2019, the German automotive institution has revealed its second-generation A-Class sedan, the CLA.  

Most noticeable on the newcomer is the reconsidered styling, drawing inspiration from the headlights, grille, bumper and bonnet crease treatment first seen on the revised CLS last year. Overall, the new CLA benefits from being larger and better proportioned. Ranked in size it is 48mm longer, 53mm wider and 2mm lower than its predecessor.

Beyond the improved presence and styling, CLA will offer owners a generous helping of digital assistance. Mercedes purposefully chose to reveal the car at the 2019 CES event in Las Vegas this week, instead of a traditional motor show. Amongst all the gadgetry on display at CES, A-Class wasn’t lost to the occasion.

One of the CLA debut technologies is intelligent cabin lighting technology. A collection of sensors record and anticipate occupant movement, activating LEDs to light whichever part of the car’s interior that you are moving or gesturing towards. For instance, if you dropped something in the footwell and attempt to retrieve it, CLA’s haptic lighting will illuminate the area you’ve leaned over to search.

There is also a more sophisticated version of the Mercedes MBUX infotainment assistant system. Prompted by voice commands, the MBUX system is now capable of interpreting and completing more complex tasks than simply phoning the correct contact on your paired Smartphone.

Questions about sports scores, share price movements and particular news items can be asked by the driver or any passenger, and the MBUX algorithm will oblige by searching online and then relaying an answer. Think of it as a Swabian Siri.

Mercedes hasn’t confirmed what the CLA engine or drive options will be, but expect a mirror line-up from that available in the current A-Class hatchback: 1.3- to 2-litre capacity turbocharged four-cylinder engines and a diesel or two.

Engineering upgrades applied to the CLA include larger diameter anti-roll bars, with improved geometry, and wider axles (63mm up front, 55mm wider at the back), to aid stability.

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