CES 2019: Mercedes-Benz unveils the second generation CLA coupe
Mercedes-Benz has showcased the newly redesigned, second generation Mercedes-Benz CLA coupe at the the ongoing Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas, USA. The first generation CLA had launched in 2013 and has been an important part of the company's line-up helping it get more customers into its brand, the appealing design and lower price-point also meant that these buyers were younger than the usual Mercedes customer.
The new generation CLA carries these traits forward. This one too shares its frontal styling with the A-Class hatchback. Like the new A-Class, the CLA also gets a squat look, cleaner lines and a high edge to the bonnet. With the longer bonnet, the flat headlamps and the inverted rake to the front, the CLA looks more proportionate now. The rear gets a distintive coupe look than we have seen on the brand's other four-door coupes like the CLS and the AMG GT 4 door. The roof slopes down heavily and merges into a rear-end again influenced by these cars, given the strong haunches and the slim, two-part taillamps. Dimensionally, the CLA is now more proportionate to look at. It is 48 mm longer, 53 mm wider and 2 mm shorter than its predecessor. Wheelbase has grown by 30 mm inside and this has translated into more head and elbow room in the cabin.
On the inside, the CLA carries forward the interior styling of the A-Class. There is the layered dash, the turbine-style vents and the floating MBUX twin-screen layout. The materials and trimming used should be as premium-feeling as the hatch. But the reason why Mercedes has chosen to reveal the car at a tech show is the improvements made to the MBUX system. The system has now been updated to recognise voices better. It doesn't get confused by other voices in the cabin and only responds to voice that say the 'Hey Mercedes' initiating command. The system can now also answer more complex queries now.
A complex gesture control function has also been added. Bringing a hand towards the touchscreen, the system brings up a list of preferred functions. Further, the angle at which the hand reaches the screen lets it know which person is making these requests. Making a V-sign with two fingers at the screen lets passengers set shortcuts to functions. This gesture control system also works with other tasks. In the dark, the reading lamp can be switched on and off by briefly extending a hand towards the rear-view mirror, for example. If the driver reaches over towards the unoccupied front passenger seat in the dark, it will be illuminated automatically.
Expect a host of safety equipment derived from what we have seen on S-Class like adaptive cruise, an emergency braking function, lane keeping and so on.
The new CLA will launch internationally in May 2019 and should debut in India by the end of the year. The coupe now has a wider front and rear track, a lower centre of gravity and an anti-roll bar. Adaptive suspension will also be available and tyre sizes will range from 16 to 19 inches. The gearbox will be the Mercedes seven-speed dual clutch units. There aren't many details about the kind of engines that will be offered but they should mimic those of the A-Class. The car shown at CES is the CLA 250 four-cylinder with 225PS and 350Nm.
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