If at first you do succeed, try, try again, or so one might say of the new sedan Mercedes-Benz unveiled at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas today.
The original Mercedes CLA was one of the biggest hits the German brand ever had when it was launched in 2013, drawing in a mix of hip young buyers, many entering the luxury segment for the first time thanks to a price tag starting just under $30,000. The coupe-like sedan did have its share of critics, however, and Mercedes aims to address some of their concerns with the second-generation CLA.
“The new edition of the CLA has been developed further in an intelligent way and is even more emotional and sportier than its predecessor,” said Britta Seeger, the global head of Mercedes-Benz Cars Marketing & Sales. “Coupled with new operating systems, it sets new benchmarks for the entire class.”
In keeping with the tech-savvy audience the 2020 CLA is expected to appeal to, it will be equipped with an assortment of digital features, including the new MBUX Interior Assistant, a smart voice assistant that functions much like the Amazon Alexa and Google Home systems.
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The MBUX interface was first introduced on the new Mercedes-Benz A-Class last year. That sedan shares the same platform as the CLA and several other models and is part of a broad push down-market by the German automaker.
The second application of the MBUX system has been updated, among other things, to be able to answer more complex questions. It also has the ability to recognize who, in a crowded car, was the one who said its “wake words,” “Hey, Mercedes,” ignoring other conversations.
The focus on technology extends to the new CLA’s array of driver assistance systems. That includes the sedan’s first semi-autonomous driving function. Improved radar and camera systems now can see as far as 1,640 feet ahead of the vehicle. Various other features will do things like automatically adjusting the vehicle’s speed depending on things like curves and even an approaching traffic roundabout.
In keeping with the CLA’s low base price, however, many of these features, including LED headlamps, are optional.
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Visually, the 2020 Mercedes-Benz CLA won’t take shoppers by surprise. It maintains, the sweeping, coupe-like roofline of the original, but boasts a more sculpted and sporty look that also enhances the car’s aerodynamics to improve performance and reduce fuel consumption.
The hood adds new power bulges and the greenhouse has been pushed back to give the new CLA a more dynamic appearance. The new model, declared Mercedes’ global design director Gordon Wagener, “has the potential to become a modern design icon.”
The new model is larger in virtually every dimension. At 184.6 inches its 1.9 inches longer. It gains 2.0 inches in width, at 72.0 inches. The 107.4-inch wheelbase is 1.1 inches longer, as well. The 56.7-inch height, however, is a barely noticeable 2 millimeters lower than with the prior-generation CLA.
Like the A-Class and other Mercedes models sharing its modular architecture, the new CLA is front-wheel-drive, though an all-wheel version also will be available at launch. The CLA 250 and CLA 250 4Matic will share the same turbocharged 2.0-liter inline-four making 221 horsepower and 258 pound-feet of torque. The engine is paired with a seven-speed dual-clutch transmission. Expect to see an AMG version to follow.
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Pricing for the new 2020 Mercedes-Benz CLA 250 and 250 4Matic will be announced closer to the on-sale date late this year.