The Mercedes-Benz CLA is back, despite MB’s new A-Class sort of filling the entry-level four-door gap in the lineup. It’s bigger in almost every dimension and the engine is the same turbo-four, but the new car, dropping in late 2019, will now come with MBUX, Mercedes’ new infotainment system.
“The latest version of Voice Control for MBUX — Mercedes-Benz User Experience — can be experienced in the new CLA. For example, the voice assistant, activated by the keyword ‘Hey Mercedes,’ is able to recognize and answer considerably more complex queries,” says Sajjad Khan, member of the divisional board of Mercedes-Benz cars for CASE and head of digital vehicle and mobility. “What’s more, the voice assistance no longer gets confused by other passengers conversing. Instead it only responds to the commands of the person who last said ‘Hey Mercedes’ to activate the system.”
Sounds reasonable, but sometimes you just have to mention “Mercedes,” and the system reacts, as we found out when driving the new GLE a few months ago.
The new CLA is longer and wider, but the roof is lower. It has a longer wheelbase and longer tracks front and rear. Inside too, almost every measurement is up: Trunk capacity, unfortunately, is down.
With the wider track, multilink rear suspension setup, variable ratio steering and a larger antiroll bar, it should be a decent corner carver. Adaptive dampers are optional, as are 19-inch wheels.
According to Mercedes, the new CLA underwent a longer phase of aero optimization than the last car, which led to the changes on the rear bumper, grille, fog lamp recesses and diffuser. The wheel arch spoilers are new and help air flow better around the wheels. The radiator grille also gets a shutter system to save fuel.
Look for a full selection of safety features cribbed from more expensive Mercedes that includes Active Distronic Assist, emergency stop, lane change assist, lane keeping and Pre-Safe Plus, which holds the brakes when a rear end collision is imminent.
Power, like we said, will come from the same turbo-four. The CLA250 should deliver 208 hp and 258 lb-ft of torque, while the AMG version will make 375 hp and 350 lb-ft. Both get a seven-speed dual-clutch transmission.
The 2020 Mercedes CLA debuts at CES and goes on sale late this year.