Mercedes CLA gets sportier design, gesture control

Mercedes-Benz India sales rises 1.4% to 15,538 units in 2018

Second-generation Mercedes CLA to be bigger and loaded with tech.

The new Mercedes-Benz CLA Class has been revealed in Las Vegas this evening. For those who want a fashion-forward compact four-door, the new CLA finally seems to have hit the mark.

For its initial launch in the U.S., the all-new CLA only gets one engine option for the meantime. While the A-Class only gets multilink rear suspension on the all-wheel-drive model (the front-drive models with wheels smaller than 19 inches are saddled with a torsion-beam design), all CLA-Class models will have multilink rear suspension.

The new CLA's body is almost 2 inches wider and longer than its predecessor, though the rear-seat leg room is almost identical to the outgoing model, which was already cramped. Mercedes said this, along with the car's lower centre of gravity, helps to ensure it has improved driving dynamics. Yet the CLA Class is an important model for Mercedes-Benz nonetheless.

Mercedes-Benz India sales rises 1.4% to 15,538 units in 2018
2020 Mercedes-Benz CLA 250 is sleeker, more powerful than ever before

The Mercedes-Benz CLA is back, despite MB's new A-Class sort of filling the entry-level four-door gap in the lineup. The sloping coupé roofline is emphasised by frameless doors. Also, the narrower tail lamps give it a wider stance from the rear and an added sense of elegance. These new proportions should result in a more spacious cabin than before, but it does offer a boot capacity that is 10 litres smaller than before.

The company says it emphasized "youthful" and "high-tech" elements in the revamped CLA interior. The dashboard features a centrally mounted touchscreen and no cowl, with a "trench" splitting out the lower section. The voice recognition technology is improved and now recognises more complex commands. Other functions can be activated with gestures contextually, like extending a hand toward the rearview mirror in the dark to activate reading lights. Automatic emergency braking, active lane control, and blind-spot monitors will be spend-up extras, but Mercedes says that the CLA-Class will be able to drive itself "semi-autonomously in certain situations", though it didn't say for how long or what those situations may be. The systems fitted include active brake, lane keeping, and lane change assistance systems along with Pre-safe Plus, which can detect an imminent rear-end collision and prepare the vehicle for it. A Shooting Brake estate is due to follow later this year. Under the hood of the CLA 250 is a 2.0-liter turbocharged inline-four that is mated to a seven-speed dual-clutch gearbox. A 306hp, 2.0-litre CLA35 AMG is said to be under consideration.

The market launch of the model is scheduled for May.

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