Mercedes-Benz will sit out the 2019 Detroit Auto Show, but that doesn’t mean it will keep quiet in the first half of the year. The German firm will travel to the 2019 Consumer Electronics Show (CES) to introduce the second-generation CLA. It’s a fitting venue for a car that will be considerably more high-tech than its predecessor.
The CLA is the design-led member of Mercedes’ growing family of compact cars. That’s not going to change. Though Mercedes wants to keep the full design hidden until the official unveiling on January 8, it sent a dark teaser image that shows a fastback-like roof line reminiscent of the third-generation CLS and frameless doors. We expect that the second-generation CLA will be longer than its predecessor, and it will ride on a longer wheelbase. Mercedes needed to increase the model’s footprint to avoid creating internal competition for its new all-star, the A-Class Sedan.
The German firm posted a short video on its Facebook page that demonstrates the CLA’s automatic front dome light. It turns on when it detects a movement under it. The CLA will inaugurate this technology, but we expect it will spread across the rest of the Mercedes lineup in the coming years.
Though the video stops short of revealing the CLA’s full interior, the A-Class Sedan released in 2018 gives us an accurate idea of what to expect. Upmarket variants of the CLA will benefit from the brand-new Mercedes-Benz User eXperience (MBUX) infotainment system displayed on a high-resolution, 10-inch touchscreen. This artificial intelligence-powered software will adapt itself to individual users by learning their habits, whether it’s a phone call made at the same time on the same day every week or a route driven regularly. Natural voice recognition technology will let the passengers navigate the software’s various functions. They’ll also be able to use the touchscreen or a touchpad located on the center console.
Technical specifications — like much else — remain under wraps. We know the CLA will ride on an evolution of the front-wheel drive platform found under the current-generation model. Autoblog believes the entry-level model will come with a turbocharged, 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine rated at 188 horsepower and 221 pound-feet of
torque. Mercedes-AMG will add a midrange model to the catalog, and the full-fat CLA 45 will return with over 400 horsepower on tap from a turbo four. Stay tuned, as Digital Trends will be live at CES to bring you full details about the 2019 Mercedes-Benz CLA as soon as it breaks cover. Sales will begin shortly after, and the model will reach American showrooms by the summer of 2019. Pricing will start in the vicinity of $32,000.