New 2019 Mercedes CLA: sleek four-door coupe wows at CES

The new, bolder Mercedes CLA four-door coupe has been launched at the 2019 Consumer Electronics Show

Mercedes has brought us the first big launch of 2019: this new CLA, which will join the A-Class range at the lower end of the German manufacturer’s line-up.

The original CLA was the first ‘coupe saloon’ to be offered in the A-Class’s segment. But rivals from BMW and Audi have subsequently arrived – and Mercedes has also added a regular saloon to the A-Class range – so the latest CLA needs a stronger identity as a more stylish four-door.

• Everything from the 2019 Consumer Electronics Show

The new shape should help, because this CLA is 48mm longer than before, and while it’s slightly narrower overall including the side mirrors, the body itself is more than 50mm wider. That’s allowed the firm’s engineers to widen the front and rear tracks by 63mm and 55mm respectively.

Overall the profile does a better job of looking like a ‘baby CLS’ than the old CLA ever did – thanks, in part, to a more complex boot, which has more pronounced curves than before and an integrated ‘lip’.

The CLA’s wheelbase is 30mm longer than the A-Class’s, helping to deliver a bit more legroom for rear-seat passengers. Interior space should be much improved over the old CLA, in fact; there’s 17mm more headroom up front, and more elbow and shoulder room for rear passengers.

Boot capacity is actually slightly reduced, from 470 litres to 460 litres, but Mercedes says the car should be more practical anyway, because of a much wider floor and a larger aperture into the load space.

It’s significant that the firm decided to reveal the car at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas, showing just how confident Mercedes feels about its current connectivity and infotainment offerings.

The CLA Coupe will get the same MBUX set-up as the A-Class, incorporating the ‘Hey Mercedes’ voice-controlled assistant, but adding greater local content. It also introduces Interior Assist, which brings adaptation of the screen content as a hand approaches it, and the scope for gesture control ‘favourites’ to be stored, for both the driver and the front passenger.

The CES debut also incorporated the vivoactive 3 Smartwatch, which monitors stress levels and sleep quality in general, and shows the pulse rate of the wearer on the in-car media display, too.

The car shown in Vegas was a CLA 250, powered by a four-cylinder turbocharged petrol engine. By the time the car reaches UK dealers, more modest petrol versions will also be available, starting with a CLA 180, alongside a number of four-cylinder diesels.

There’s unlikely to be a manual gearbox option anywhere in the range, but four-wheel drive could be offered on higher-end petrol models.

Mercedes claims that a lower centre of gravity helps to give the CLA “the sportiest driving characteristics” of its compact car range. The Coupe gets multi-link suspension at the rear, a thicker anti-roll bar than the A-Class and the option of adaptive dampers. UK specs have yet to be finalised, but globally, it will be offered with wheels ranging from 16 inches to 19 inches in size.

Higher-performance versions of the car are also in the pipeline. Expect a CLA 35 AMG and CLA 45 AMG to follow within six months, and a Shooting Brake estate will arrive within the same time frame.

There’s no word yet on pricing, but the new CLA is likely to be offered with both Sport and AMG Line trim levels, and to start from around £29,000. Mercedes will begin taking orders next month, and the first UK customers should get their cars from June onwards.

Do you like the new Mercedes CLA? Let us know your thoughts below…

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *