Wednesday, 16 January, 2019

New Mercedes CLA has some serious CLS vibes, smart tech

Mercedes CLA Coupe Mercedes-Benz India sales rises 1.4% to 15,538 units in 2018
Cecil Davis | 10 January, 2019, 16:39

The new CLA-Class will available with either front-or all-wheel-drive, and both come with a seven-speed dual-clutch automatic transmission.

In fact, the compact coupé-inspired four-door has also broken the shackles of the A-Class design idiom, no longer sharing its frontal design with the hatch that it's ultimately based on.

The vehicle on display features the familiar turbocharged 2-litre engine with the "250" nomenclature.

The new CLA measures 4 688 mm long and 1 830 mm wide (increases over the original of 48 mm and 53 mm, respectively), while its height has been cut two millimetres to 1 439 mm.

A decoupled multi-link rear axle will be offered, with active adaptive damping available as an option. 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. Mercedes said this, along with the car's lower centre of gravity, helps to ensure it has improved driving dynamics. To that end, the new CLA uses the latest iteration of the MBUX infotainment system, a twin 12-inch screen system that debuted on the A-Class at CES previous year. Yet the CLA Class is an important model for Mercedes-Benz nonetheless. The sloping coupé roofline is emphasised by frameless doors.

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It has grown in size, which has resulted in more cabin space. Legroom, however, is broadly similar to the previous model's and the boot has shrunk by 10 litres to 460 litres.

The company says it emphasized "youthful" and "high-tech" elements in the revamped CLA interior. In US market versions initially, the "Hey Mercedes" voice assistant can apparently handle more complex queries, even something like "Which child-friendly Asian restaurants are nearby which are neither Chinese nor Japanese?", as well as complex questions about sport, share prices and so on. Gesturing towards the rear-view mirror can also control the reading light.

Thanks to a raft of driver assistance gadgets inherited from its bigger brothers, the little four-door is also able to drive semi-autonomously in certain situations, with advanced camera and radar systems allowing it to see up to half a kilometre ahead. 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 auto for it.

While the previous-gen CLA is now on sale in India (priced between Rs 34.38-36.99 lakh, ex-showroom, pan-India), this secxond-gen model is unlikely to launch in our market.