This new 2019 Mercedes CLA sure takes after its grand CLS coupe-saloon brother, and that was the whole point – so it’s got the looks, but what about the personality?
As if we don’t have enough distractions in life the Germans have decided we now need cars that chirp us back – no need for a mother-in-law. Just like with Amazon’s Alexa or a new BMW, there is a latest generation voice control in the 2019 Mercedes CLA compact saloon and it responds to “Hey Mercedes”.
You can ask the system to find a pet-friendly restaurant, or for example things like, “Hey Mercedes, does this make me look like I’m driving a CLS?”
It’s a smart bit of tech that in this latest guise won’t get confused with chatter in the car according to Mercedes, and responds only to the last person that said, “Hey Mercedes.” Which is all very nice, and even nicer is the new design, which lessens the styling impact of a front-wheel drive architecture with a very short front overhang that can almost fool the observer into thinking this CLA is rear-driven.
Of course, since it’s merely a swoopier A-Class the engine is transversely mounted and drives the fronts, unless you go up the range and spec all-wheel drive. Once AMG has a go we’re talking about a compact saloon worth over 400 horsepower and capable of zero to 100km/h in under four seconds, but that’s still a year away although we’re due for a first look at the hatch version at the Geneva motor show in March.
Until the all-wheel drive AMG however, the new 2019 Mercedes CLA will go on sale this summer headed by the CLA 250. The car’s 2.0-litre turbocharged four cylinder is rated at 225 horsepower and 350Nm of torque, with a seven-speed dual-clutch automatic transmission as standard kit. Compared to the previous generation CLA that’s an improvement of roughly 15 horsepower but the torque figure remains the same.
What was a cramped saloon before has now also grown in size, so the second-gen is longer and wider with 50mm also added to the wheelbase. This means you get more room all round, except in the boot where cargo capacity drops by 10 litres to 460 litres.
There’s more good news with the chassis because Mercedes focussed on lowering the centre of gravity and widening the track, quite substantially in fact, so it’s 63mm wider up front and 55m wider at the rear. You can also choose up to 19-inch wheels, and the options list is loaded with kit straight out of the S-Class, like semi-autonomous driving features and more safety kit than you’ll ever need, hopefully.