2020 Mercedes-Benz CLA-Class Revealed at CES 2019: Here’s What’s New

Mercedes’ entry-level coupe brings more power, in a larger package.

2020 Mercedes-Benz CLA
2020 Mercedes-Benz CLA Edition One. [Photo: Mercedes-Benz]

At first glance, the 2020 Mercedes-Benz CLA isn’t drastically different from the model it replaces. The car has taken on a sharper, more aggressive stance, in line with its bigger siblings. This Edition One — which is not coming to the United States — also sports some cool-looking orange trim. It is bigger in every dimension, though, and it still packs a 2.0-liter turbocharged engine.

2020 Mercedes-Benz CLA

Under the hood, that powerplant makes 221 horsepower and 258 lb-ft of torque. That adds up to 13 more horsepower than its predecessor, although the torque remains the same. The CLA 250, currently on display at CES 2019 in Las Vegas, still uses a seven-speed dual-clutch transmission. The 2020 Mercedes-Benz CLA is available in either front-wheel drive or all-wheel drive versions. Mercedes hasn’t announced pricing yet, but the CLA 250 will hit U.S. dealers by late 2019. At this point, there’s no word of higher models up the range, including an AMG variant.

Mercedes is pitching the 2020 Mercedes-Benz CLA at cars like the BMW 2 Series, Acura ILX and Audi A3. While the new CLA rides on the same platform as the A-Class, its 2.0-liter turbo engine is more powerful than the entry-level A220 we’re getting in the U.S. right now.

2020 Mercedes-Benz CLA

Tech reigns supreme

In all, the 2020 Mercedes-Benz CLA is 1.9 inches longer, 2 inches wider and a hair shorter than the previous generation. Thanks to its larger size, there’s more headroom, shoulder room and elbow room than before. The car also has a 2.5 inch wider track in front and 2.2 inches wider in back, which ought to help the car keep a more surefooted stance on the road. As with any new car, however, the big story lies in the technology. And the 2020 Mercedes-Benz CLA is no exception.

2020 Mercedes-Benz CLA
The 2020 Mercedes-Benz CLA gets a dual-screen setup with MBUX, similar to the rest of the brand’s updated range.

At last year’s CES, Mercedes unveiled its MBUX system. Short for “Mercedes-Benz User Experience”, it uses a powerful computer with software that can learn complex queries. The company has also refined the system over time, to the point where it no longer gets confused by passengers talking in the car while the driver’s giving voice commands. Instead, the system responds to the person who directly addresses it with ‘Hey Mercedes’. In the CLA, that system comes ties to a 7.0-inch touchscreen display (as standard equipment).

Not only can you use voice commands to control various interior features, but you can also use your hands. MBUX incorporates what Mercedes calls the “Interior Assistant”, that can interpret hand and arm movements. As a teaser for CES 2019, we saw how that worked in practice, with the driver switching on the dome lights:

The 2020 Mercedes-Benz CLA also features a 7.0-inch digital instrument cluster as standard equipment, which the driver can control through touch controls on the steering wheel. 10.25-inch displays for both instrument cluster and media are available as options. Wireless charging, adaptive suspension, heated and ventilated seats and MBUX are also relegated to the options list.

2020 Mercedes-Benz CLA
Multicontour seats are also optional equipment in the 2020 Mercedes-Benz CLA.

Safety equipment

The 2020 Mercedes-Benz CLA brings Active Distance Assist and Active Lane Keeping Assist as part of the Driver Assistance Package, as with the previous generation. Active Brake Assist which allows the car to mitigate forward collisions comes as standard equipment.

Mercedes claims to have improved the camera and radar systems over the previous generation to enhance the car’s safety systems. To that end, the 2020 Mercedes-Benz CLA can drive semi-autonomously, and also includes the PRE-SAFE PLUS system. That system watches out behind the car for an imminent rear-end collision. If it detects someone is about to rear end the car, it will firmly apply the brakes to reduce the risk of injury.

Stay tuned to TFLcar.com for more updates from CES 2019, and more on the 2020 Mercedes-Benz CLA! Check out more photos of the 2020 Mercedes-Benz CLA below: