2019 Mercedes-Benz CLA unveiled at CES

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The second-generation Mercedes-Benz CLA has been unveiled in Las Vegas overnight.

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The new CLA directly replaces the outgoing first-generation model, and is pitched by the star brand as the sportier, four-door “coupe” alternative to the A-Class hatch and sedan.

Dimensions wise, the new CLA is 48mm longer, 53mm wider and 2mm lower than the outgoing model, with increased front headroom (17mm). Rear seat room has also improved, with increased elbowroom (44mm), extra legroom (1mm) and additional shoulder room (22mm).

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Visually, the new CLA looks a lot like a shrunken CLS, with a similar ‘predator’ front fascia, swoopy coupe roofline and slim LED headlights and taillights. Other design features include the frameless doors, wide fenders and a ‘powerdome’ bulged bonnet. The variant pictured is the Edition 1, a limited-edition launch special that’s covered in bright orange accents.

Inside, the A-Class’ cabin has essentially been photocopied and placed inside the CLA. There are the same dual 10.25-inch touchscreens, running Mercedes’ MBUX infotainment system, which sit above a neat stack of physical buttons.

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Under the skin, the CLA boasts wider tracks front and rear for improved looks and handling, in addition to a lower centre of gravity, 0.23Cd drag coefficient and standard multi-link rear axle. Adaptive dampers will be available as an option, as will alloy wheels up to 19 inches in size.

The CLA is packed with technology from higher-end Benz models, including autonomous emergency braking, lane-keep assist and Mercedes’ ‘Energising Coach’, which sets up the climate control, lighting and audio to create themed cabin experiences. There’s also a smart adaptive cruise control system, which can adjust your speed automatically when approaching corners, intersections or roundabouts.

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The vehicle on display at CES is a CLA250 variant, which is powered by a 2.0-litre turbocharged four-cylinder that produces 165kW of power and 350Nm of torque.

A host of other powertrains will be available to customers when the CLA goes on sale later this year. The full list is expected to closely reflect the A-Class and B-Class, which consists of 100kW, 120kW and 140kW 1.3-litre turbo petrols and 110kW and 140kW 2.0-litre turbo diesels. The German brand says these powertrains will be paired to a mix of front and all-wheel-drive, and manual and automatic transmissions.

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An Audi S3-fighting AMG CLA35 with 225kW/400Nm is slated to launch later this year, along with the full AMG CLA45 with 310kW and a rear-biased AWD system that includes a drift mode.

The new Mercedes-Benz CLA goes on sale in Europe in May, with an Australian launch set for Q3 2019. A US launch is also planned.

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