The new Mercedes CLA has been revealed at the CES in Las Vegas, with an emphasis on its technology, rather than on the new CLA itself.
The CES in Las Vegas may not seem the most logical place to launch a new car, but that’s where the new Mercedes CLA has arrived on view. And when you look at what Mercedes has to say about the new CLA it soon becomes clear the emphasis is not on the CLA and its abilities, but on the CLA and its ability to be a four-wheeled computer.
Yes, Mercedes tell us it gets bigger – and it is better looking for it – and they do tell us the car on show is the new CLA 250 with a 222bhp four-cylinder petrol engine. But they don’t bother telling us much more, just a throwaway line about diesel and petrol engines and 4WD being available when it launches in May.
To be fair, Mercedes do tell us the new CLA will be the sportiest of the A-Class models thanks to a decoupled multi-link back axle, a direct steer system with hydromounts, bigger stabiliser bar and optional adaptive dampers.
But the rest of the blurb is all about the technology which, impressive though much of it is, shouldn’t be what defines the car. But it seems it is.
The attention is on the updated ‘Hey Mercedes’ MBUX with its big screens and Alexa-like interface, which can now ‘see’ your movements and react accordingly, adapting screen content as your hand approaches, ‘seeing’ whether it’s driver or passenger making changes, adjust lighting and contrast to suit functionality and letting you set custom functions.
Just like Alexa, it will also answer quite complex questions like ‘How has the Apple share price performed compared to Microsoft? ’ (just what you need to know as you’re trying to filter on to the M25), and will focus on your wellbeing too by adjusting seats, massage functions, lighting and more to make you feel good.
Surprisingly, it seems the new Mercedes CLA is also a car, and a car which might be quite a good drive.