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Our Editor heads to Munich, Germany, to get up close and personal with the all new Mercedes-Benz CLA-Class. Here's what you need to know about the new car.

29 Apr 2019

The all new second generation Mercedes-Benz CLA-Class made its debut at the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) earlier this year in Las Vegas, and it instantly made a much better impression than its predecessor.

No longer is the CLA filled with lighter curves and creases. Instead, it has been simplified, which helps amplify its presence and looks. As a matter of fact, unlike the previous generation, you could argue that the new Merc resembles the sexy CLS-Class more and that wouldn't be wrong at all.

More than just the obvious change in its design, there are a number of appealing changes that you need to know about the new CLA-Class.

The CLA-Class has a matured driving behaviour to match its impressive looks
1. It's not just a Posh Spice, it's also a Sporty Spice now

Thanks to a lower centre of gravity, a particularly wide track that helps it carve corners and a low drag coefficient of 0.23, the new CLA-Class is sportier and more dynamically sound than its predecessor.

Both variants - the CLA200 and the CLA250 - that I tested displayed high levels of fun and maturity on the highway at Autobahn speeds and around long and winding roads, thanks to its taut chassis, grippy tyres and cooperative steering.

More relevantly in Singapore's context, the car's comfort levels have gone up several notches. Not only are occupants well-protected from outside noises, the CLA manages to soak up imperfect tarmac conditions effortlessly.

The CLA250 Edition One that you see here won't be lacking any road presence
2. Stronger presence than it already has

With a length of 4,688mm and a width of 1,830mm, the new CLA is 48mm longer and 53mm wider than its predecessor. This gives the car a stronger presence than it already has.

Couple this with its seductive sheet metal that can potentially make the CLA a design icon, and what you'll get is a car that will effectively draw attention from passers-by at the lights and stares of envy from other drivers around you.

This is if you're piloting the regular CLA. Should you decide to spend more to get the Edition One, which will be an optional choice in Singapore, you can bet your last dollar the car won't lack any road presence, thanks to its biggish 19-inch wheels, and other numerous visual accents that underline the car's exclusivity.

The MBUX will be your driving companion every time you need someone to talk to
3. You can talk to the car

While speaking to the car is now becoming a common function amongst car makers such as Audi and BMW, the Mercedes-Benz User Experience (MBUX) is genuinely user-friendly with its 'Hey Mercedes' voice recognition function that can recognise and answer queries on a number of different topics.

Not only does this add intelligence to the car, it certainly gives you the convenience of adjusting the air-con temperature or finding the nearest petrol station. Or you could just simply request for a specific song from a specific artiste and the system will find it for you - as what I did during my time with the the car.

More impressively, though, is that the Siri-like system doesn't just work base on voice recognition. It is also touch sensitive and gesture control-capable, which gives it an edge over its rivals.

Two larger-than-life 10.25-inch touchscreens greet you as you enter the car
4. It's high on tech

On the note of talking to the car, the new CLA's cabin appears to be similar to the new A-Class hatchback. This comes as no surprise, considering both cars are based on the same re-engineered architectural MFA platform.

This means the CLA gets two free-standing 10.25-inch touchscreens - one serves as a configurable instrument cluster while the other is the aforementioned infotainment system that includes the 'Hey Mercedes' voice assistant.

Also making the CLA tech-savvy is the optional multibeam LED headlamps that can have the high beam remain on at all times without affecting oncoming vehicles, thanks to its ability to deactivate individual high beam modules.

The CLA200 will be the first of many variants to arrive in Singapore at the end of this year
5. It isn't just a couple of variants that's coming

Fans of the new CLA will undoubtedly be pleased to know that the car will not just come in a couple of variant. We are talking several, and we're excluding the shooting brake body type.

Multiple variants of this new four-door coupe will be available for Singapore - CLA180, CLA200, and an indent-only CLA250. An optional Edition One variant is also available. And yes, you can expect the AMG models to be part of the CLA lineup too.

However, it's the CLA200 that will be the first variant to arrive here in the fourth quarter of this year.

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