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CES LIVE: 2020 Mercedes-Benz CLA

by Byron Hurd

Benz's baby coupe will be all-new for 2020.

Ten years ago, a vehicle debuting at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas would have been a novelty. Today, it's pretty much expected. Despite the fact that Detroit is a mere week away, Mercedes-Benz brought the 2020 CLA to Las Vegas for its world debut.

Outside, the 2020 Mercedes-Benz CLA looks quite a bit like its predecessor. The overall body shape and profile are essentially unchanged, with most of the changes becoming obvious when examining the details.

You'll notice that the character lines on the body sides are now less pronounced (no doubt a product of the company's new crease-free design vision). New headlamps flank an updated grille which, with the AMG touches at least, sort of reminds us of the current Dodge Charger's front end (and not in a bad way).

The most welcome changes are inside, and this is likely what nudged Mercedes-Benz's product development team to debut the new CLA in Las Vegas. The headline feature is standard Mercedes-Benz User Experience (MBUX), which is Benz's new infotainment system with natural language recognition and keyword activation (just say "Hey, Mercedes," a la consumer devices with similar functionality) which accompanies other serious interior upgrades.

Larger Mercedes-Benz vehicles have been available for a few years with twin, 12-inch displays for infotainment and vehicle functions, and the little CLA is finally getting in on the action. The screens are a bit smaller (10.25" apiece) but they are aligned to give the impression of a single digital panel running from behind the wheel to the far side of the center stack. Base models get separate 7-inch displays, which is still an upgrade from the old model. Mercifully, the infotainment display is a touchscreen.

Under the hood, the 2020 Mercedes-Benz CLA coupe is powered by a turbocharged, 2.0L inline-four producing 221 horsepower and 258 lb-ft of torque. Benz's seven-speed DCT is the standard transmission whether you opt for front- or all-wheel-drive. We expect bigger engines to be introduced as the new CLA matures, including an all-wheel-drive-only AMG model with dynamic suspension and north of 400 horsepower.

The 2020 Mercedes-Benz CLA Coupe will go on sale late in 2019. Pricing will be announced closer to its on-sale date. Stay tuned.

Live images by Ronan Glon.