Here’s all you need to know about the new 2019 Mercedes CLA Coupe
2019 Mercedes CLA Coupe
Upgraded infotainment and autonomous driving aids
Price and release date
From £28,000, on sale end of February
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The A-Class’ sportier big brother, the 2019 Mercedes CLA Coupe gets stylish looks and a number of mechanical tweaks that are designed to make it better to drive. Everything you like about the A-Class is carried over to the CLA, so you get pretty infotainment screens and a brilliant sat-nav system that can superimpose directions on to a display of the road ahead. The clever kit is topped off by an upgraded version of Merc’s MBUX operating system that can respond to spoken instructions.
2019 Mercedes CLA price and release date
The Mercedes CLA goes on sale at the end of February with a starting price of around £28,000 – although that’ll jump to more than £35,000 for the Mercedes-AMG CLA 35 with 310hp. Choosing an alternative to the CLA isn’t easy because the sporty BMW 2 Series, which starts from £25,000, only has two doors, while the £23,500 four-door Audi A3 saloon isn’t very sporty.
2019 Mercedes CLA Coupe styling
The 2019 Mercedes CLA Coupe is based on the A-Class hatchback and that’s pretty evident from the front, where the two cars are all but identical.
Step to the side though, and it’s all change. The CLA looks like a junior Mercedes CLS thanks to its sloping roofline and stylish pillarless doors. Wheel sizes range from 16 to 19 inches in size, although the car in these pics (called the Orange Art Edition) won’t be coming to the UK. So if you fancy those garish wheel rims, your luck is out.
2019 Mercedes CLA Coupe practicality
The 2019 Mercedes CLA Coupe is more practical than the car it replaces. Headroom in the front seats has increased by 17mm, while you get marginally more rear seat legroom and headroom. Factor in 44mm more rear elbow room and 22mm more shoulder room and the new CLA will feel much more accommodating for adults on the back seat. The CLA Coupe has a 460-litre boot that’s about 25% bigger than A-Class’ on paper. In reality, though, the A-Class’ wide-opening hatchback boot will make it easier load.
2019 Mercedes CLA Coupe interior design
The Mercedes CLA Coupe has one of the smartest interiors you’ll find in a car this price. Dominated by two huge infotainment screens, it’s also crammed full of cool touches such as its beautifully detailed turbine-style air vents.
Garnish comes in the form of a choice of carbon-fibre and metallic look finishes. Higher-end models, meanwhile get stitched leather that extends from the seats onto the insides of the doors.
2019 Mercedes CLA Coupe infotainment
There’s no word yet on whether the CLA will come as standard with the crummy infotainment screens you get on basic A-Class models but, if it does, a visit to the options will be essential.
That’s because Mercedes’ top-of-the-range infotainment – the one you see in these pics – comes with huge screens sporting high-definition graphics that make the displays in the Audi A3 Saloon look like they’ve been modelled on a 90s computer game.
Along with the big screens, the 2019 Mercedes CLA Coupe gets an improved version of the MBUX operating system fitted to the A-Class. It can be controlled using voice commands – by starting each instruction with the words ‘Hey Mercedes’. In this updated version however, Mercedes says you can ask more complex, spoken-word questions without it getting into a muddle, and its answers will be based on the car’s immediate surroundings. For example, ask the CLA to navigate to a street name and it’ll take you to the nearest street with that name, rather than one in a completely different city.
The touchscreen is also smarter. It can recognise whether it’s being operated by you or your passenger – choosing, for example, which seat to adjust depending on who is operating the controls. Also new for the CLA is its motion-sensing interior lights that will illuminate automatically if it detects you rummaging around looking for something that’s fallen into the passenger footwell.
Aside from just helping you, the 2019 Mercedes CLA Coupe can also pamper you if you spec the Energizing Package Plus. It pre programmes the car’s systems – including the stereo, air-con, seats and fragrance (depending on what your car has fitted) – to best suit your mood. So, if you’re tired, one press of the infotainment screen can have cold air blasted into the cabin, loud music playing on the stereo, an invigorating massage thumping through your seat and the fragrance equivalent of smelling salts pumped into the cabin – all in a bid to keep you alert behind the wheel.
2019 Mercedes CLA Coupe driving
Mercedes has made a number of changes to the 2019 Mercedes CLA Coupe that the company says make it the most fun-to-drive ‘small’ car it sells.
That kicks off with the CLA’s standard Direct-Steer system, which should make it feel more enthusiastic in bends by reducing the amount you need to turn the steering wheel in a series of corners.
Grip should also be improved. To start with, the CLA’s track – the space between the left and right-hand wheels – has increased significantly (by 6.3cm at the front and 5.5cm at the back) when compared with the A-Class, to make the car more planted in corners, while its thicker anti-roll bars stop the car leaning like a listing ship in corners.
The rear suspension has also been improved, with the CLA getting independent rear suspension as standard – it’s only an option in the A-Class. It allows the back of the car to grip the road better – with each wheel able to deal with bumps independently.
The optional adaptive dampers, meanwhile, mean you can choose soft suspension to smooth out bumpy roads, before switching to a stiffer setup when the route turns twisty.
2019 Mercedes CLA Coupe safety
The CLA will be available with a suite of autonomous driving systems that’ll mean it can pretty much drive itself on the motorway and in queues of traffic. Fit the Active Distance Assist DISTRONIC – as part of the optional Driving Assistance Package – and the car can automatically slow for bends, roundabouts and junctions. It’s a clever feature that isn’t available in alternatives such as the Audi A3 Saloon.
While you can choose from a huge number of optional safety features, there’s no real need to because the CLA comes as standard with everything you need. That includes automatic emergency brakes that’ll stop or lessen the impact of imminent collisions and Active lane Keeping Assist. This pulses the steering wheel if the car senses you’re drifting out of lane on the motorway and can even pull you back into lane – by applying the brakes on one side of the car – if you try to cross a solid line in the centre of the road.
2019 Mercedes CLA Coupe engines
The 2019 Mercedes CLA Coupe is fitted with a 225hp, 2.0-litre four-cylinder petrol from the A250. In time, though, you’ll be able to choose from a range of petrol and diesel engines – including the unit that’ll be fitted to the new AMG A45, which is rumoured to have around 400hp for a 0-62mph of under four seconds. All CLA Coupes will come fitted with an automatic gearbox and you’ll be able to choose from front and four-wheel drive.
2019 Mercedes CLA Coupe aerodynamics
The most economical diesel versions of the CLA will be capable of fuel economy of around 75mpg thanks to their high-tech engines but also because the CLA will be one of the most aerodynamic cars on sale. It features a grille that closes over at speed and air breathers ahead of the front wheels that help to smooth the airflow around the car. Under the Mercedes, you’ll also find body cladding – which stretches from the front to the back wheels – that helps reduce drag.
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