At the CES 2019, Mercedes presented not only a new wearable, but also the Mercedes-Benz CLA 2020, thus demonstrating the technical capabilities of the new and improved MBUX system, which will be launched with the vehicle. The new CLA joins the A-class and the GLE class, which will also offer the new MBUX infotainment system. The new system is a big step forward over the previous generation COMAND system. MBUX now also supports natural voice input.
The voice control listens to the activation word “Hey Mercedes” and can even answer complicated questions. During a test drive in Croatia, I even discovered an Easteregg, in which the car suddenly made a declaration of love! At the Las Vegas press conference, on the other hand, a more practical example was shown: “Hey Mercedes, what kid-friendly Japanese or Chinese restaurants are nearby?” Unfortunately, we have not had the opportunity to test the new system ourselves, but we hope that it can now solve problems without the help of the cloud (keyword “Edge Computing”). With limited data connection, this would mean faster response times.
By default, MBUX is housed in a 7-inch display. Also included is a 7-inch dashboard display. But most buyers will probably opt for the optional 10.25-inch displays. The operation of the screen is of course via touch. The system can also be controlled via touchpads on the redesigned steering wheel and the touchpad on the center console.
Interestingly, the new CLA also offers some new interaction methods. This includes, for example, the Interior Assistant, who made his debut in the GLE. The gesture control system replaces pressing keys for many functions; z. For example, you can wave in the direction of the rearview mirror to turn on the light, or move your hand toward the passenger seat to brighten the passenger side. The feature works both during the day and when it is completely dark.
The Interior Assistant also supports some more complicated gestures. With a V-finger gesture over the center console you can, for example, open your pre-programmed favorites. The system can also differentiate between the hands of the passenger and the driver and retrieve the appropriate favorite functions of the individual.
As far as the intelligent driving functions are concerned, the adaptive cruise control with the route-dependent cruise control receives a practical upgrade. Based on GPS data, the car automatically brakes when approaching a turn, toll control, or other things on the map. In addition, the system detects whether you are approaching a slower speed zone – for example, a construction site – and brakes the vehicle accordingly.
The other driving aids in the new CLA include the active steering assistant, which keeps the car in the lane, as well as the active lane change assistant. In addition, the emergency brake system may bring the vehicle to a halt if the system determines that the driver is careless or incapacitated.
These new features, combined with the essential Blind Spot Warning System and Lane Assistant, make the CLA one of the most technically advanced compact models on the market.
Inside, the design is reminiscent of the new A-Class – that is, the now ubiquitous turbine-inspired air vents are front and center, and are complemented by optional larger screens and plenty of lighting.
Mercedes jokingly remarked during the press conference that they would also be the hottest Introduce gadget to the show; a new wearable that could compete with the many other novelties of the technology fair.