By Manny N. de los Reyes

LOCAL MERCEDES-BENZ importer and distributor Auto Nation Group unveiled last week at the hip Versus Barcade in Uptown Mall in Bonifacio Global City the new second-generation CLA Class — a compact sedan that features a sporty yet elegant design with its coupé profile.

For the first time, the CLA comes with the acclaimed Mercedes-Benz User Experience (MBUX) infotainment system, ushering a new era of the Mercedes-Benz driving and riding experience.

Solely available as a CLA 180 Progressive variant, the new CLA Class comes with a price point of P3,190,000 and is now available at all Mercedes-Benz dealers nationwide.

The choice of a vibrant bar/arcade was apt as the atmosphere perfectly reflected the fun and active persona of the new CLA, which now sports a sleeker, sportier, and more high-tech character — from its evocative styling to the aforementioned MBUX system.

“As a four-door coupé, the new CLA intrigues with its puristic, seductive profile and brings the design DNA of ‘sensual purity’ to a new level. It is compelling for its perfect proportions, which are very close to the initial design sketches: a long, stretched bonnet, a compact greenhouse, a wide track with flared wheel arches and our typical GT rear end with a pronounced ‘Coke-bottle shoulder’,” says Gorden Wagener, Chief Design Officer of Daimler AG.

A premiere model from the Mercedes-Benz front-wheel drive family, the new CLA presents a strikingly sensuous exterior with its coupé-like silhouette, making it the most expressive car in its segment. The design underlines the coupé character with its stretched form and the design elements such as the hood with powerdomes. It cements its predecessor’s status as a design icon in the compact luxury class.

The new CLA sports high-performance LED headlamps with daylight running lamps. These complement the low-slung hood and diamond grill, creating the car’s compelling visage, which echoes those of classic Mercedes-Benz sports cars. The new narrow slanted tail lamps and the number plate housed in the bumper on the rear emphasize the width of the new CLA, which thus appears flatter and sportier and has an especially strong presence on the road with its 18” multi-spoke light alloy wheels. The combination of the long, stretched entry line above the windows and frameless doors give the CLA Coupé its unmistakable sporty and elegant character.

Inside the new CLA, all elements are arranged according to the overarching design themes of “high tech” and “youthful avant-garde” from the leather multi-function steering wheel and new touchpad to the Artico leather seats and other design enhancements in the dashboard. The driver seat can be electrically adjusted with three memory functions.

The new CLA has notably more space at many spots in the interior. At the front, for example, headroom has increased by 17mm and elbowroom by 35mm. Thanks to a wider opening (up by 262mm), the trunk is now more convenient to load compared to its predecessor. For more space and storage, the CLA offers comfort seats with seat cushions adjustable for depth and angle, with a 40:20:40 split-folding rear seat backrest.

As seen in the latest models of the A-Class and the GLE, the new CLA showcases the latest generation of the Mercedes-Benz User Experience (MBUX) infotainment system with two 7-inch digital screens for the instrument cluster and the media display.

At the heart of the MBUX system is a highly intelligent virtual assistant activated by pressing a button in the steering wheel or by simply saying “Hey Mercedes” from anywhere in the cabin. It caters to voice commands to attend to infotainment functions such as destination input, phone call, music selection, and climate control. MBUX comes with a natural speech recognition program that helps it to recognize and understand nearly all sentences from the fields of multimedia and vehicle operation. The infotainment system also offers seamless Apple Carplay smartphone integration for a more hands-free driving experience.

Included in its roster of driver-assist and safety features are Active Parking Assist with rear-view camera, Active Brake Assist, Adaptive brake lights, Anti-lock braking system (ABS), Electronic Stability Program (EPS), Acceleration Skid Control, and Hill-Start Assist, among others. It’s also equipped with a Pedestrian Protection Active hood as well as multiple air bags for the driver and front passenger including windowbags and kneebag for the driver.

This sexy sedan from Stuttgart is powered by a 136hp/200Nm 4-cylinder engine mated to a 7G-DCT 7-speed dual-clutch automatic transmission.

It comes equipped with Dynamic Select that allows the driver to shift between various driving modes that suit their driving style, the weather, and road conditions. The CLA is also equipped with a comfort suspension package and direct steering assist.

The stylish new CLA comes in Polar White, Digital White, Night Black, Mountain Gray, Denim Blue, Sun Yellow, Jupiter Red, Mojave Silver, and Cosmos Black.