Second-gen Mercedes-Benz CLA: Bigger, Wider, More Agile
Exceptionally Agile, Yet Comfortable
In terms of driving dynamics, the new CLA keeps the promise of its design: a wide track (an extra 63 mm at the front and 55 mm more at the rear compared to its predecessor) and a lower center of gravity are the two key features which give the CLA the sportiest driving characteristics of all models in the new generation of compacts from Mercedes-Benz.
The technical specification includes a decoupled multi-link axle at the rear for reduced noise and vibration, a Direct-Steer system as standard and hydromounts at the front. A stabilizer bar with a larger diameter reduces body roll. As an option, an active adaptive damping system is available, giving the driver the choice between comfort, or a more uncompromising sporty tuning.
The range of wheels starts at 18 inches and goes up to 19 inches. The ESP has been specially adapted to the CLA’s potentially high cornering speeds and handling performance.
One Year Later, MBUX Keeps Learning
One year ago, MBUX – Mercedes-Benz User Experience – created a furor at its world premiere at CES in Las Vegas with a powerful computer, brilliant screens and graphics, customizable display, full color Head-up Display, Augmented Video for Navigation, software that can learn, and “Hey Mercedes” – the keyword for Voice Control that surpasses conventional automotive standards.
This is how Mercedes-Benz is revolutionizing car operation and communication. Now the company is igniting the next level. MBUX Interior Assistant facilitates natural operation. The Voice Control feature now recognizes topical answers in a growing number of domains. Due to ongoing development of the system, it is also possible to take into consideration country-specific content providers.
“The latest version of Voice Control for MBUX – Mercedes-Benz User Experience – can be experienced in the new CLA. For example, the voice assistant, activated by the keyword ‘Hey Mercedes,’ is able to recognize and answer considerably more complex queries,” said Sajjad Khan, Member of the Divisional Board of Mercedes-Benz Cars for CASE and Head of Digital Vehicle & Mobility. “What’s more, the voice assistance no longer gets confused by other passengers conversing. Instead it only responds to the commands of the person who last said ‘Hey Mercedes’ to activate the system.”
MBUX Interior Assistant: An Even Greater Experience
By recognizing movements, MBUX Interior Assistant brings added intelligence to the interior. Thanks to innovative technology, MBUX now supports the occupants by making various comfort and MBUX functions even simpler and more intuitive. MBUX Interior Assistant operates in non-contact mode and functions both in sunlight and in complete darkness.
It enables the adaptation of screen content as soon as a hand approaches the touchscreen in the dashboard or the Touchpad on the center console. Individual elements are highlighted according to the currently active menu. In addition, the system is able to distinguish between the driver’s and front passenger’s hands and thus knows for whose seat the massage function is to be activated.
A special feature of MBUX Interior Assistant is the personal favorites function, which can be initiated with a horizontally outstretched index and middle finger. In this way, any command which is controllable via MBUX can be stored for simple access. One typical favorite command is “take me home.” As the system is able to reliably recognize who is operating it, the driver and front passenger respectively can even assign different favorites to the same hand position.
There are other functions which can be controlled intuitively, without any need to practice corresponding gestures: In the dark, the reading lamp can be switched on and off by briefly extending a hand towards the rear-view mirror. If the driver reaches over towards the unoccupied front passenger seat in the dark, it will be illuminated automatically. This makes it easier to find any items which may have been set on the seat. As soon as the person’s hand leaves this area, the light automatically switches off again.
‘Hey Mercedes:’ Better Understanding, More Clever Responses
State-of-the-art Voice Control can also be experienced in the CLA as a part of the MBUX system. Here too seat recognition has been implemented. The voice assistance only responds to the commands of the person who last said “Hey Mercedes” to activate the system. When paired with Mercedes me connect, the voice assistant can recognize and respond to considerably more complex queries, for example:
“Find child-friendly Asian restaurants nearby with a four-star rating, which are neither Chinese nor Japanese?”
There is also a growing number of domains for which MBUX can understand complex questions and quickly reply: these include sports (“Hey Mercedes, how did the San Francisco 49ers play?“), the stock exchange (“Compare the share price of Apple Incorporated to Microsoft”), calculations (“What is the square root of 3?”) or general knowledge (“How big is Texas?” or “What is the fat content of an avocado?”).