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Mercedes-Benz CLA 2020 brings gesture controls, smarter voice assistant

The relationship between cars and consumer tech is growing ever closer, leading to a greater presence of automakers at CES 2019 than ever before.

Mercedes-Benz chose the annual tech extravaganza to debut its new 2020 CLA coupe and, judging by the feature list, it’s easy to see why. The German auto giant is introducing a brand-new Interior Assistant feature, which will enable drivers to access certain functionality simply by using cockpit gestures.

For example, drivers will be able to trigger the dome light inside the cabin via a hand gesture, with the feature able to determine whether it’s the driver or the passenger making the gesture.

Related: CES 2019

Mercedes is also adding a new and improved version of the voice-controlled MBUX infotainment system/personal assistant.

It can now handle more complex requests, as evidenced by the demo at CES. Mercedes said drivers will receive more helpful responses to “find me an Asian restaurant in Las Vegas, with no sushi and at least a 4-star rating.” Impressive, if the “Hey Mercedes” commands work as advertised.

Elsewhere, the car will also play nice with Garmin’s Vivoactive 3 smartwatch or another compatible watch to recommend a new stress-relieving energising mode.

The connectivity will use heart-rate data to control the air conditioning seats, lighting and music in order to help relax the driver. This could help when you’re set to rage at another driver, or at risk of falling asleep at the wheel. There’s also the new semi-autonomous features the company announced for the S-Class series of cars.

In terms of power, the next CLA will offer a 2.0-litre inline-4, 221 horsepower engine with 258lb-ft of torque. There’s no news on price, top speed, or 0-60mph acceleration, but the new CLA is expected to launch in late 2019.

Does the new Mercedes-Benz CLA coupe sound like the perfect smart car for you? Drop us a line @TrustedReviews on Twitter.

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