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The second generation of Benz's smaller four-door coupe will be revealed at CES.

Mercedes-Benz has announced that the second generation of its compact CLA-class four-door coupe will make its debut at the CES show in Las Vegas early next month. "But wait," you might say. "Isn't the new A-class sedan basically the same thing as the CLA? Why make a new one?" Well, dear reader, we are here to answer that question.

The simplest explanation: The CLA is a "coupe," and the A-class is a "sedan." Mercedes' four-door-coupe designation is a divisive one, but there's no denying that the new CLA's swooping roofline (complete with frameless door glass) and more aggressive style will set it apart from the more practical A-class. The current CLA is around three inches longer than the new A-class as well, and we expect that the next-gen model will be a bit bigger still.

While the A-class is available only in A220 guise, with a 188-hp turbocharged 2.0-liter inline-four, we bet the CLA will be offered as a CLA250. In Europe, the A250 makes 221 horsepower from the same four-cylinder engine, and a more powerful engine would further distinguish the CLA from its A-class sibling. Front-wheel drive will be standard, with 4Matic all-wheel drive as an option. And two AMG versions of the CLA—a CLA35, which will be close in specs to the A35, and a CLA45 with about 400 horsepower—will follow shortly behind the standard car.

Mercedes says it decided to show the CLA at CES because it will feature an "evolved" version of the company's new MBUX infotainment system, which made its debut with the A-class a year ago. The company says that despite the system's newness, MBUX will receive a number of updates that will be introduced at the show.

The CLA should go on sale in the middle of 2019 as a 2020 model, and a slight price increase from the 2019 CLA250's $34,095 starting point is likely.
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