The new Mercedes-Benz CLA has finally been revealed, with the Stuttgart-based automaker claiming the second-generation model has the “potential to become a modern design icon”.

Making its official debut at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas, the four-door CLA features the latest version of the brand’s MBUX system, complete with a fresh “interior assist” function that “recognises operational demands from gestures”.

It will be manufactured at the firm’s Kecskemét plant in Hungary, and is expected to launch in South Africa in the third quarter of 2019.

The CLA on display at CES 2019 is the CLA250 derivative, which employs a 2,0-litre four-cylinder petrol engine worth 165 kW and 350 N.m. This unit is mated to a seven-speed dual-clutch transmission. However, Mercedes-Benz promises there will be a “broad range” of diesel and petrol engines available featuring manual or dual-clutch transmissions and all-wheel drive at a later stage.

The new CLA measures 4 688 mm long and 1 830 mm wide (increases over the original of 48 mm and 53 mm, respectively), while its height has been cut two millimetres to 1 439 mm. The wheelbase, meanwhile, grows some 30 mm to 2 729 mm. Boot capacity, interestingly, is down ten litres to 460.

The wider track (an extra 63 mm at the front and 55 mm more at the rear) and a lower centre of gravity contribute to what Mercedes-Benz describes as the “sportiest driving characteristics”, as does the decoupled multi-link arrangement at the rear.

An active adaptive damping system will be optionally available, while wheel sizes will start at 16 inches and go up to 19 inches (with tyre sizes starting at 205/60 R16 and culminating in 225/40 R19). Benz says the sleek sedan boasts the “very latest” driving assistance systems (adopted from the S-Class), including the ability to drive semi-autonomously in certain situations. It will furthermore be offered with the option of Multibeam LED headlamps.

Inside, the CLA shares various design elements with the latest A-Class, and its widescreen display is likewise free standing. The aforementioned “interior assist” system in the updated MBUX arrangement gives occupants the ability to, for example, turn on the reading lamp by briefly extending a hand towards the rear-view mirror. And if the driver reaches over towards the unoccupied front passenger seat in the dark, it will be illuminated automatically to make it easier to find any items that may have been left on the seat.

As has become customary with new Mercedes-Benz models, the CLA will be available in “Edition 1” guise (as pictured here) in its first year of production.