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CES 2019 preview: New cars and tech from Audi, Honda, Mercedes and more

Here’s a look at what global automakers are bringing to Las Vegas in January.

CES

CES 2019 is right around the corner, taking place from Jan. 8 to 11 in Las Vegas, Nevada. Although primarily a technology exhibition, the world's largest and most significant tech show is big news for car fans, too. As infotainment, artificial intelligence and autonomous innovation become even greater components of the driving (or mobility) experience, the past decade has seen CES evolve into a hot destination for some of the auto industry's most important debuts.

The 2019 show will feature numerous unveilings from the likes of Audi, Honda, Mercedes-Benz and more, as well as automotive suppliers (such as Bosch) who specifically manufacture the complicated componentry that makes cars more self-aware. In this roundup, we're sticking to just what the OEMs are debuting. Still, there's plenty to see as automakers reach for higher tech. If you have to skip the big Vegas show this year, fear not. We'll be updating this page with all the breaking car technology news we can find, so that you won't miss a thing.

Drive-in movie theaters are trying to make a comeback, but Audi's technological spin on the concept may be the lynchpin that makes drive-ins relevant for the 21st century.

Audi

Audi

As far as we know, Audi will not be debuting a vehicle at CES 2019. But piecing together the clues we've been given so far, along with what we know about the automaker's Disney collaboration, it should be a memorable CES for the German automaker.

Audi is planning on showing off two technologies. One is called the "on-the-road entertainment format," which is designed to keep you entertained or occupied while the vehicle does the driving. The other is called "Audi Immersive In-Car Entertainment," which is better suited for when the vehicle is stationary, essentially rendering it a movie theater on wheels. The latter seems more apt for the "Audi Meets Disney" partnership we covered in depth earlier this year.

While not designed to replace human workers, this autonomous ATV from Honda could certainly help them.

Honda

Honda

Honda will be showcasing its various robotics technologies at CES 2019. Leading the charge will be the Honda Autonomous Work Vehicle that actually debuted last year at CES under the forgettable "3E-D18" moniker. The automated ATV has already been field-tested with firefighters and solar companies, and Honda will be demonstrating what the rugged bot can do on the CES show floor.

Among other innovations, Honda will also display its PATH (Predicting Action of the Human) robot that can navigate through hoards of people without disturbing them. Check out our deeper discussion about Honda's robotics here.

Hopefully when the Mercedes-Benz CLA-Class debuts, it will be more than just an A-Class with less headroom.

Mercedes-Benz

Mercedes-Benz

The biggest thing hitting the Mercedes-Benz stand is one of the luxury carmaker's smallest vehicles: the new CLA-Class. Based on the A-Class sedan, which already sports a swoopy roofline, the CLA will carry the coupe-inspired theme a little further. That means a little less rear headroom, but a greater helping of style.

With its tech show debut, the new CLA will not disappoint when it comes to managing the zeros and ones. The stylish four-door will show off MBUX -- the three-pointed-star's newest infotainment interface that can be operated with natural language commands a la Siri.

CES will also mark the US debut of the Mercedes-Benz EQC, an all-electric SUV built to battle the Audi E-Tron and Jaguar I-Pace. When it eventually hits the road, the EQC should prove a worthy contender with its estimated 240- to 270-mile range, assuming you don't dig too deep into the 402 horsepower and 564 pound-feet of torque onboard.

Mercedes will also show off its Vision Urbanetic Concept for the first time in the US. The autonomous van looks to be an accurate study of how personal mobility could look in just a few short years. Learn even more about these debuts here.

Nissan

Citing a report from German publication Electrive via Autoblog, there's a decent likelihood that the Nissan Leaf E-Plus could debut at CES. The extended-range Leaf is predicted to pack a 60-kWh battery allowing for perhaps 225 miles of range and a price tag similar to the base Chevrolet Bolt ($37,495 including $875 for destination, for reference).

As we reported last month, the Leaf E-Plus was supposed to debut around the time of the LA Auto Show, but Nissan decided to delay the unveiling until after dust had settled over the arrest of the company's former chairman Carlos Ghosn. CES looms on the horizon, the news cycle has cooled on Ghosn's arrest, so it seems the Leaf E-Plus is ripe for a debut at the biggest show in tech.