Hail the Fresh Prince!
In a joint announcement in Stuttgart and Los Angeles, the new 3rd Generation Mercedes Benz CLS was revealed. They always had to maintain the recognisable clear contours carried through all generations of the CLS but with reduced lines. The new lines still reflect the timeless aura of the first CLS, which founded a new market segment (4-door coupe) in 2004 and quickly became a design icon. The original CLS combined the elegance and dynamism of a coupé with the comfort and functionality of a saloon.
The grill contour that widens towards the base and a forward-slanting front section determines the newest character and resembles the contours on the Mercedes-AMG GT. The wide, low-set headlamps with inward-slanting flanks dynamically follow the contour of the grille.
The two-section, LED tail lights with Edgelight backlighting have a crystalline appearance and create a three-dimensional effect. Their low positioning accentuates the width of the vehicle.
All CLS models are equipped with new engines: in-line six-cylinder and in-line four-cylinder units as diesel and petrol versions. Like its predecessors, the new CLS exudes self-assured sportiness with style. It’s not a racer; instead offering impressive long-distance and acoustic comfort coupled with thrilling, unrivalled technology. The four-door coupé will enter the market in March 2018.
The new model has pure CLS motifs with its arching waistline, flat side window lines and low roofline. Mercedes Benz still touts a logical evolution of the Sensual Purity design idiom: sharp edges and lines have been significantly reduced. This is meant to blend into the current Mercedes-Benz coupé family. Its cd value of 0.26 is positive proof of outstanding aerodynamics.
New Power Plays
The range of engines for the CLS is completely new. Three six-cylinder models will be available on market launch:
- CLS 350 d 4MATIC (210 kW/286 hp, 600 Nm; combined fuel consumption 5.6 l/100 km, CO2 emissions combined 148 g/km)
- CLS 400 4MATIC (250 kW/340 hp, 700 Nm; combined fuel consumption 5.6 l/100 km, CO2 emissions combined 148 g/km)
- CLS 450 4MATIC Hybrid (270 + 16 kW/367 hp + 22 hp; combined fuel consumption 7.5 l/100 km, CO2 emissions combined 178 g/km)1
The sporty CLS is also comfortable. The AIR BODY CONTROL suspension, ENERGISING comfort controls and latest infotainment generation with In-Car-Office, smartphone connectivity via Mercedes-Benz Link and wireless charging provide the goods. The touchpad in the centre console gives haptic and acoustic feedback when operating the numerous convenience functions and settings.
The standard equipment on the CLS is extensive as usual. The highlights include LED High Performance headlamps, 18‑inch light-alloy wheels with mixed tyres, Lane Keeping Assist, Speed Limit Assist, a 12.3‑inch media display, ambience lighting including illuminated air vents, Mercedes-Me connect services and a communication module with LTE.
The ULTRA RANGE high beam of the MULTIBEAM LED headlamps produces the maximum light intensity permitted by law.
Sporty Lines of Mercedes-Benz coupés
“The new CLS is a design icon as the archetype of the four-door coupé. In line with our hot & cool design philosophy, we have reduced its DNA to an extremely puristic level while emotionally charging it with an almost erotic beauty,” says Gorden Wagener, Chief Design Officer Daimler AG.
Striking front-end features include the diamond grille typical of Mercedes-Benz coupés, with a single louvre.
The side design is all about the high, arching waistline and sporty, low roofline with frameless side windows. The 3rd Generation CLS still sports a muscular rear shoulder line which blends smoothly into the flat rear end.
The luxurious interior of the CLS Coupé has clear basic lines, and echoes the sensual, flowing contours of the exterior. The high-grade choice of materials is matched by a very high level of finish.
The cockpit is sporty, width-accentuated and the colour combination creates an impression of generous spaciousness. As a new highlight, the ambience lighting and illuminated air vents are reminiscent of jet aircraft turbines.
A high-resolution Widescreen cockpit is available, with two 12.3‑inch displays arranged beneath a shared, continuous glass cover. The centre console is of either open-pored or high-gloss wood.
On the fully digital cockpit, the driver can configure the information content according to need and the driving situation. Three different styles can be selected depending on preference, mood or to suit the interior appointments. The Classic and Sport styles have a basic structure with two tubes, while the Progressive style surprises and polarises with a structure having a central, tube-shaped instrument.
The ambience lighting is individually adjustable in 64 colours, and also includes the air vents.
The seats were designed exclusively for the new CLS. The outer seats in the rear have the same appearance as the front seats, creating a sporty single-seat impression. However, the CLS Coupé is a five-seater for the first time. When required the backrests can be folded down in a 40:20:40 ratio, expanding the generous 520‑litre luggage compartment.
The optional ENERGISING comfort control links various comfort systems in the vehicle like the climate control system (including fragrancing), heated seats, as well as lighting and musical atmospheres.
Six programmes can be selected: Freshness, Warmth, Vitality, Joy, Comfort and Training (muscle relaxation, muscle activation and balance).
The new CLS has a steel four-link front suspension and a five-link rear suspension as standard equipment. Upon request is the AIR BODY CONTROL air suspension with an improved, adjustable and adaptive damping system. The driver is able to choose vehicle characteristics from comfortable to sporty using the driving mode switch.
Edition 1: Exclusive launch model (not for UK)
The exclusivity of the CLS can be heightened with the Edition 1, which will be available for around one year after the market launch. This special model has numerous luxurious features as standard, which are only available for the Edition 1.
These include the COPPER ART interior concept with seats in black pearl nappa leather with centre sections in a diamond design and copper-coloured accents, copper-coloured contrasting topstitching on the centre console, seats, armrests, dashboard and door linings, and a unique diamond grille with matt chrome pins and louvre with a copper-coloured shimmer. The Edition 1 is available with all engine variants.
The exterior is based on the AMG Line. Special features include MULTIBEAM LED headlamps as standard and 20‑inch multi-spoke AMG light alloy wheels painted in black with a high-sheen rim flange. The special model is recognisable by the “Edition 1” lettering on the front wings.
Highlights of the interior based on the AMG Line, additionally include:
- dashboard support lined in black nappa leather
- centre console and dashboard support trim in black open-pored ash wood
- IWC analogue clock with exclusive dial face
- Vehicle key in high-gloss black with high-sheen chrome surround
- Ambient lighting in 64 colours incl. illuminated ventilation nozzles
- Mirror package
- Memory package
- Rear seat backrest foldable in a 40:20:40 ratio
- Floor mats with “Edition 1” badge and copper-coloured piping
- Chrome “Edition 1” lettering on the centre console and “Edition 1” display on the welcome screen.
As an owner of the first generation CLS, some nostalgic bias for the iconic design is inevitable. Certainly, the rear end on the original CLS is still considered perfection by the cognoscenti.
However, we have to concede the superior dynamic and ergonomic improvements evident in the new 3rd Generation CLS. That is the inexorable nature of Progress and we must move with the times. I only wish they kept the rear design…..
Author’s Biography: Melvyn Teillol-Foo (MTF)
Dr Melvyn Teillol-Foo is a contributor on AlphaLuxe web-zine.
He is also a moderator on PuristSPro.com horology discussion fora. He blends his scientific medical objectivity from the pharmaceutical industry with purist passion, in his musings about watches, travel, wine, food and other epicurean delights.
His travelogue ‘Lazing’ and feasting ‘Grazing’ series of articles have now passed into “mythic legend” on the original ‘ThePuristS.com’ website. Those were the halcyon days when he was “rich and famous” that he remembers with bittersweet fondness.
Dr Teillol-Foo is a quoted enthusiast on the watch industry, appearing in feature articles and interviews by Wall Street Journal, International Herald Tribune, Sunday Times (London), Chronos (Japan), Citizen Hedonist (France) and other publications. He has authored articles for magazines like International Watch (iW) – both U.S. & Chinese editions, ICON (Singapore), August Man (Singapore), Comfort (China) and The Watch (Hong Kong).