The third-generation Mercedes-Benz CLS has made its debut at the LA Auto Show. The four-door coupe that started it all has an all-new design inside and out and marks the return of the inline six-cylinder engine.
Originally introduced in 2003, the Mercedes-Benz CLS is the car that started the craze of a “four-door” coupe that almost every other luxury automaker has followed. You get the design and style of a sports coupe as well as its name, but with four-doors. An oxymoron yes, but people love them.
Taking some of its new styling cues from the Mercedes-AMG GT, the new CLS loses more of the character lines distinctive of the previous generation for a simpler and less defined form. Smoother flanks depend on small details to exude its design DNA.
Its nose is now shark-like in its form, leaning forward with a more menacing silhouette. An inset hood helps to further reduce visible lines from a distance. LED headlamps and crystalline LED tail lamps pop with needed character
From the side view, the new CLS retains its high belt line and low greenhouse that is now iconic. At the rear view, shoulders are seen in spite of its simplified forms, accentuated by low tail lamps that bring a new design direction for Mercedes-Benz more handsome I think than in recent designs.
Unlike the previous generations of the CLS, the interior design mimics near identically the new E-Class with its wide wall of a dash that houses a vast expanse of glassware. The digital age comes to CLS with the availability of twin 12.3-inch displays customizable in a myriad of ways to push the hot buttons of almost any kind of driver.
It’s all high tech and modern, but if I’m honest miss the intimate driver’s cockpit form of the previous generation design.
There are many niceties here though including ambient lighting hidden in every nook and cranny including the air vents that’s adjustable in 64 colors. Seating surfaces have a custom hand-sewn feel to them with bold piping and stitching detail.
Also new is the fact that this CLS has accommodations for five passengers instead of four. In such, the rear seat can be folded down in a 40/20/40 split to actually make the CLS more practical than it has ever been.
What may be the most groundbreaking news here is that the CLS marks the return of the Mercedes-Benz inline six-cylinder engine, first of a comprehensive family of new gasoline and diesel engines that will ultimately supplant the V6 is almost all models.
The all-new 3.0 liter gasoline engine in the CLS comes with 362 horsepower and 369 pound-feet of torque. It features an integrated 48-volt starter-generator with an additional 21 horsepower and 184 pound-feet of torque.
Called EQ Boost, the mild hybrid system provides motive power for short bursts such as on take-off and can maintain speed of the CLS with the engine off much as a conventional hybrid. It also provides regenerative braking.
Suspension consists of a four-link design at the front and a five-link system at the rear standard with steel springs and conventional dampers. Optional is the Mercedes-Benz AIR BODY CONTROL air suspension with improvements over the previous generation and fully adjustable via the user selectable drive modes.
Like the E-Class which it shares much of its DNA, the CLS will also come with a vast array of driver assistance systems both standard and optional. Available are DISTRONIC active distance assist, active steering, speed limit assist, active brake assist with cross-traffic function, evasive steering assist – the list goes on and on. It has a lot of stuff. Enough said.
The 2019 Mercedes-Benz CLS450 in both rear-wheel and all-wheel-drive CLS450 4MATIC will go on sale here in North America in fall of 2018. AMG models are sure to be announced by that time with even more power to be had.