- The third-generation CLS sands off some of the previous gen’s sharp edges.
- The fastback coupé design continues to show that a two-door design can translate to a sedan.
- The interior in luxurious and high-tech, and the CLS comes with a new inline six-cylinder engine.
The Mercedes CLS has been an offbeat but compelling ride for 15 years. A fastback, four-door “coupé,” that offers a sleek take on the sedan and has surfed an influential wave on the luxury market. The fastback shape has never been more popular, offering a suave shape.
The second-generation CLS had been around since 2011, so it was time for an update. Mercedes has delivered, pulling the cover off the gen-three car at the LA auto show on Wednesday.
It’s the same out sleek-and-sloping silhouette, but updated and dialed back.
“Mercedes-Benz is building more strongly than ever on the aura and unique character of this trendsetting model: the new model has pure CLS genes with its arching waistline, flat side window lines and low greenhouse,” the carmaker said in a statement.
Designer Gorden Wagener called the new CLS a “logical evolution of the Sensual Purity design idiom,” adding that sharp edges and lines have been significantly reduced.”
Fans of the CLS are getting an update on the familiar as far as the exterior goes. But there’s some new action in the engine bay.
Mercedes has developed a new inline six-cylinder motor for the CLS that features a type of mild hybrid system. (The currently on-sale second-gen car is available in the US only with a big V8 motor in CLS 550 trim.) Initially, the rear-wheel-drive CLS 450 and all-wheel-drive 450 4Matic are all we’ll be seeing.
Merc described the new engine as a “systematically electrified in-line six-cylinder with EQ Boost … and a 48 volt onboard electrical system powers.” That serves up 362 horsepower with a bump of 21 ponies that can add some extra pop in the 0-60 mph dash. In other situations, the EQ Boost enables the gas engine to cruise more efficiently.
Inside, the new CLS is as lush as you’d expect from a vehicle that should start at over $US70,000 (Mercedes didn’t announce pricing for the revamped car, but the current gen has a base sticker of about $US72,000). Of particular appeal is an all-digital instrument-infotainment setup with screens that can be tweaked according to driver preferences.
For the 2018 model year, the CLS will also come with a feature Mercedes is calling “Energizing Comfort” that was introduced in late 2017 – in a nutshell, it allows for six settings that focus on overall wellness and include aromatherapy, cabin lighting, and seat heating and massaging.
The range of driver assist features is consistent with what Mercedes now has on offer, and an available semi-self-driving system (which we recently tried on a E-Class vehicle) combines automatic steering, lane-keeping, adaptive cruise control, and lane-changing.
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