Arguably one of the most significative debuts at the ongoing Los Angeles Auto Show is the arrival of the third generation CLS four door coupe – just in time to battle for supremacy with the equally new Audi A7.
The new generation isn’t a significant departure from the outgoing model, but it does bode well with the company’s Sensual Purity design language, and arguably some will say it integrates it better than the new E Class, for example – mainly thanks to the implementation of the front fascia, which is inspired by the AMG GT range, not the regular passenger lines. The CLS does come out on its own, being the first to signal the arrival of a new mild-hybrid powertrain labeled “EQ Boost”, along with the inline-six gas engines. The CLS also switches over to the Mercedes’ MRA modular architecture, and according to chief engineer Michael Kelz “it’s a combination of E-Cass and S-Class components” – it will be manufactured on the same Sindelfingen, Germany E-Class line but feature the interior, electronics, and driver-assistance systems of the facelifted S Class.
All the body is now made out of aluminum save for the steel doors, which are still frameless for added panache and better NVH, while the length has been increased by 2 inches and height dropped by half an inch. Moving inside people will have trouble distinguishing the CLS from the S Class, with the exact same combination – from the twin 12.3-inch color displays down to the combination touchpad/rotary controller on the center console. There are distinguishing features – air vents with lights changing from blue to red according to the temperature adjustments, and a less cluttered area for the Comand infotainment system shortcuts. The cabin also features the introduction of a standard five-seat arrangement, as opposed to the predecessor’s exclusive 2+2.
The powertrain for the Americas is the CLS450 4Matic, which now features an “EQ Boost” assistance – a six-cylinder petrol unit featuring an integrated starter/generator and a 48 volt onboard electrical system, delivering 367 hp and 500 Nm plus a further 250 Nm of torque and 16 kW/22 hp available via EQ Boost over short periods. It thunders to 62 mph (100 km/h) in 4.8 seconds with an average fuel economy of 7.5 liters per 100 km. The engine choices for Europe also include two new diesels – for the 350 d and 450 d models, all featuring 4Matic all-wheel drive. The two arrive with 286 / 340 hp and acceleration times 5.7 / 5 seconds against an average fuel economy of 5.6 liters per 100 km. The motor-generator is integrated into the nine-speed automatic transmission and also has a 1-kilowatt-hour, 48-volt lithium-ion battery. The air con is now electrically powered, so the car can coast with the engine off and keep the cabin cool while stopped at the red lights. Most of the technologies – including autonomous features – come from the S Class, and there’s also V2X communication.