Its been four years since the Mercedes CLS first came to market. At the time it was a revolutionary four-door coupe design that has proved popular, in fact it has inspired a number of competitors to develop their own four door coupes, including the VW Passat CC and Porsche?s Panamera (due in 2009), to name but two. Mercedes have decided its time for a mild refresh and revealed the updated CLS overnight.
The changes are typically Mercedes subtle, with notable changes including a revised front grille, featuring two louvres in place of the previous four, larger side mirrors with built in arrow shaped indicators, LED tail lights, trapezoidal exhaust tips and a mildly revised rear bumper. New style alloy wheels feature throughout the range.
On the inside, the new CLS receives a restyled three spoke leather steering wheel with multi-function controls along with a restyled instrument cluster featuring white dials.
The big news is the new CLS 280, now the entry level model to the CLS line-up. The CLS 280 gets a 3.0-litre V6 good for 170kW/231hp and 300Nm. The 3.0-lite V6 may have its work cut out hauling around the CLS?s portly frame, but it still manages the sprint from 0-100k/h in 7.7 seconds, while achieving a respectable 9.8-10.0 litres per 100kms. The CLS 280 shares the same 7G-TRONIC seven-speed automatic transmission as used throughout the CLS line-up.
The rest of the CLS range is dominated by the top of the range CLS 63 AMG powered by the AMG?s 6.3 litre V8 producing 378kW/514hp, with the CLS 320 CDI (165kW/224 hp V6 diesel), CLS 350 CGI (215kW/292hp V6 petrol) and CLS 500 (285kW/388hp 5.5-litre V8 petrol), fleshing out the options between entry level and AMG.
The new look CLS is due to be on sale in Europe from March this year, although at this point Australian pricing and availability is not known. The MB press release follows the picture gallery.
The new-generation CLS: Fine-tuning for the design trendsetter
Mercedes-Benz is making the CLS even more irresistible. This one-of-a-kind four-door coup? ? the pioneer of a whole new automotive segment ? has now been fine-tuned to give it added appeal. The new entry-level model version, the CLS 280 with its sophisticated V6 power unit, develops 170 kW/231 hp. Meanwhile, the flagship model in the range ? the CLS 63 AMG with its 378 kW/514 hp AMG 6.3-litre V8 engine ? now comes with 19-inch AMG light-alloy wheels plus a new AMG sports exhaust system.
Understated but masterly neatly sums up the result of the restyling programme for the CLS. At the front, it is the modified radiator grille that stands out, with two louvres now instead of the previous four. The diamond-shaped, three-dimensional grilles painted in atlas grey that cover the air intakes project an even greater air of self-assurance as well as adding further emphasis to the vehicle's width. The exterior mirrors have also been given a new look. The LED side indicator lamps that are built into them are arranged in the form of an arrow to produce a most eye-catching effect, especially in the dark. The mirror surface has furthermore been enlarged by 32 per cent to afford a clearer view of the traffic behind and thereby boost active safety.
The side view is dominated by new, attractively styled light-alloy wheels, measuring either 17 inches (CLS 280, CLS 320 CDI and CLS 350 CGI) or 18 inches (CLS 500) in diameter. When viewed from the rear, the new-generation CLS makes its mark with a new rear apron, new tail lights, as well as modified tailpipes. The centre section of the rear bumper now drops down further, while the additional light-catching contour running along it adds to the impression of breadth. This is further emphasised by the exhaust tailpipes, which are trapezoidal in shape, and not oval as before. LED technology is now deployed for the tail lights: the brake lamps, tail lamps and indicator lamps all make use of the extra-fast-reacting light-emitting diodes. Just like the side indicators in the exterior mirrors, the rear indicators look like arrows when they light up, which is particularly striking in the dark. The same is true of the optical fibres at the side, which are always activated whenever the low-beam headlamps are switched on.
A new deactivation function for the low-beam headlamps when the ignition is switched off helps to optimise energy management.
The new bodywork details harmonise perfectly with the multi-award-winning design of the CLS and make the four-door Coup? always look as if it is about to dash off. Almost four years on from its world premiere, the electrifying, muscular lines of the trendsetter are as unique and as unmistakable as ever.
New inside: three-spoke steering wheel and new telematics generation
Great attention to detail was paid while updating the interior too: modifications include a restyled leather steering wheel in a three-spoke design with multifunction buttons, as well as a new-look instrument cluster, whose white dials now contrast distinctly with the chased surface of the backplate. The previous matt laurel colour scheme has been replaced with new chestnut wood trim elements.
The CLS features the new NTG 2.5 telematics generation, whose high-performance componentry combines straightforward operation and logical menu navigation with flawless in-vehicle entertainment. Features include speed-sensitive volume control, a keypad for entering telephone numbers and radio frequencies, an MP3-compatible CD and DVD player, as well as a Bluetooth interface which can establish a wireless connection between a mobile phone and the vehicle's hands-free system.
The Audio 20, Audio 20 CD with CD changer, Audio 50 and Audio 50 APS with DVD changer and LINGUATRONIC voice control system have now been upgraded to a 5-inch colour screen. The COMAND APS comes with a high-resolution 6.5-inch colour display, LINGUATRONIC for audio, navigation and telephone calls, a music register for storing audio files, plus an SD memory card slot.
CLS 280: new entry-level engine variant with 170 kW/231 hp
The CLS 280 is equipped with a new entry-level engine, a sophisticated V6 powerplant with a displacement of 2996 cc developing a peak output of 170 kW/231 hp and a maximum torque of 300 Newton metres. This propels the CLS 280 from standstill to 100 km/h in 7.7 seconds and gives it a top speed of 245 km/h. Combined fuel consumption on the NEDC driving cycle is 9.8 - 10.0 litres per 100 kilometres. The second V6 petrol model in the range is the CLS 350 CGI. Its advanced six-cylinder engine featuring piezoelectric direct injection and spray-guided combustion generates 215 kW/292 hp and returns impressively low fuel consumption figures of 9.1 to 9.3 litres per 100 kilometres (NEDC combined). Under the bonnet of the CLS 500 is a V8 drive unit with a displacement of 5.5 litres and a maximum output of 285 kW/388 hp. What makes the CLS 320 CDI with its 165 kW/224 hp V6 diesel engine especially thrilling is the formidable torque of 540 Newton metres on the one hand and, on the other, low fuel consumption of just 7.6 - 8.1 litres of diesel for every 100 km (NEDC combined).
All CLS models come fitted with the 7G-TRONIC seven-speed automatic transmission as standard. In manual shift mode "M", the driver is able to shift through the gears using shift paddles on the steering wheel if desired. This shortens the 0-100 km/h acceleration time by 0.2 seconds.
CLS 63 AMG flagship model with AMG SPEEDSHIFT PLUS 7G-TRONIC
The flagship model in the CLS range, the CLS 63 AMG, is powered by the AMG 6.3-litre V8 engine with 378 kW/514 hp and 630 Newton metres of torque. The high-revving, naturally aspirated engine now makes its presence known in an even more distinctive fashion: the AMG sports exhaust system's redesigned rear silencers deliver an even more captivating soundtrack through the two sets of oval-shaped, chromed twin tailpipes. The AMG SPEEDSHIFT PLUS 7G-TRONIC transmission now incorporates a function which blips the throttle automatically during downshifts. This does more than just intensify the emotive driving experience - the virtually load-free downshift procedure also leads to a reduction in load-alteration effects, which is of particular benefit when braking ahead of corners on the race track. The CLS 63 AMG accelerates from 0 to 100 km/h in 4.5 seconds, while its top speed is limited electronically to 250 km/h.
Also new is the black-painted radiator grille with two louvres instead of the previous three, which blends in perfectly with the AMG bodystyling. The AMG light-alloy wheels, with their new triple-spoke design and a titanium grey, high-sheen paint finish, now measure 19 inches in size instead of 18 as before, and are shod with tyres measuring 255/35 R 19 at the front and 285/30 R 19 at the rear. Inside, the CLS 63 AMG boasts a new AMG sports steering wheel with a three-spoke design. The grip areas are specially contoured and trimmed in perforated leather. Gear selection can be performed manually by means of two aluminium AMG shift paddles.
Attractive optional extras from AMG
There is an exclusive choice of new optional extras from the AMG Performance Studio for the CLS 63 AMG: take the AMG performance steering wheel, for instance, with a smaller diameter, a rim that is flattened at the bottom and silver-coloured aluminium shift paddles. Or the titanium-grey painted AMG 19-inch light-alloy wheels with a twin-spoke design and a polished finish, which are manufactured using first-rate forging technology.
All CLS models can be embellished by the addition of the AMG bodystyling package: this comprises a prominent front apron with large air intakes, a beefy rear apron featuring a black insert, as well as side skirts. There is also the option of new AMG 19-inch light-alloy wheels in a high-sheen finish with either 255/35 or 285/30 tyres.
Interested customers can place their orders for the new CLS now, with market launch commencing in March 2008. The gross purchase prices for the new CLS are as follows:
? CLS 280: Euro 55,692.00
? CLS 320 CDI: Euro 59,321.50
? CLS 350 CGI: Euro 61,404.00
? CLS 500: Euro 75,053.30
? CLS 63 AMG: Euro 106,624.00