The third-generation of Mercedes’ segment-defining four-door luxury spots coupé is overflowing with high-tech features but – at its LA Auto Show unveiling, at least — is low on performance.
When the first-generation CLS was revealed in 2003 it created a brand new luxury car sub-segment – the four-door coupé or fastback – and revealed an exciting new dynamic side to Mercedes, in terms of design language, at least.
In fact it was so popular that it led Audi to launch a competitor in the form of the A7 and for BMW to launch not one, but two stretched four-door coupés: the 4-Series and 6-Series Gran Coupé. The CLS’s early success also played a part in dictating the reborn Cadillac’s design language.
“The new CLS is a design icon as the archetype of the four-door coupé,” said Daimler’s chief design officer, Gorden Wagener.
And while the new CLS, just like the original, has been designed to simultaneously look like and look nothing like the rest of the company’s existing model lineup, those aggressive looks, especially at the front end, don’t mesh with what is lurking under that sloping hood and behind that almost menacing-looking grille.
That’s because, initially at least, the most potent version of this car will be the CLS 450 4MATIC. It’s good for a 4.8-second 0-100km/h dash and offers 270kW/500Nm on tap, but it isn’t the sort of performance one would expect from a big menacing Mercedes.
Still that CLS 450 has a 48-volt hybrid system that Mercedes is calling EQ Boost that can serve up an extra 16kW when the driver needs it most and can boost fuel economy at lower and higher rev ranges. Mercedes describes it as taking all of the performance benefits from a V8 and combining them with all of the efficiency of a small block six-cylinder engine.
In fact, when one looks at those output figures again and then realizes the engine producing them is actually an all-new aluminum block in-line 3.0-liter six-cylinder unit, then anticipation regarding the V8 version (due to be unveiled early in 2018) goes up a gear.
Still there will be no quibbles about the levels of comfort on offer, nor the levels of cutting-edge connectivity and active driver assistance features. As well as being pretty much able to drive itself and to ask other similar Mercedes questions regarding road conditions, the CLS can double up as a mobile office.
Tell the car to switch to office mode and all work-related calendars and schedules will appear on the car’s countless dashboard screens. It will also be able to automatically dial the driver into a conference call if need be – it can even access and automatically enter all of those PIN numbers needed for certain types of group calls.
But regardless of its under-the-hood shortcomings, by continuing with the CLS Mercedes is providing a genuine alternative to the typical luxury sedan that isn’t a crossover or SUV. – AFP Relaxnews