Mercedes-Benz has unveiled a new flagship design vehicle in the new-generation CLS at the Los Angeles Auto Show. The car features a new exterior design, a new six-cylinder engine, and new suspension technologies. It will enter the market in late 2018 as a 2019 model.
The 2019 Mercedes-Benz CLS will be the third generation of the CLS, continuing with the model's "four-door coupe" styling. The signature single-louvre, diamond grille that marks a Mercedes starts the exterior design. The fenders dominate around the hood, surrounding it as the movement of the car's design pushes back to the windscreen in forward motion. Flat, wide headlamps slant inward from the grille, and a high-arching waistline marks the bodywork.
Unlike previous Mercedes-Benz designs, however, lines are kept to a minimum with the shape of the bodywork being largely smooth and rounded rather than accented by heavy creases and busy lines. It's a much more sophisticated look that carries to the rear of the car, where the CLS remains simple in its boot. This overall sophistication of plainness is what will carry forward with Mercedes designs, Chief Design Officer Gorden Wagener says.
Inside, the 2019 Mercedes-Benz CLS works to mirror the exterior's simplicity with a contoured design and the use of materials to create lines and edges. The center pillars are opened through high-strength materials used to allow the frame to be thin for a lighter feel. Air vents are turbine-like and the high-resolution central display for infotainment combines with that motif to make for a more technologically-advanced feel to the CLS' cabin. A "digital cockpit" for the driver allows nearly full configuration of the instruments hrough styling cues based on the car's chosen drive mode.
Lighting cues inside the CLS will also add information. Ambient lighting can be set to any of 64 different hues and will briefly change color to indicate changes being made, such as the raising or lowering of the cabin's temperature when climate controls are used. New seating designs make the CLS a five-seat four-door.
Mercedes-Benz is also debuting a new "ENERGIZING Comfort" system that combines comfort-oriented systems in the CLS with one another to add what Mercedes calls "wellness" to the mix. This allows any of six programs to be selected that optimize heating (climate control, seat, steering, etc) with lighting, seat massage, music, and fragrance releases from the vents. The modes are Refresh/Freshness, Warmth, Vitality, Joy, Comfort/Well-being, and Training.
Underpinning the new exterior and interior design for the CLS is a new chassis system, upgraded technologies for driver-assistance and safety, and a new engine. Most of the driver-assistance systems are updates of currently-available options such as lane-keeping, crash mitigation, adaptive cruise control, blind-spot management, and so forth. Evasive steering assist, speed control through corners and turns, and active lane-change assistance are new thanks to improved radar systems and better programming for roadway sensing. The adaptive cruise control can now handle stop-and-go traffic as well.
Suspension components have been upgraded and lightened for the new CLS. An available air suspension gives improved, adjustable damping and driving characteristics adjustable through the drive mode selection made by the driver. That drive mode also changes engine and transmission responses.
The engine in the CLS450 and CLS450 4Matic (all-wheel drive) is a new inline-6-cylinder with an integrated starter/generator and 48-volt onboard electrical system for improved efficiency and short-term power boosting. The new engine is rated at 362 horsepower (270 kW) and 369 pound-feet (500 Nm) of torque. The EQ Boost from the electric motor can add up to 21 hp (15.7 kW) and 184 lb-ft (249 Nm) to that. Mercedes has not released acceleration numbers yet.
In addition to adding power to the engine's output during acceleration, the EQ Boost electrics can allow the car to "sail" or coast when power needs are minimal, such as when cruising on the highway or going downhill. This should further improve fuel economy in the 2019 CLS.
The new 2019 Mercedes-Benz CLS will enter showrooms in North America in late 2018 with a special launch edition model called the Edition 1. This will have several top-end standard luxury features as well as a unique interior concept called "Copper Art."
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