15 years ago, with the CLS, Mercedes-Benz created a new vehicle segment that offered a car with the elegance and dynamism of a coupe and the comfort and functionality of a sedan. So influential was this new model that a number of other carmakers also developed rivals with the same concept. Two generations have since passed and now comes the third generation of the CLS, which aims to build more strongly on the aura and unique character of this trendsetting model.

The new generation has pure CLS genes with its arching waistline, flat side window lines and low greenhouse. At the same time, it is another example of the evolution of the Sensual Purity design idiom that the new Mercedes-Benz models follow. With sharp edges and lines significantly reduced, it blends seamlessly into the current Mercedes-Benz coupe family with numerous design features. For a sedan of its size, the Cd figure of 0.26 is also impressive.

The new CLS is recognisable by its clear contours and reduced lines. Its character is marked by a grille contour that widens towards the base and a forward-slanting front section. The side design is characterised by the high, arching waistline and the sporty, low greenhouse with frameless side windows. The forward-slanting front end is reminiscent of a shark’s nose, and appears longer thanks to the fully inset bonnet.

All CLS models are powered by new engines with 4-cylinder and 6-cylinder (in-line) diesel and petrol versions. At launch, the first three variants will have the 6-cylinder engines (CLS 350 d, CLS 400 d and CLS 450), all with 4MATIC drivetrains.

Of note is the powertrain in the CLS 450 which produces 367 ps/500 Nm plus an additional 22 ps/250 Nm. This is the new, systematically electrified powertrain with EQ Boost (integrated starter/generator) and a 48V on-board electrical system powers the CLS 450 4MATIC.

The integrated electric motor known as EQ Boost assists the combustion engine, eg when accelerating, to make driving without the combustion engine possible (‘gliding’). It supplies the battery with electrical energy by means of high-efficiency recuperation. By doing so, it makes fuel-savings possible that were previously the exclusive domain of high-voltage hybrid technology. The high output provides performance levels of an 8-cylinder engine with significantly lower consumption.

Further highlights of the new CLS are the AIR BODY CONTROL suspension, ENERGIZING comfort control and the very latest infotainment generation with In-Car-Office, smartphone connectivity via Mercedes-Benz Link and wireless charging.

The luxurious interior of the CLS echoes the sensual, flowing contours of the exterior. The high-grade choice of materials shows a very high level of finish. The sporty, width-accentuated cockpit and colour combination creates an impression of particularly generous spaciousness. For a flowing overall impression, the wave-like course of the interior design extends from the front to the rear doors, opening up at the B-pillars.

As a new highlight of the ambience lighting, the illuminated air vents are reminiscent of jet aircraft turbines. On request a high-resolution Widescreen cockpit is available, with two 12.3-inch displays arranged beneath a shared, continuous glass cover. The centre console with open-pored or high-gloss wood appears to be free-floating, thanks to its surface trim.

In the fully digital cockpit, the driver is able to feely configure the information content according to need and the driving situation. Three different styles can be selected depending on preference, mood or to suit the interior appointments. The Classic and Sport styles have a basic structure with two tubes, while the Progressive style has one central, tubular instrument.

The seats were designed exclusively for this model series. Depending on the interior, they feature high-quality piping or transverse seams. The outer seats in the rear have the same appearance as the front seats, creating a sporty single-seat impression, although the CLS is, in fact, a 5-seater for the first time.

Though having a relationship to the latest E-Class, the new CLS generation takes its lead from the new S‑Class in many respects. It is equipped with the latest generation of driving assistance systems, with route-based driver support provided by the Driving Assistance Package.

The exclusivity of the CLS is extended further with the Edition 1, which will be available for around one year after the market launch. This special version has numerous luxurious features as standard which are only available for the Edition 1. These include the COPPER ART interior concept with seats in black pearl nappa leather with centre sections in a diamond design and copper-coloured accents, copper-coloured contrasting topstitching on the centre console, seats, armrests, dashboard and door panels, and a unique diamond grille with matt chrome pins and chrome inserts with a copper-coloured shimmer.

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[Chips Yap]

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