A controversial nameplate when it debuted in 2003, the CLS has matured into a must-have in the Mercedes line-up, allowing the marque to keep the E-Class on its inoffensively conservative track with, Mercedes insists, surprisingly little cannibalisation between the two similarly sized cars.
"The new CLS is a design icon as the archetype of the four-door coupé," Daimler’s chief design officer Gorden Wagener claims. "In line with our hot and cool design philosophy, we have reduced its DNA to an extremely puristic level while emotionally charging it with an almost erotic beauty."
RIGHT. MOVING ON THEN...
The base cars will ride on fixed-rate steel springs, though active dampers are an option, while top-spec versions can be fitted with Body Control air suspension setups.
LED headlights are standard equipment even on the base 350d, but Benz claims the Ultra Range version reaches the "maximum light intensity permitted by law", with more than
1 Lux at more than 650m.
Benz is working to position itself as a cutting-edge in-car connectivity operator, delivering both the In-Car-Office and Mercedes-Benz Link to back it up. Along with a 12.3-inch infotainment screen, the base CLS package includes 18-inch alloy wheels, 64 colour choices for ambient lighting, illuminated air vents, lane-keeping systems, a speed limit assistant and a communications module with LTE.
Where the E-Class and S-Class interiors are all about sumptuousness, the CLS trends more towards sportiness, complete with flowing dash design.
It retains the high-resolution twin-screen pioneered by the S-Class, though it integrates it better, with its two 12.3-inch high-resolution screens nestled beneath a shared glass cover.
It will come with three interior design styles, while its driving software includes all the S-Class’s semi-autonomous technologies. Besides active cruise control, navigation-supported Level 2 autonomy and the usual array of lane-keeping and self-parking systems, there is an unusual new feature. Dubbed Pre-Safe Sound by Mercedes, it uses the sound system’s noise-cancelling abilities to "prepare human hearing for the anticipated accident noise when there’s a risk of collision".
We don’t really understand what that means either.