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2019 Mercedes-Benz CLS Brings the Inline-Six: Comments

William Maley

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The Mercedes-Benz CLS is patient zero when it comes to the four-door coupe design. The first-generation model was a stunner and stood out from the other Plain Jane Mercedes models at the time. The second-generation model lost some of that distinctiveness but was still something a bit different from other sedans in Mercedes' lineup. Today at the LA Auto Show, Mercedes introduced the third-generation CLS.

As we noted yesterday when pictures of the 2019 CLS leaked out, the new model is a bit stale in terms of the design. Mercedes says this is the evolution of their “sensual purity” design philosophy which appears to mean the various creases and bold lines are removed. The front end is similar to the CLA with a similar grille shape and wider headlights. The back features a trunk lid design similar to the C-Class and S-Class coupes.

But the big news is what lies under the hood. When the CLS arrives in the U.S., it will only be available with a turbocharged 3.0-liter inline-six producing 362 horsepower and 369 pound-feet of torque. The powertrain also features a mild-hybrid system featuring a 48-volt electrical system and a combination starter and generator. It can provide an additional 21 horsepower and 184 pound-feet of torque for short bursts, along with improving fuel economy. This will come paired with a nine-speed automatic and choice of either rear-wheel or all-wheel drive.

Mercedes-Benz will begin selling the 2019 CLS in the U.S. next fall.

Source: Mercedes-Benz
Press Release is on Page 2

The new Mercedes-Benz CLS

  • Third generation of the original

Nov 29, 2017 – Stuttgart/Los Angeles: The new CLS pioneers the new design idiom of Mercedes-Benz, which is recognizable 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. Other features include wide, low-set headlights and two-section taillamps. At the same time the design reflects the timeless aura of the first CLS, which founded a new segment and quickly became a design icon. The CLS is equipped with a new inline six-cylinder engine and is the first vehicle in the Mercedes-Benz lineup with 48-volt technology with ISG that offers increased efficiency and comfort. Like its predecessors, the new CLS exudes self-assured sportiness in exemplary style: a highly emotional vehicle offering impressive long-distance and acoustic comfort coupled with thrilling, unrivalled technology. Additionally, the all-new four-door coupe seats 5 passengers for the first time. The 2019 Mercedes-Benz CLS will have its World Premiere at the 2017 Los Angeles Auto Show in November, and will go on sale in the U.S. by Fall 2018.

In 2003, with the CLS, Mercedes-Benz created a new vehicle segment that combined the elegance and dynamic feel of a coupe with the comfort and functionality of a sedan for the first time. With the third generation of the CLS, Mercedes-Benz is building more strongly than ever on the aura and unique character of this trendsetting model: the new model 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 logical evolution of the Sensual Purity design idiom: sharp edges and lines have been significantly reduced. It blends seamlessly into the current Mercedes-Benz coupe family with numerous design features.

The in-line six-cylinder engine in the CLS450 and CLS450 4MATIC is completely new, boasting 362 hp in addition to a 21 hp boost from the integrated starter- generator.

The sporty CLS also has a comfortable side: AIR BODY CONTROL suspension, ENERGIZING Comfort and the very latest infotainment generation with Inductive Wireless Phone Charging with NFC pairing accentuate this.

The standard appointments of the CLS are very extensive: highlights include AMG body styling, newly designed LED headlamps and taillamps, 19-inch light-alloy wheels, a 12.3-inch high-resolution COMAND® display, ambient lighting including illuminated air vents, Car-to-X Communication and Smartphone Integration.

Exterior: Self-assured sportiness in the style of Mercedes-Benz coupes

"The new CLS is a design icon as the archetype of the four-door coupe. In line with our hot & cool design philosophy, we have reduced its DNA to an extremely puristic level while emotionally charging its beauty," says Gorden Wagener, Chief Design Officer Daimler AG.

Striking front-end features include the diamond grille typical of Mercedes-Benz coupes, with a single louver. The silhouette of the radiator grille widens towards the base, resembling the contours of the grille on the Mercedes-AMG GT. The hood is completely surrounded by body surfaces. The very flat and wide headlamps with inward-slanting flanks dynamically follow the contour of the grille.

The side design is characterized 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 hood. The contours follow the design philosophy of sensual purity: lines and edges are greatly reduced, and the surfaces are generously arched.

Also typical of the CLS is the muscular rear shoulder line which blends smoothly into the flat rear end. Characteristic coupe features include the two-section taillamps, reflectors positioned in the rear bumper, location of the license plate in the bumper and the Mercedes star at the center of the trunk lid.

Like the headlamps, the LED taillamps have a crystalline appearance and create a three-dimensional effect. Their low positioning accentuates the width of the vehicle.

Interior consistent color scheme, Widescreen Digital Instrument Cluster

The luxurious interior of the CLS Coupe impresses with its clear basic lines, and 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 color 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 ambient lighting, the illuminated air vents are reminiscent of jet aircraft turbines. The sporty impression is also reinforced by the hand-finished appearance of the seats.

The CLS450 is equipped with a high-resolution central display with a wide screen diagonal of 12.3 inches, and is optionally available with two 12.3-inch displays that merge to form a wide-screen cockpit beneath a shared, continuous glass cover.
The center 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: Classic, Sport or Progressive.

The ambient lighting is individually adjustable in 64 colors, and also includes the air vents. When the temperature setting of the air conditioning system is changed, it briefly changes color to show whether the temperature is being made warmer (red) or cooler (blue).

The seats were also newly designed exclusively for this model series with high- quality piping. The outer seats in the rear have the same appearance as the front seats, creating a sporty single-seat impression, although the CLS Coupe is in fact a five-seater for the first time. When required the backrests can be folded down in a 40/20/40 ratio.

Wellness on long-distance journeys: ENERGIZING Comfort

ENERGIZING Comfort links various comfort systems in the vehicle. It systematically uses the functions of the climate control system (including fragrancing) and the seats (heater, ventilation, massage), the surface and steering wheel heating as well as lighting and musical atmospheres, and allows a specific wellness set-up tailored to the mood and need of the customer. As a result, well-being and performance levels are enhanced.

These six programs can be selected:

  • Refresh / Freshness
  • Warmth
  • Vitality
  • Joy
  • Comfort / Well-Being
  • Training (three training modes – muscle relaxation, muscle activation and balance – each with several exercises).

Intelligent Drive: Technology from the S-Class

The new CLS generation has many things in common with the new S-Class, the automotive flagship of the entire industry. The CLS is equipped with the latest generation of driving assistance systems, with route-based speed adaptation and driver support provided by the Driver Assistance Package.

The range of driver assistance and safety systems features a modular design and as standard includes Active Brake Assist, ATTENTION ASSIST and the occupant protection system PRE-SAFE®. Newly standard as well is PRE-SAFE® Sound (prepares human hearing for the anticipated accident noise when there is a risk of a collision).

The optional Driver Assistance Package consists of Active Distance Assist DISTRONIC, Active Steering Assist, Active Speed Limit Assist, Active Brake Assist with cross-traffic function, Evasive Steering Assist, Active Blind Spot Assist, Active Lane Keeping Assist, PRE-SAFE® PLUS and PRE-SAFE® Impulse Side. Active Distance Assist DISTRONIC and Active Steering Assist now provide even more comfortable support for the driver to keep a safe distance and steer. The speed is now adjusted automatically ahead of bends or junctions. Active Lane Change Assist has also been significantly improved.

Thanks to improved camera and radar systems, the new CLS also has an even better view of the surrounding traffic. For the first time it also makes use of map and navigation data to calculate driving behavior.

The "Assistance Graphics" menu of the instrument cluster shows the driver at a glance which assistance functions have been selected, and to what situations the systems are currently responding. Unmistakable icons provide the driver with information on-screen as well as in the head-up display. All functions are now controlled from the steering wheel.

In stop & go traffic on motorways and similar roads, stops of up to 3 seconds are now possible, during which time the CLS starts moving again automatically and follows the traffic.

The LED Intelligent Light System is now optionally available with advanced LED headlamps and Ultra Wide Beam high beams. The Ultra Wide Beams produce light at an increased width for maximum illumination of the road and surround area. For the driver, this means a clear improvement of the already great lighting performance of the LED Intelligent Light System. Adaptive Highbeam Assist is also part of the LED Intelligent Light System and allows drivers to drive with activated main beams without dazzling other road users. When there are oncoming vehicles or vehicles in front, the LEDs of the high beam modules are switched off. The other areas of the road continue to be illuminated with the mainbeam.


The new CLS has a four-link front suspension and a five-link rear suspension. A dynamically set-up steel comfort suspension is standard equipment. The optionally available AIR BODY CONTROL air suspension has been improved, adjustable and adaptive damping system. The driver is able to choose vehicle characteristics from comfortable to sporty using the driving mode switch.

New engine: with EQ Boost and 48 volt onboard electrical system

The third generation of the Mercedes-Benz CLS is powered by a completely new in- line six-cylinder engine.

The new, systematically electrified in-line six-cylinder with EQ Boost (integrated starter/generator) and a 48 volt onboard electrical system powers the CLS450 and CLS450 4MATIC. Its performance data: 362 hp and 369 lb-ft plus a further 21 hp and 184 lb-ft of torque available via EQ Boost over short periods. The integrated electric motor known as EQ Boost assists the combustion engine, for example when accelerating, makes driving without the combustion engine possible ("sailing") and supplies the battery with power 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. All in all, the new in-line six-cylinder engine delivers the performance of an eight-cylinder engine with significantly lower consumption. The CLS450 is equipped with a particulate filter as standard.

The new CLS450:


CLS450 / CLS450 4MATIC

Number of cylinders/ 


Displacement (cc)


Rated output (hp)

362 hp @ 5,500 – 6,100 rpm

Add. output from EQ Boost (hp)

21 hp

Rated torque (lb-ft)

369 lb-ft @ 1,600 – 4,000 rpm

Add. torque from EQ Boost (lb-ft)

184 lb-ft

Acceleration 0-60 mph (sec)


Edition 1: Particularly exclusive launch model

The exclusivity of the CLS can be heightened even further with the Edition 1. Numerous standard luxurious features include the COPPER ART interior concept with seats in black pearl nappa leather with center sections in a diamond design and copper-colored accents, copper-colored contrasting topstitching on the center console, seats, armrests, dashboard and door linings, and a unique diamond grille with matt chrome pins and louver with a copper-colored shimmer.

The exterior is based on the AMG Line. Special features include the LED Intelligent Light headlamps as standard and 19-inch multi-spoke AMG light alloy wheels painted in black with a high-sheen rim flange. The special model is recognizable by the "Edition 1" lettering on the front fenders.

Highlights of the interior include:

  • Dashboard support lined in black nappa leather
  • Center console and dashboard support trim in Natural grain black ash wood with matching center console
  • IWC analogue clock with exclusive dial face
  • Vehicle key in high-gloss black with high-sheen chrome surround
  • Floor mats with "Edition 1" badge and copper-colored piping
  • Chrome "Edition 1" lettering on the center console and "Edition 1" display on the welcome screen.

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So why pay for an S class if this looks like an S class. Guess they want to be below GM as they detuned the HP so Torque is higher than HP. I get the whole Hybrid thing, but I really am scratching my head in regards to the approach MB is taking.

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2 hours ago, dfelt said:

So why pay for an S class if this looks like an S class. Guess they want to be below GM as they detuned the HP so Torque is higher than HP. I get the whole Hybrid thing, but I really am scratching my head in regards to the approach MB is taking.

This doesn’t look as good as an S-class, it also isn’t as large or as well equipped or as powerful.  The real question is why not just buy an E-class sedan or coupe that has the same interior and will have the same engine for the 2019 model year.  

The engine is the winner here but every Mercedes will have it next model year as they retool the production lines.  The original CLS was a stunner so you paid more for it, this car looks a bit weird.

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S-class is stodgy & dated; a car for old folks. Daimler could probably gain 25% more China sales if they did a clean sheet car. CLS was at least fresh when it came out.

But MB has hit a brick wall with their design language- which is why the CLS has the same body for 3 generations. Tons of catalog overlap, and now they're all getting the same CLA-derived nose.

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4 hours ago, Frisky Dingo said:

The I6 is very cool news, indeed. Not much of a fan of the styling here, though.

My very sentiment explained beautifully by Frisky.

Well...in the other thread regarding this car, I was more critical of it. Ill just be a tad more positive of it in this thread and just keep it to "not much of a fan of the styling" as Frisky said. 

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42 minutes ago, balthazar said:

S-class is stodgy & dated; a car for old folks. Daimler could probably gain 25% more China sales if they did a clean sheet car. CLS was at least fresh when it came out.

But MB has hit a brick wall with their design language- which is why the CLS has the same body for 3 generations. Tons of catalog overlap, and now they're all getting the same CLA-derived nose.

It is a car for old folks, those are the people that spend $125,000 for a full size sedan.

And not the same face as a CLA, and perhaps the best deal ever is the Maybach S650 that has the same engine as an S65 but is $20,000 cheaper.


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9 hours ago, balthazar said:

Not the s-class; the CLS :

Screen Shot 2017-11-29 at 9.46.24 PM.png

There is a family resemblance, but not the same.   Lots of differences in the details.  M-B 'Coupes' all have the large badge in the center of the grille. 

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Same grille texture, same fog-light-less holes in the lower corners, same slight ridges in the hoods. Without having them side-by-side, it's really hard to differentiate one from the other; you have to see the size and the rest of the car to tell, coming at you. Not, I would think, the desired 'announcement' if you just spent $65K. It's weak, MB needs to incorporate more stylistic differences between their price tiers.

Edited by balthazar
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Some similarities, but not identical in the details.  Lighting is different, grille shape is different, cooling holes in the lower corner size and shape different.   Given the size difference in the cars, no one would confuse one for the other.   

It's not like M-B is alone is having a familiar 'face' across model lines; Audi does it, BMW does it, Cadillac and Lincoln do it, Lexus does it, etc.   Similar styling elements with detail differences for each model. 

Edited by Cubical-aka-Moltar
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brand fans maybe wouldn't but I'm talking the average car consumer. I didn't say they were identical, but they're so close it's very tough to differentiate individually, coming toward you on the road. I see these all the time here and I need to see the rest of the car / its size before I know if it's 'cheap or expensive'.

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