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Mercedes Gives a Glimpse of New CLS

A hard act to follow.

by on Nov.20, 2017

A first teaser shot reveals some notable changes to the nose of the next Mercedes-Benz CLS.

Few cars have had a bigger impact on automotive design than the original Mercedes-Benz CLS which introduced the concept of coupe-like sedans that seemingly every automaker has now copied.

First launched for the 2005 model-year, Mercedes took a cautious approach with the gen-2 CLS, opting for evolution over revolution. Now, an all-new remake will be making its debut at the upcoming Los Angeles Auto Show, and we’ve gotten two teaser images offering some hints of what to expect.

Auto Show Previews!

We’ve done a little work with Photoshop to pull some details out of the shadows and reveal a bit more about the face of the Mercedes-Benz CLS. But what you see is what we got in terms of the interior detail shot. And if that’s any indication of what to expect, it’s likely the CLS cabin where we’ll be some of the most dramatic updates to the new CLS.

Mercedes has been doing a slow striptease with the remake, a number of largely uncamouflaged test vehicles being spotted while undergoing final testing in recent weeks. Combined with the new nose-on teaser shot, we can tell that the basic shape undergoes some important revisions, but still hews to the formula that made the original, 2011 CLS such a success.

Like the updated S-Class, the new Mercedes CLS will pair large video displays.

The nose retains the single-bar grille framing a large Mercedes tri-star. But the upper grille new angles inward to accommodate all-new headlamps with boomerang-shaped LED running lights. We’ll assume that the main lamps are LED as well, considering the class the CLS competes in. The lower fascia appears to be scooped out, with secondary intakes on either corner. That might suggest new air curtains to reduce drag around the front wheels and, if this is the AMG edition, more air for drivetrain or brake cooling. The overall look is in line with that of the latest Mercedes E-Class the CLS shares platforms with.

From the silhouette, it appears the remake will push to new extremes with the coupe-like formula. The big challenge will be to enhance the curvaceous roofline without sacrificing interior space – notably rear seat headroom, a traditional shortfall with the CLS.

Mercedes chief design officer Gorden Wagener earlier this year hinted that one of his goals with the new version was to increase wheel size to yield an even dramatically sinister effect.

(Audi aims to challenge new CLS with 2019 A7 Sportback. Click Here for a first look.)

While the Mercedes-Benz CLS will share the same MRA platform as the latest-generation E-Class, it will vary in both length and track. And much of the interior will be unique, as well.

An AMG version of the original, 2005 CLS.

As the teaser image of the CLS dashboard suggests, it gets a positively massive video display – or more accurately, interlinked displays stretching from the gauge cluster all the way across the top of the center console. That’s more like the latest update of the S-Class where there are twin 12.3-inch screens under the glass cover. The pic shows a red accent light atop the entire display. It’s likely that’s part of a broader interior accent light package for which a driver can choose from a variety of different colors.

Beneath the display we see four turbine-like air vents that appear to share their DNA with what’s inside the Mercedes-AMG GT. The surrounding carbon fiber could indicate this is the AMG edition, though that composite might be offered as an option on other trim levels.

If you can read German you’ll discover what appears to be setting for the Energizing Comfort system introduced on the new S-Class. It lets you program short sessions – complete with aromatherapy scents designed to promote calm or wakefulness, as well as paired, pre-programmed music.

Out of sight, but certainly not out of mind, we’ll see a similar, if not identical powertrain mix to what is offered on various E-Class versions. That includes the CLS 450 with its hybridized 3.0-liter six that uses both supercharging and turbocharging to punch out 376 horsepower and yet deliver surprisingly good mileage.

The second-generation CLS at launch.

(Mercedes teams up with BMW, Ford, VW for pan-European EV charging network. Click Here for the story.)

Will Mercedes also follow up with a shooting brake version, as is offered on the gen-2 CLS line? Speculation is that the wagon will fall victim to weak demand.

The new CLS is likely to generate plenty of buzz at the LA show, but so will two Mercedes competitors, the Audi A7 Sportback and the BMW 6-Series Gran Coupe, both making their first appearances at the Los Angeles Convention Center.

The global debut of the CLS will command the spotlight on November 29. Expect to see it roll into showrooms early in the coming year.

(Lexus launching new, three-row RXL SUV at LA Auto Show. Click Here for more.)

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