2012 Mercedes-Benz CLS-Class
Mercedes-Benz has finally debuted the replacement for its original four-door coupe, the CLS. At first glance one should notice a similar silhouette to the outgoing model, but there are also an extensive number of fresh and highly accentuated lines that gives this four-door coupe a very bold, new look.
More aggressive both front and rear, the CLS is considerably more styled than its rather understated predecessor as Mercedes-Benz continues to hone the modern four-door coupe segment it essentially invented.
From the rear, we can easily see the automaker�s Bentley-esque rear "hips" that take the E-Class sedan�s look to a whole new level. A much flashier pair of tailights adorn the rear as well.
Those sweeping exterior lines continue right into the CLS interior, even visually linking the dash and the doors to the rear of the vehicle. The center console and transmission tunnel merge toward the rear, deftly dividing the two rear seats.
Larger outside dimensions mean more room inside the new CLS. In particular, there�s 0.8 inches more shoulder room in front and 0.5 inches in back, while there�s 0.3 inches more elbow room up front and 0.8 inches in the back seat.
Large rear doors are by far the most striking feature of the new coupe-like model. The rear doors represent tangible added value that complements its comfortable rear seating area. Leather and wood cover most of the interior surfaces, with natural-grain leather and a choice of wood trimming the dash.
Flowing Lines From the Outside In
The flowing lines of the dashboard are complemented by its surface, made from a soft-touch polyurethane skin sprayed onto the base material to provide a luxurious feel and high-quality appearance. This production technique enables a smoother integration of such elements as air outlets into the surface and eliminates unattractive panel seams. Even the passenger-side front air bag cover has an invisible seam.
The dashboard itself has a sound-dampening design and is insulated at the front to prevent engine noise from entering the passenger compartment. Cable and wire openings between the interior and the engine compartment have airtight seals to eliminate so-called sound bridges.
A steel cross member forms a strong anchor for the dashboard and its components. The radio, automatic climate control, instrument cluster and steering column are all attached to this solid structure, which both minimizes vibration and helps achieve low noise levels inside the new CLS.
New Cockpit Design
Looking through the steering wheel, a three-tube instrument cluster includes an analog speedometer in the center that incorporates a versatile color display. The left tube houses analog gauges for fuel level and coolant temperature, while an analog tachometer is on the right. A large display for the COMAND system sits atop a sweeping console, with an analog clock below it, flanked by fresh air vents. Next is a panel of switches for features such as heated seats, hazard warning lights or PARKTRONIC. Below the switches is a panel for the climate control system. The COMAND central controller � a rotary push-button similar to a computer mouse � is located between the seats, along with a large double cupholder and a stowage compartment that incorporates a 12-volt socket, an audio AUX-IN jack and the optional iPod-MP3 media interface.
The AMG Interior
Entering the cabin of the new CLS63 AMG, the driver is greeted by AMG door sill panels and AMG sport pedals with rubber studs � both in brushed stainless steel. When the door is opened, the three-dimensional TFT display in the speedometer welcomes the driver with a striking AMG logo.
The AMG menus include a �Warm Up� mode with oil and coolant temperature, while �Set Up� indicates the current ESP mode, the suspension setting (Comfort or Sport) and the transmission mode (�C,� �S�, �S+�, �M�). In �RACE,� a race timer is ready to record race track lap times.
A special AMG DRIVE UNIT on the console is angled toward the driver for easy access. With its E-SELECT shift lever in the center, the unit includes controls to choose the MCT sports transmission modes, ESP functions, the suspension setup and AMG drive modes. A park lock can be engaged by touching the �P� button.
In Command with COMAND
COMAND features a seven-inch TFT color display screen and a set of easy-to-use controls for the audio system, which includes AM/FM/weatherband/satellite/HD digital radio, Bluetooth, MP3 capability with Music Register, a PCMCIA card slot and GPS satellite navigation. The system also includes a six-disc CD-DVD player that�s connected to the Gracenote database, which allows the system to display the artist�s name, music genre, track titles and lengths. The navigation computer uses its own separate hard drive for the map database that covers all of North America.
An optional rear-view camera recessed in the trunk lid displays the area behind the vehicle in the COMAND screen whenever reverse is engaged. Improved optics minimizes the usual fish-eye view, and static lines projected on the screen make it easier to park and maneuver, for example, over hilly terrain.
Sound Studio On Wheels
A standard harman/kardon Logic 7 digital surround-sound system with Dolby Surround 5.1 uses two 610-watt amplifiers to power 14 speakers and a sub-woofer for a luxurious soundstudio listening experience. All amplifier channels have individually tuned frequency response, and the system includes speed-dependent volume control.
Antennas for the radio, GPS navigation, mbrace system and telephone are mounted on the roof in front of the rear window. A second radio antenna is built into the rear window glass, and phase diversity within the audio system chooses the best signal.
The four- and six-cylinder variants of the CLS feature 17-inch wheels fitted with 245/45 R 17 tyres as standard. The CLS 500 BlueEFFICIENCY is factory-fitted with 18-inch wheels and tyres in size 255/40 R 18 - this combination is available as an option for four- and six-cylinder models. Alternatively, 18-inch wheels fitted with tyres in size 255/40 R 18 at the front and 285/35 R 18 at the rear are available for all models. The 19-inch wheels which are available for the first time lend the Mercedes-Benz CLS-Class an even sportier appearance. These wheels are fitted with tyres in size 255/35 R 19 at the front and 285/30 R 19 at the rear.
The electronic stability programme which features as standard also monitors the tyre pressure and displays a warning in case of any sudden loss of pressure in a tyre. For this purpose the system continuously compares the rotational speeds of the wheels, which are primarily dependent on the vehicle's speed, the load and the tyre pressure. The control unit additionally refers to other driving dynamics-related ESP� sensor signals, such as lateral acceleration, yaw rate and wheel torques, in order to diagnose pressure loss in a tyre. In this way the system is able to establish any deviations, informing the driver accordingly on the central display.
Another distinguishing feature comes in the form of the LED High Performance headlamps, which are the world's first to offer all of the regular dynamic light functions using LED technology. This innovation boasts an impressive design - inside it is divided into three arrow-shaped layers from top to bottom: the upper layer contains an LED indicator, beneath which is a striking LED side light offering LED low beam functions. The side light can also be seen when the dipped beam function is switched on, thereby creating a novel and separate night-time design as a distinctive look. The lowest level of the headlamp houses the main beam and nightview functions. A total of 71 LEDs not only provide an unmistakable appearance, but also offer a significantly enhanced view of the road compared with previous systems.
The typical Mercedes-Benz CLS-Class outline, with its elegantly long proportions, is the dominating attribute of the new model. The effect of the dynamic, athletic form has been enhanced with a new interplay of lines and areas. The front edge of the structure above the wings slopes off towards the rear. This novel design feature, called the dropping line by designers, represents a new interpretation of a formal design element harking back to the uniquely rich wealth of forms present in historic Mercedes sports cars.
A distinctive and muscular sports car-like shoulder line above the rear axle highlights the athletic character of the new CLS. The flared wheel arches resemble the powerful thighs of a feline predator waiting to pounce.
The side view is rounded off with wide wrap-around tail lights featuring LED technology which are arranged in the form of a linking element to the rear of the vehicle. The shape is emphasized by the broad shoulder line, which is clearly visible from behind and supports the flat hardtop. A wide metal insert adds a further visual highlight at the rear.
When it hits the U.S. market in June 2011, the 2012 CLS line will offer a choice of two exciting models, both powered by new biturbo, direct-injection V8 engines. The 4.6-liter CLS550 engine produces 402 horsepower and 443 lb-ft. of torque, and the high-performance CLS63 AMG model is powered by a 5.5-liter version of the new V8 that�s rated at 518 hp and 516 lb.-ft of torque.
While both CLS models are fitted with seven-speed automatic transmissions, the CLS63 AMG features an MCT (multi-clutch technology) sports transmission with an innovative start-up clutch that replaces the conventional torque converter. Providing the direct feedback of a manual transmission with the total convenience of an automatic, the MCT transmission offers impressive versatility and faster shift times.
Motivation for this new CLS comes from a new twin-turbocharged 4.6-liter V8, good for 402 horsepower and 443 lb-ft. of torque. This is mated to a seven-speed automatic transmission, like the AMG CLS63 AMG variant, which swaps the automatic for an AMG Speedshift transmission with paddle shifters.
Drivers of Mercedes vehicles are safer on the road than drivers of other car brands. This is the result of a study by Mercedes-Benz accident research based on official, anonymous data samples from the Federal Office of Statistics. Having looked at 18,748 accidents resulting in personal injury during the period from 2003 to 2007, the study found that the risk of being seriously or fatally injured as the driver of a Mercedes is 9.6 percent lower than for vehicles of other brands. The result represents clear evidence of the contribution made by the passive safety systems of Mercedes-Benz to reducing the consequences of an accident.
The main prerequisites for this include a stable body structure (see the section entitled "The Bodywork") as well as a whole host of sophisticated restraint systems. With nine airbags fitted as standard, not to mention four seat-belt tensioners and belt-force limiters as well as NECK-PRO crash-responsive head restraints for the driver and front passenger, the new CLS offers an even more extensive package of safety equipment than the previous model. The airbags, which can deploy in a matter of milliseconds in the event of an accident, include two adaptive airbags for the driver and front passenger, a kneebag for the driver, two sidebags in the front-seat backrests and two large windowbags which extend from the A-pillar to the C-pillar during a side impact. For the first time, pelvisbags are included as standard for front seat passengers, which in the event of a side collision can help to reduce loads in the pelvic area. Sidebags are also available for the rear as an optional extra, which means that the new CLS makes a total of eleven airbags available for occupant protection.
Three-point automatic safety belts with belt tensioners and belt force limiters are fitted as standard for the driver, front passenger and rear passengers. Mercedes-Benz is offering adaptive belt force limiters for the rear seats as an option. These adapt to the size of passengers automatically. The system detects whether the rear seat passenger is large or small as soon as the seat belt is put on, based on the length of the pulled-out seat belt, and can adapt its protective effect accordingly. The maximum belt force is activated immediately if the rear passenger is large in size, while in the case of smaller occupants the force exerted by the belt is initially set to a lower level.