Scheduled to officially be revealed at the upcoming Los Angeles Auto Show, images of the Porsche Panamera rivalling Mercedes CLA have leaked online.
The next-gen CLS features a sharper design and shares a lot with the E-class, from the underpinnings to the interiors.
The third-gen model is longer, wider and taller than the outgoing CLS, which is 4,940mm in length, 1,880mm in width and 1,420mm in height. The wheelbase is also 61mm longer at 4,988mm.
CLS Project Leader Michael Kelz had recently told our sister publication to Autocar UK that the third-generation model has a 0.27 drag coefficient. While it may be short of the new E-class’ 0.23, the manufacturer claims that the drag co-efficient has been achieved with almost zero lift, negating the need for an active spoiler like the one used by the second-gen Audi A7.
In order to save weight, major bits of the outer shell like the bonnet, wheel arches and boot lid are made predominantly from aluminium. Like the E-class, the doors are all made from steel.
Mercedes claims that the frameless door design, an element carried forward from the previous generation models, with rubber sealing around the windows will aid in refinement and provide better aerodynamics compared to framed doors.
The interiors of the CLS have a tweaked version of the dashboard found on the E-class, said to help the brand lower development, component sourcing and production costs. The dashboard has Mercedes’ Widescreen Cockpit with twin 12.3-inch displays for the instrument cluster and infotainment system.
Other shared components include the multifunction steering wheel, lifted off of the S-class, and the turbine-like AC vents, borrowed from the E-class. However, in the CLS, the vents they glow either blue or red depending on the temperature set.
The rear of the cabin now features a dedicated centre seat position between two more heavily contoured seats in a three-across bench. Boot space on the new model is also said to be more than the outgoing one.
Under the bonnet, the third-gen CLS is expected to sport a range of four- and six-cylinder petrol and diesel engines, all mated to a nine-speed automatic gearbox as standard. While lower-spec trims will be rear-wheel-driven, Mercedes will offer its 4Matic four-wheel drive system on the higher spec ones.
The petrol engines come with Mercedes’ new EQ Power 48V electric system, giving them mild hybrid properties. The entry-level CLS 350 gets the new M264 petrol engine developing 300hp and 400Nm of torque, followed by the CLS 450, which receives Mercedes-Benz’s new M256 turbocharged and electronically supercharged 3.0-litre in-line six-cylinder petrol engine that makes 367hp and 500Nm.
The range-topping petrol is expected to be the CLS 53, which is set to be unveiled at the Detroit motor show in January 2018. It will be powered by an AMG-tuned version of the M256 engine used in the CLS 450, with a claimed 435hp and over 600Nm of peak torque.
The CLS’ diesel line-up includes the CLS 300d with a turbocharged, 2.0-litre four-cylinder engine producing 231hp and 450Nm, the CLS 350d with a 2.9-litre in-line six-cylinder making 286hp and 600Nm and the CLS 400d with the same engine tuned to 340hp and 700Nm of peak torque.
While Mercedes has not confirmed it as yet, sources suggest that instead of the CLS 63 with a V8 engine, a new CLS 53 will be introduced with the CLS 450’s petrol engine mated to electric motors. This has been done in order to avoid overlap with the recently revealed AMG GT four-door.
The German carmaker is expected to bring the new CLS to India sometime in 2018.
Also see: 2018 Mercedes-Benz CLS image gallery