Mercedes-Benz has taken the wraps off the third-generation CLS at the 2017 Los Angeles Auto Show and confirmed that the range-topping variant will be the Mercedes-AMG CLS 53.
The AMG-spec four-door coupe is the first of a new range of 53-badged models, which will be followed by the mechanically identical E53 coupe and E53 cabriolet models scheduled to be unveiled at the North American International Auto Show in Detroit, early next year. All three models will share the newly-developed 3.0-litre, straight-six petrol engine that comes with mild hybrid properties. This will aid performance by boosting the engine via an integrated starter motor. The technology is in line with rivals like the upcoming Audi S7, which is based on the recently revealed second-gen A7 Sportback.
The previous generation CLS’s range-topper was the V8-engined CLS 63, although Mercedes has plans to use the 4.0-litre twin-turbo V8 in the production version of the four-door AMG GT. The new CLS range has six models – CLS 350, CLS 450, CLS 300d, CLS 350 d, CLS 400 d and the CLS 53 AMG.
While the previous generation's models were successful (having raked up 3.5 lakh global sales since it was first launched in 2005), the growing worldwide demand for Mercedes’ SUVs has hindered sales. Unlike older iterations, the third-gen CLS will not comes with an estate or ‘Shooting Brake’ body style.
As we had reported when the car was leaked, the CLS has a lot in common with the E-class – from the platform and powertrains to the interior bits. Mercedes claims that improvements have been made in the performance, handling, comfort and safety. The brand says that the swoopy sedan also indicates a new exterior design lineage which will be adopted by other models in the near-future.
Besides being longer, wider and taller than the previous model, the new CLS also has a 61mm longer wheelbase at 2,988mm, allowing for larger rear door apertures and easier backseat access. It also features a centre rear seat as standard, giving it a proper five-seater capability, for the first time. The boot space is the 520 litres, the same as the previous model. However, the rear seat folds in a 40/20/40 split, thus expanding boot space when needed.
The CLS also shares five standard driving assistant functions with the E-class, including Lane Keeping Assist and Speed Limit Assist. An optional Driving Assistance Package can also add eight more functions. This pack provides semi-autonomous properties – hands-off the steering for up to 30sec, automatic adjustment of speed prior to bends or junctions and an automatic lane-change function.
Along with the straight-six petrol and diesel engines – all of which are mated to Mercedes’ nine-speed automatic transmission and send power to all-four-wheels via the brand’s 4Matic system – an entry-level four-cylinder motor is expected to arrive at a later date.
The CLS is expected to be one of Mercedes’ models coming to India in 2018.
Also see: 2018 Mercedes-Benz CLS image gallery