The third-generation CLS is here.
Mercedes-Benz has lifted the sheet off of the next-generation CLS. The original four-door coupe is leaner and meaner, and ushers in what Mercedes calls "a new design idiom" for the brand.
In terms of architecture, the new CLS is essentially a four-door E-Class Coupe (not to be confused, of course, with the run-of-the-mill E-Class Sedan). The exterior styling makes the relationship clear, but it's not as simple as all that.
The CLS wears the company's new "crease-free" exterior styling, as forecast by some of its recent concepts. To keep the design crisp and edgy without them, the CLS gets angular headlights that are better proportioned than the ones on the outgoing car and a wide, GT-like grille.
Shown here in base-spec CLS 450 guise, it is powered by a 3.0L twin-turbocharged inline six supplemented by a 48-volt electrical system. The ICE produces 362 horsepower and 369lb-ft of torque. The electric assist adds 21 horsepower and a whopping 184lb-ft of torque, however the press materials from Mercedes do not provide a total system power. As with most hybrids, we suspect that simply adding those figures together is not representative of its real-world combined output.
At launch, the CLS 450 will be available with both rear- and all-wheel-drive. Both models will sport the company's now-ubiquitous nine-speed automatic transmission.
Inside, the CLS takes design cues from the E-Class Coupe again, but with one significant twist: The 2019 Mercedes-Benz CLS will be the first to boast seating for five rather than a 2+2 configuration.
Elsewhere, however, it's basically standard fare for a Mercedes-Benz interior. Atop the dash sits a 12.3-inch COMAND infotainment control screen (with a 12.3-inch companion cluster display also available), and elsewhere you'll find NFC-enabled device pairing, wireless charging, and numerous other standard and optional tech features.
Mercedes-AMG will sell its own variants of the CLS, including a likely six-cylinder variant (to correspond with AMG43 versions of other models) alongside range-topping V8 models with 600 horsepower (or possibly more). It will slot beneath the Porsche Panamera-fighting sedan the sub-division is developing as a four-door alternative to the GT.
The next-generation Mercedes-Benz CLS will compete in the same segment as the second-gen Audi A7 introduced recently. Its BMW-badged rival, the 6 Series Gran Coupe, is no longer in production, so that's one less competitor for the German duo to worry about.
Live images by Brian Williams.