Hidden behind the development abbreviation C216, the next generation of Mercedes' largest coupe is being tested and prepared for its world premiere at the Geneva Auto Salon in March 2006.
The 6th generation of Mercedes' top-of-the-line model will grow in length, width as well as sporty and elegant character. The design will be similar to the next S-class with some touches from the new CLS model recently unveiled at Geneva in March. The side profile with the curved roof line and the frameless windows give the car a very dynamic appearance especially with the so-called "Character Line" which runs across the profile of the car into the rear lights. Another new design element that will be exclusively used for the next CL- and S-classes are the large, wide front fenders that run towards the front of the car.
The "smallest" CL engine in the CL 500 will be replaced with a new V8 550 engine with 5.5 liter capacity and a power of 388hp. The CL 600 remains unchanged (V12 bi-turbo - 500hp) as well as the AMG model CL 65 AMG with 612hp. The new CL 63 AMG will get a power boost to 500hp, and so it will replace the CL 55 AMG. Rumors say that a diesel hybrid engine could find its way into the next CL-class although not confirmed by Mercedes yet.
Being a technical twin of the S-class, the CL will share many new features. The new CL will feature cutting-edge technology systems that were partly presented in the Concept F500 Mind research vehicle at the Tokyo Motor Show last year. The technical highlights of the next CL include:
  1. Through infrared technology a new night vision system will help drivers get a better view.
  2. In response to BMW's iDrive and Audi's MMI a new central mounted control system is being developed and tested.
  3. Lane departure warning system will alert the driver if the vehicle wanders from its lane.
  4. Improved Active Body Control (ABC)
  5. Parking assistant equipped with small cameras in the side mirrors and bumpers.
Unfortunately, not all of the mentioned highlights will be offered with the first models. Some of them are still in development and may be ready in 5-10 years from now as features of the safety package, PRESAFE III.

Mercedes may also give up using SBC braking system for the next S/CL and replace it with hydraulic brakes which are cheaper and equally effective. This comes in an effort to reduce costs in addition to minimizing electronic faults. For example, recent software problems caused a recall of about 700,000 E and SL class vehicles.

The new CL-Class platform could be a test mule for 2 new future models: A CL-Class Cabriolet and a Maybach Coupe with the number of doors still to be decided. It could come as a typical coupe with 2 doors or as a 4-door coupe like the CLS-Class. Since the CLS-Class was originally intended to be a Maybach we might see DaimlerChrysler continuing with this project and present its third model.

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