The extensive teaser campaign is over, and the all-new, third-generation Mercedes-Benz CLS-Class finally makes its debut at the Los Angeles Auto Show. The new car, which gently evolves visually under the company’s Sensual Purity design language, will go on sale in the U.S. in fall 2018. It also will be the first model to introduce a new mild-hybrid powertrain with inline-six gas engines.
The new CLS-Class rides on Mercedes’ MRA modular chassis, and chief engineer Michael Kelz explains that, “it’s a combination of E-Cass and S-Class components.” It is built on the E-Class line in Sindelfingen, Germany, yet uses the interior, electronics, and driver-assistance components from the recently refreshed S-Class range.
Despite the underlying similarities to the E-Class sedan, “It drives completely differently,” Kelz promises. That’s in part because there’s a sportier chassis tune used for the new CLS, though ride quality was still an important consideration.
“There’s a wide spread between Comfort and Sport [driving modes],” Kelz says.
All the bodywork except for the doors is made from aluminum; the doors remain steel to give them a solid-closing feel and sound.
The 2019 CLS-Class grows by 2.0 inches in length but height declines by half an inch. The design remains a four-door coupe, with a swooping roofline and a plunging trunkline, the latter reducing trunk space by a modest amount versus an E-Class sedan. The doors still employ frameless windows, primarily for styling but also because it cuts wind noise. Kelz says that the cleaner transition from window glass to B-pillar and back is more aerodynamic and thus produces less noise. Coupled with optional acoustic glass and other upgrades, “the car is quieter than even the E-Class,” he says.
The very pretty nose has a similar grille shape to the AMG GT range, with the snout pointed forward – “reminiscent of a shark’s nose,” the company says – and a detailed splitter with prominent lower air intakes. The body sides, like the newest S-Class, are smooth and subtly detailed, while around back, LED taillights accentuate the wide trunk.
The cabin is full E-Class, with the same twin 12.3-inch color displays serving as the instruments and infotainment system, along with the combination touchpad/rotary controller on the center console. Key details distinguish this cabin from other models, though: the over-styled air vents have integrated lights that change color from blue to red as the temperature is adjusted, and there are fewer shortcut buttons for the Comand infotainment system clustered on the center console. Detailing is superb, with elegant stitched leather, smart buttons and switches, and the latest S-Class steering wheel with touch-sensitive control nubs, plus cruise-control buttons relocated from the steering column to the wheel.
Rear head- and legroom are essentially unchanged from the outgoing CLS-Class, but the biggest update is that there’s now a center seat in the back row, where the car was previously a 2+2. “Lots of people wanted to have five seats,” says Kelz, noting that the U.S. and Chinese markets were especially interested in it. “The demand was there to make a five-seater.”
Trunk space is also unchanged from the old car; it measures 520 liters (18.4 cubic feet) in European specification.
One of the most important changes for the new car is the introduction of a mild-hybrid powertrain. The car launches in the U.S. as the CLS450 and CLS450 4Matic, which means there’s an “EQ Boost” powertrain under the hood. It consists of a 3.0-liter turbocharged inline-six rated for 362 horsepower and 369 pound-feet of torque, supplemented by an electric motor-generator good for 21 hp and 184 lb-ft of extra boost.
The motor-generator is integrated into the nine-speed automatic transmission and connects to a 1-kilowatt-hour, 48-volt lithium-ion battery under the hood. The gas engine has no belt-driven accessories, with the air conditioning now electrically powered. That means the car can coast with the engine turned off (similar to the Audi A8's mild-hybrid powertrain), and it also allows the air conditioning to operate with the engine turned off. Kelz says that in a test on a hot day in California, the air conditioning kept the cabin cool for five minutes while the car was waiting with the engine off at a red light.
There are no acceleration or fuel economy figures available just yet. However, Kelz says the new CLS450 is approximately 15 percent more efficient than its predecessor.
There is still a 12-volt electrical system, with its battery in the trunk, which powers the majority of the car’s on-board electronics. In fact, in Europe there will be a diesel model without the mild-hybrid system.
In-car technologies available in the 2019 CLS mirror those of the newest S-Class, including massaging seats, a perfuming/ionization climate system, to four-corner control, semi-autonomous steering, wireless phone charging, the ability to unlock and start the car with an NFC-enabled cellphone, a high-end Burmester sound system, various Nappa leather upholstery seating options, and genuine wood trim.
There will not be a CLS Shooting Brake in this generation (it was never sold in the U.S.), because Mercedes feels the E-Class wagon fills that niche adequately.
The model pictured here in white is the Edition 1, the launch model that wears Nappa leather with “Copper Art’ stitching, an AMG-line body kit, 19-inch AMG wheels, an IWC analogue clock, black ash wood trim, and various “Edition 1” badges.
The 2019 Mercedes-Benz CLS450 goes on sale in the U.S. next fall.
Gallery: 2019 Mercedes-Benz CLS-Class
Third generation of the original
Stuttgart/Los Angeles. The new CLS pioneers the new design idiom of Mercedes-Benz, which is recognizable by its clear contours and reduced lines. Its character is marked by a grille contour that widens towards the base and a forward-slanting front section. Other features include wide, low-set headlights and two-section taillamps. At the same time the design reflects the timeless aura of the first CLS, which founded a new segment and quickly became a design icon. The CLS is equipped with a new inline six-cylinder engine and is the first vehicle in the Mercedes-Benz lineup with 48-volt technology with ISG that offers increased efficiency and comfort. Like its predecessors, the new CLS exudes self-assured sportiness in exemplary style: a highly emotional vehicle offering impressive long-distance and acoustic comfort coupled with thrilling, unrivalled technology. Additionally, the all-new four-door coupe seats 5 passengers for the first time. The 2019 Mercedes-Benz CLS will have its World Premiere at the 2017 Los Angeles Auto Show in November, and will go on sale in the U.S. by Fall 2018.
In 2003, with the CLS, Mercedes-Benz created a new vehicle segment that combined the elegance and dynamic feel of a coupe with the comfort and functionality of a sedan for the first time. With the third generation of the CLS, Mercedes-Benz is building more strongly than ever on the aura and unique character of this trendsetting model: the new model has pure CLS genes with its arching waistline, flat side window lines and low greenhouse. At the same time it is another example of the logical evolution of the Sensual Purity design idiom: sharp edges and lines have been significantly reduced. It blends seamlessly into the current Mercedes-Benz coupe family with numerous design features.
The in-line six-cylinder engine in the CLS450 and CLS450 4MATIC is completely new, boasting 362 hp in addition to a 21 hp boost from the integrated starter- generator.
The sporty CLS also has a comfortable side: AIR BODY CONTROL suspension, ENERGIZING Comfort and the very latest infotainment generation with Inductive Wireless Phone Charging with NFC pairing accentuate this.
The standard appointments of the CLS are very extensive: highlights include AMG body styling, newly designed LED headlamps and taillamps, 19-inch light-alloy wheels, a 12.3-inch high-resolution COMAND® display, ambient lighting including illuminated air vents, Car-to-X Communication and Smartphone Integration.
Exterior: Self-assured sportiness in the style of Mercedes-Benz coupes
"The new CLS is a design icon as the archetype of the four-door coupe. In line with our hot & cool design philosophy, we have reduced its DNA to an extremely puristic level while emotionally charging its beauty," says Gorden Wagener, Chief Design Officer Daimler AG.
Striking front-end features include the diamond grille typical of Mercedes-Benz coupes, with a single louver. The silhouette of the radiator grille widens towards the base, resembling the contours of the grille on the Mercedes-AMG GT. The hood is completely surrounded by body surfaces. The very flat and wide headlamps with inward-slanting flanks dynamically follow the contour of the grille.
The side design is characterized by the high, arching waistline and the sporty, low greenhouse with frameless side windows. The forward-slanting front end is reminiscent of a shark's nose, and appears longer thanks to the fully inset hood. The contours follow the design philosophy of sensual purity: lines and edges are greatly reduced, and the surfaces are generously arched.
Also typical of the CLS is the muscular rear shoulder line which blends smoothly into the flat rear end. Characteristic coupe features include the two-section taillamps, reflectors positioned in the rear bumper, location of the license plate in the bumper and the Mercedes star at the center of the trunk lid.
Like the headlamps, the LED taillamps have a crystalline appearance and create a three-dimensional effect. Their low positioning accentuates the width of the vehicle.
Interior consistent color scheme, Widescreen Digital Instrument Cluster
The luxurious interior of the CLS Coupe impresses with its clear basic lines, and echoes the sensual, flowing contours of the exterior. The high-grade choice of materials shows a very high level of finish.
The sporty, width-accentuated cockpit and color combination creates an impression of particularly generous spaciousness. For a flowing overall impression, the wave-like course of the interior design extends from the front to the rear doors, opening up at the B-pillars. As a new highlight of the ambient lighting, the illuminated air vents are reminiscent of jet aircraft turbines. The sporty impression is also reinforced by the hand-finished appearance of the seats.
The CLS450 is equipped with a high-resolution central display with a wide screen diagonal of 12.3 inches, and is optionally available with two 12.3-inch displays that merge to form a wide-screen cockpit beneath a shared, continuous glass cover. The center console with open-pored or high-gloss wood appears to be free-floating thanks to its surface trim.
In the fully digital cockpit, the driver is able to feely configure the information content according to need and the driving situation. Three different styles can be selected depending on preference, mood or to suit the interior appointments: Classic, Sport or Progressive.
The ambient lighting is individually adjustable in 64 colors, and also includes the air vents. When the temperature setting of the air conditioning system is changed, it briefly changes color to show whether the temperature is being made warmer (red) or cooler (blue).
The seats were also newly designed exclusively for this model series with high- quality piping. The outer seats in the rear have the same appearance as the front seats, creating a sporty single-seat impression, although the CLS Coupe is in fact a five-seater for the first time. When required the backrests can be folded down in a 40/20/40 ratio.
Wellness on long-distance journeys: ENERGIZING Comfort
ENERGIZING Comfort links various comfort systems in the vehicle. It systematically uses the functions of the climate control system (including fragrancing) and the seats (heater, ventilation, massage), the surface and steering wheel heating as well
as lighting and musical atmospheres, and allows a specific wellness set-up tailored to the mood and need of the customer. As a result, well-being and performance levels are enhanced.
Intelligent Drive: Technology from the S-Class
The new CLS generation has many things in common with the new S-Class, the automotive flagship of the entire industry. The CLS is equipped with the latest generation of driving assistance systems, with route-based speed adaptation and driver support provided by the Driver Assistance Package.
The range of driver assistance and safety systems features a modular design and as standard includes Active Brake Assist, ATTENTION ASSIST and the occupant protection system PRE-SAFE®. Newly standard as well is PRE-SAFE® Sound (prepares human hearing for the anticipated accident noise when there is a risk of a collision).
The optional Driver Assistance Package consists of Active Distance Assist DISTRONIC, Active Steering Assist, Active Speed Limit Assist, Active Brake Assist with cross-traffic function, Evasive Steering Assist, Active Blind Spot Assist, Active Lane Keeping Assist, PRE-SAFE® PLUS and PRE-SAFE® Impulse Side. Active Distance Assist DISTRONIC and Active Steering Assist now provide even more comfortable support for the driver to keep a safe distance and steer. The speed is now adjusted automatically ahead of bends or junctions. Active Lane Change Assist has also been significantly improved.
Thanks to improved camera and radar systems, the new CLS also has an even better view of the surrounding traffic. For the first time it also makes use of map and navigation data to calculate driving behavior.
The "Assistance Graphics" menu of the instrument cluster shows the driver at a glance which assistance functions have been selected, and to what situations the systems are currently responding. Unmistakable icons provide the driver with information on-screen as well as in the head-up display. All functions are now controlled from the steering wheel.
In stop & go traffic on motorways and similar roads, stops of up to 3 seconds are now possible, during which time the CLS starts moving again automatically and follows the traffic.
The LED Intelligent Light System is now optionally available with advanced LED headlamps and Ultra Wide Beam high beams. The Ultra Wide Beams produce light at an increased width for maximum illumination of the road and surround area. For the driver, this means a clear improvement of the already great lighting performance of the LED Intelligent Light System. Adaptive Highbeam Assist is also part of the LED Intelligent Light System and allows drivers to drive with activated main beams without dazzling other road users. When there are oncoming vehicles or vehicles in front, the LEDs of the high beam modules are switched off. The other areas of the road continue to be illuminated with the mainbeam.
The new CLS has a four-link front suspension and a five-link rear suspension. A dynamically set-up steel comfort suspension is standard equipment. The optionally available AIR BODY CONTROL air suspension has been improved, adjustable and adaptive damping system. The driver is able to choose vehicle characteristics from comfortable to sporty using the driving mode switch.
New engine: with EQ Boost and 48 volt onboard electrical system
The third generation of the Mercedes-Benz CLS is powered by a completely new in- line six-cylinder engine.
The new, systematically electrified in-line six-cylinder with EQ Boost (integrated starter/generator) and a 48 volt onboard electrical system powers the CLS450 and CLS450 4MATIC. Its performance data: 362 hp and 369 lb-ft plus a further 21 hp and 184 lb-ft of torque available via EQ Boost over short periods. The integrated electric motor known as EQ Boost assists the combustion engine, for example when accelerating, makes driving without the combustion engine possible ("sailing") and supplies the battery with power by means of high-efficiency recuperation. By doing so it makes fuel savings possible that were previously the exclusive domain of high-voltage hybrid technology. All in all, the new in-line six-cylinder engine delivers the performance of an eight-cylinder engine with significantly lower consumption. The CLS450 is equipped with a particulate filter as standard.
The new CLS450:
Number of cylinders/ arrangement
Rated output (hp)
Add. output from EQ Boost (hp) Rated torque (lb-ft)
Add. torque from EQ Boost (lb-ft) Acceleration 0-60 mph (sec)
CLS450 / CLS450 4MATIC
362 hp @ 5,500 – 6,100 rpm 21 hp
369 lb-ft @ 1,600 – 4,000 rpm 184 lb-ft
TBA / TBA
Edition 1: Particularly exclusive launch model
The exclusivity of the CLS can be heightened even further with the Edition 1. Numerous standard luxurious features include the COPPER ART interior concept with seats in black pearl nappa leather with center sections in a diamond design and copper-colored accents, copper-colored contrasting topstitching on the center console, seats, armrests, dashboard and door linings, and a unique diamond grille with matt chrome pins and louver with a copper-colored shimmer.
The exterior is based on the AMG Line. Special features include the LED Intelligent Light headlamps as standard and 19-inch multi-spoke AMG light alloy wheels painted in black with a high-sheen rim flange. The special model is recognizable by the "Edition 1" lettering on the front fenders.
Highlights of the interior include:
Dashboard support lined in black nappa leather
Center console and dashboard support trim in Natural grain black ash wood
with matching center console
IWC analogue clock with exclusive dial face
Vehicle key in high-gloss black with high-sheen chrome surround
Floor mats with "Edition 1" badge and copper-colored piping
Daimler Communications, 70546 Stuttgart, Germany Mercedes-Benz – A Daimler Brand
Chrome "Edition 1" lettering on the center console and "Edition 1" display on the welcome screen.