It's the flagship model, but not for long as it will be dethroned in a matter of weeks.
Having made its debut under the glamorous spotlight of the Los Angeles Auto Show last month, the all-new CLS - available with five seats - has now lost its annoying camouflage applied by Mercedes on its near-production prototypes. This one right here was spotted the other day roaming the streets of Sindelfingen, a town located near Stuttgart where the four-door coupe comes to life along with a multitude of other high-end models carrying the fabled three-pointed star.
Going up against the also brand new Audi A7 Sportback, the third-generation CLS has brought an evolutionary design while the overall shape has been largely carried over from its predecessor. Seeing it out in the open allows us to form a better opinion about the styling, which we’re sure is going to create a lot of controversy, especially when it comes down to the appearance of the rear end. This particular vehicle had the posh “diamond grille” and the standard LED headlights while riding on fairly small wheels wrapped in winter tires.
Not that it comes as a big surprise, but the air vents at the front are blocked and only serve the purpose of looking good, much like the vertical ones at the back inside the bumper. Underneath the hood is a new inline-six turbocharged engine with a 3.0-liter displacement good for 362 horsepower and 369 pound-feet (500 Newton-meters) of torque. An extra 21 hp and 184 lb-ft (250 Nm) are available courtesy of a mild hybrid setup encompassing an electric motor-generator built into the nine-speed automatic transmission.
Mercedes will sell the CLS 450 in both rear-wheel drive and 4Matic flavors while those in need of more oomph will have to fork out more money for the first-ever Mercedes-AMG CLS 53. Slated to debut next month in Detroit, the hybridized model will have roughly 430 horsepower and will act as the flagship model since the CLS 63 will be effectively replaced by the four-door AMG GT also due in 2018.