Mercedes-Benz created a new vehicle category in 2003 with the CLS model, which combined the elegance and dynamism of a coupe with the comfort and functionality of a sedan.
A style icon was born, and for years the CLS has endured as the only four-door coupe in its class, finding around 170,000 buyers worldwide. Celebrating its world premiere at the Paris auto show (2 - 17 October 2010), the new CLS builds on the pioneering role of its predecessor yet at the same time is an entirely new edition.
The proportions remain as spectacular as ever: long hood, narrow-look windows with frameless side windows, dynamic roof sweeping back at an angle towards the rear. The four-door Coupe from Mercedes-Benz immediately made its mark in 2003 as a new style icon. Now the proportions are the same - and yet everything is different: the second generation of this design trendsetter has adopted a completely new look.
What immediately strikes the eye is the innovative front design, which is reminiscent of the Mercedes-Benz SLS AMG. Visually, the radiator grille is not integrated into the hood but is formed separately. This highlights the long, sporty hood better. The grille is dominated by the large central star, which underlines the car's relationship to the other coupes of the brand and also enhances brand identity. The large, elongated dark air inlets with black grilles also add to the vehicle's athletic appearance.
Another distinguishing feature comes in the form of the full LED headlamps, which are the world's first to offer all of the regular dynamic light functions using LED technology. This innovation boasts an impressive design - inside they are divided into three arrow-shaped layers from top to bottom: the upper layer contains an LED indicator, beneath which is a striking LED side light offering LED low-beam functions. The side-light can also be seen when the dipped beam function is switched on, thereby creating a novel and separate night-time design and distinctive look. The lowest level of the headlamp houses the main-beam and nightview functions. A total of 71 LEDs not only provide an unmistakable appearance, but also a significantly enhanced view of the road compared with previous systems. The typical CLS outline, with its elegantly long proportions, is the dominating attribute of the new model. The effect of the dynamic, athletic form has been enhanced with a new interplay of lines and areas. The front edge of the structure, above the fenders, which slopes off towards the rear - known as the dropping line by designers - is not only a novel feature but also represents a new interpretation of a formal design element harking back to the uniquely rich wealth of forms present in historic Mercedes sports cars.
A distinctive and muscular shoulder line above the rear axle highlights the athletic character of the new CLS with its flared wheel arches. The side view is rounded off by wrap-around tail lights featuring LED technology which are arranged to form a link to the rear of the vehicle. The shape is emphasized by the broad shoulder line, which is clearly visible from behind and supports the flat hardtop. A wide metal insert adds a further visual highlight at the rear.
The interior of the CLS is also distinguished by the wrap-around effect of the cockpit: a high line sweeps from the driver's door over the instrument panel support and across to the front passenger door. The central display has also been integrated into the upper part of the instrument panel. At the same time, the downward sweeping side line on the doors continues the dynamic dropping line of the exterior. As a design trendsetter, the CLS sets new standards in interiors with its wide variety of individualization options. Five interior colors, five trim designs and also three qualities of leather are available to choose from. The CLS also lives up to its role as a design icon thanks to the innovative nature of the materials used. These comprise an exciting mixture of satin and high-gloss finishes used on the metal surfaces. Highlights here also include matte galvanised air vents, for example, which form the ideal framework for a high-gloss-trimmed analogue clock.
Handcrafted perfection is reflected in details such as the stitched seat covers or the sewn covering for the dashboard. For the latter, the individual parts of the leather cover are sewn together by hand in a process which takes several hours, after which they are fitted and upholstered with high-quality foam. Prior to this process, the leather is also heated to preshrink it, so that it will retain its shape even after exposure to direct sunlight.
The particularly fine, 1.6mm semi-aniline Passion leather meets the highest standards in terms of both look and feel. Protected by only a light pigmentation, the natural pore structure remains intact and the leather has an especially warm, soft feel to it.
Customers can choose between three exclusive types of wood: high-gloss brown burr walnut, high-gloss black ash and satin-finish light-brown poplar. The wood has even been fitted around difficult contours for a masterful handcrafted finish, and the wood trim has been matched according to grain, as part of an elaborate selection process, to create a harmonized overall impression.
The interior can be given an even more progressive look with the addition of piano lacquer or carbon fiber trim elements. Up to seven layers or lacquer are applied and polished for the piano lacquer trim, for example, until the desired high-gloss finish is achieved.