Mercedes CLS 450: Elegance and sportiness meets four-door comfort
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Mercedes-Benz NZ is replacing four variants of the luxury CLS coupe with one model, the 450 4Matic, loaded with new technology.
Launched in Barcelona last week, the third-generation CLS coupe has gained breakthrough technology and a more refined styling.
Priced from $157,890, the CLS 450 replaces four models in New Zealand; the CLS 250d, 400, 500 and 63S. The CLS 450 goes on sale in quarter three this year and Mercedes-Benz NZ is excited about the launch.
“Pioneering the new design idiom of Mercedes-Benz, the CLS arrives for the first time with five seats as well as our high-resolution Widescreen cockpit with two 12.3in displays,” said Mercedes-Benz Cars NZ’s general manager, Ben Giffin.
“The CLS 450 4Matic offers something for customers who desire the elegance and sportiness of a coupe with the comfort and functionality of a saloon.”
Gone from the global line up is a V8 version, and the shooting brake (wagon). At the global launch around Barcelona was not only the 450 4Matic but also the Kiwi-centric Mercedes-AMG 53 4Matic+.
“We will assess the Mercedes-AMG CLS 53 4Matic+.” Mercedes-Benz chief designer, Gorden Wagener told global media at the Barcelona launch (see facebook.co.nz/DrivenNZ for our video of Wagener explaining the design).
“However based on customer demands from the previous generations of CLS, we are confident the new electrified in-line six-cylinder CLS 450 4Matic with EQ Boost is the ideal engine and drive line package for our market.
“We believe the new CLS will make a strong addition to our range, and provide an option for those customers wanting to stand out from the traditional saloon body style.”
“We re-invented the outgoing model,” Wagener said. “We wanted to bring back the original DNA of the first generation CLS (launched in 2005).”
Since then, there have been 365,000 customers of the CLS with the Mercedes established in the premium four-door coupe segment.
The CLS has Mercedes’ nine-speed automatic transmission plus three major innovations: new design, engines and AMG styling and performance.
“The new CLS is a design icon as the archetype of the four-door coupe. In line with our design philosophy of sensual purity, we have reduced its DNA in an extremely puristic way and at the same time emotionally charged it with elegant beauty,” said Wagener.
The CLS gains three full rear seats for the first time and takes the S-Class steering wheel with its mounted controls, plus its driving systems.
Design highlights include LED High-Performance headlamps, Lane Keeping Assist, Speed Limit Assist, a 12.3in multimedia system display, plus ambience lighting including illuminated air vents,
But it is rgw engine technology that is garnering attentionfor the CLS. Mercedes-Benz’s EQ boost, along with a starter generator, recuperates and stores energy in hybrid style, giving not only better fuel efficiency but also the power equivalent of a V8.
The 450 CLS has a 3-litre 6-cylinder petrol engine producing 270kW of power, with an extra 16kW from the EQ boost.
An integrated starter/alternator (ISG) is responsible for hybrid functions such as EQ Boost or energy recuperation, while allowing fuel savings that were previously reserved for high-voltage hybrid technology.
In the CLS 450 4MATIC, the internal combustion engine is switched off depending on the driving situation and automatically recuperates with the electric motor. The battery is charged during recuperation.
And it works seamlessly. Driving north of Barcelona in the mountains — that only days earlier had been blanketed in snow — I used the eco mode on the busy motorway to charge the EQ unit, but on the windy mountain I put the 450 into Sport+ mode and benefited from the boost.
The 450 also benefits from Mercedes’ AWD system, 4Matic, which sends 60 per cent of torque to the rear. This kept the four-door coupe nicely on the road, with effortless cornering and even better response when, on the Sunday drive, we encountered at least 300 cyclists on our mountain route. With a tap on the accelerator, the 4Matic system helped us with a nifty overtaking manoeuvre on narrow winding roads.
Unlike my Australian colleagues at the launch, New Zealand allows for semi-autonomous features such as Mercedes-Benz’s pilot mode — seen in many of the brand’s products now. But thankfully the CLS ditches the stalk feature to apply pilot mode, and adopts the S-Class steering wheel mounted buttons for the control.
Mercedes-Benz CLS 450 4Matic
Engine: 3-litre 6-cylinder Petrol (270KW/500NM)
Pro: Classic look, great engine
Con: No shooting brake