2017 Los Angeles - Mercedes-Benz unveils the all-new CLS, the original 4-door coupe

When Mercedes-Benz took the wraps off the Vision CLS Concept at the 2003 Frankfurt Motor Show, the term 4-door coupe was unheard of in the automotive industry. The reception for the gorgeous coupe-styled sedan was overwhelmingly positive and the CLS went on to pioneer an entire segment, forcing rivals BMW and Audi to follow. After two successful iterations, the German luxury car-maker debuted the third-generation CLS at the 2017 Los Angeles Auto Show last Friday.

In the CLS, form has always taken precedence over function and the all-new model is no different. Sporting a silhouette similar to its predecessors but with much cleaner and sharper lines, the new CLS is now in line with the brand's 'Sensual Purity' design language. The forward-slanting front end is characterized by the trademark radiator grille that widens towards the base and a pair of low-set triangular headlights. The profile is as sleek and sexy as ever with an arching roofline, flat shoulder line and flared wheel arches. At the rear, a pair of two-piece taillights pushes the license plate down to the rear bumper, offering a more mature take on the design Mercedes-Benz has been applying to its coupes and coupe-crossovers of late. 

The interiors borrow heavily from the E-Class, the model with which the CLS shares its platform and underpinnings. Featuring a flowing layout that extends from the dashboard to the front doors, the CLS's cabin is more opulent and luxurious than ever. Exquisitely-designed air-con vents, a Mercedes trademark these days, grab eyeballs while the standard 12.3-inch instrument cluster couples with a 12.3-inch infotainment display for a really 'w-i-d-e' monolith screen. While a full suite of creature comforts, driver-assist and safety features are standard on the new CLS, the Edition 1 that commemorates the launch gets exclusive features like black pearl Nappa leather, copper interior accents, ambient-lighting package and black 20-inch AMG alloys amongst others.

In-line 6-cylinder engines make a comeback in the Mercedes lineup under the hood of the CLS. While the 3.0-liter petrol mill in the CLS 450 produces 362 horsepower and 500 Nm of torque, the 2.9-liter diesel engine is available in two states of tune. In the CLS 350d guise, it generates 282 horsepower and 600 Nm of torque. The same mill is tuned to deliver 335 horsepower and 700 Nm of torque in the CLS 400d. Both the engines are turbocharged and paired with a 9G-Tronic automatic gearbox which transmits the power to all four wheels through the standard 4Matic all-wheel drive system.

Supplementing the petrol engine is a mild-hybrid system that generates an additional 21 horsepower and 250 Nm of torque for short durations. Dubbed 'EQ Boost', the 48-volt electrical system consists of a 1 kW-hr lithium battery placed under the hood and aids 'sailing' wherein lifting off the throttle shuts off the engine and the electric motor re-fires the engine upon pressing the throttle pedal again. There is no EV-only mode though and the IC Engine runs at all times.

The new CLS goes on sale in 2018 with the United States of America, Europe and China expected to be its first markets. Now that the original 4-door coupe is reborn, it's the turn of BMW and Audi to up their game in this all-important show-off segment.

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