Mercedes will launch CLS at Geneva 2004

Mercedes-Benz is unveiling a new and totally distinctive model series in Geneva. Never before have two contrasting characters been brought together so effectively and attractively as in the new CLS-Class. The four-door newcomer blends the stylistic inspiration and infectious emotional charisma of a coupé with the comfort and functionality of a saloon. The CLS-Class is very much a coupé-generation ahead of the game.

The new model once again underlines Mercedes-Benz' role as a pioneer and trendsetter in automotive thinking. With its exquisite styling, exclusive appointments and ground-breaking technology, the CLS-Class appeals most strongly to drivers for whom cars and motoring are a true passion.

The overall design is an accurate reflection of the coupé's emotional, experience-oriented character. Based on familiar Mercedes-Benz stylistic elements, the lines of the CLS-Class bring out the best in normally conflicting characteristics such as dynamics and size, power and elegance, aesthetics and functionality.

Elegant, luxurious and spacious: The interior of the CLS-Class

The elegant styling of the CLS-Class extends throughout the interior, engaging colours creating an inviting ambience and top-quality materials ensuring an extremely pleasant in-car environment. Soft leather and exquisite wood form the most important design elements of the interior, with the steering wheel and automatic transmission selector lever finished in leather trim as standard and the seats boasting an elegant fabric/leather combination. Customers can also choose from a range of three leather trim options and four interior colour shades.

Hand-crafted burr walnut wood lends the interior of the CLS-Class a particularly elegant and sophisticated feel. A large and lavishly sculpted trim element distinguished by the satin-painted wood dominates the instrument panel.

The four-door coupé concept also allows the rear passengers to get in and out of the car in comfort. Luxurious individual seats offer them impressive freedom of movement, whilst the 829-millimetre gap between the front and rear seats and the 1468 millimetres of elbow room put comparable saloons in the shade. The newly developed seats for the driver and front passenger are electrically adjustable and can be ordered as an option with an active ventilation function or as dynamic multicontour seats.

The CLS-Class can point to luxury-saloon-class levels of boot space, offering up to 505 litres of capacity (VDA measuring method) for the driver’s and passengers' luggage.

Powerful, smooth and economical: The engines for the new CLS-Coupé

A choice of two state-of-the-art petrol engines are available for the CLS-Class, both distinguished by majestic power development and exceptional torque characteristics. Dynamic driving pleasure is just a push of the right foot away.

Fitted with the newly developed V6 engine (200 kW/272 hp), the CLS 350 accelerates from 0 to 100 km/h in just 7.0 seconds (provisional data). Maximum torque of 350 Nm is available as low down as 2400 rpm, providing imposing pulling power for mid-range sprints or overtaking.

The responsive V6 engine links up with another new development fitted as standard in the CLS-Class: the 7G-TRONIC seven-speed automatic transmission. The first transmission of its type for passenger cars, 7G-TRONIC makes a key contribution to the outstanding acceleration of the CLS 350 and its exemplary fuel consumption figures of 10.1 litres per 100 kilometres (NEDC combined, provisional data).

The six-cylinder coupé also comes as standard with THERMATIC automatic climate control, a stereo system, speed-sensitive steering, leather steering wheel, 17-inch light-alloy wheels and wide 245/45 R 17 tyres.

With its 5.0-litre V8 engine, the CLS 500 is a match for full-blooded sports cars such as the Mercedes-Benz SL Roadster in terms of output, whilst also offering the eight-cylinder comfort of a top-class saloon. The engine develops 225 kW/306 hp and generates peak torque of 460 Nm. Once again, the seven-speed automatic transmission is fitted as standard. The CLS 500 powers from 0 to 100 km/h in 6.1 seconds (provisional data) and on to a maximum speed which is limited at 250 km/h.

Other features of the standard equipment package for the CLS 500 which aren't fitted as standard in the CLS 350 include AIRMATIC DC air suspension, THERMOTRONIC luxury automatic climate control and 18-inch light-alloy wheels with wide 245/40 R 18 tyres.

Thinking ahead and setting the pace: The CLS-Class safety systems, including PRE-SAFE

Equipped with state-of-the-art safety technology such as adaptive front airbags, windowbags and sidebags, plus belt tensioners and belt force limiters on all seats, the CLS-Class offers impressive, typically Mercedes levels of occupant safety. In addition, customers will soon be able to order the multi-award-winning Mercedes safety system PRE-SAFE, which recognises critical driving situations in advance and activates occupant protection measures before an accident occurs. These include instantly tightening the seatbelts, which bring the driver and front passenger into a more favourable seating position ahead of a possible collision. This allows the airbags to provide effective protection for the occupants in the event of an impact.

When it comes to active safety, the new CLS-Class is fitted as standard with the Sensotronic Brake Control SBC™ system and the latest generation of the Electronic Stability Program ESP®, a clear display of Mercedes-Benz' technological leadership in the automotive industry. And the coupé is available as an option with a host of other innovations which make life on the road even safer. The high-output bi-xenon headlamps with the active cornering headlamp system, which Mercedes-Benz is offering for the first time with a cornering light function, are a good example.

DISTRONIC proximity control, the LINGUATRONIC voice-operated control system, the control and display system COMAND APS with its Europe-wide DVD navigation function and the keyless access and drive authorisation system KEYLESS-GO are further examples of Mercedes technology which can be ordered as an option to ensure even greater comfort and driving pleasure.

Mercedes-Benz unveiled a coupé study at the 2003 International Motor Show in Frankfurt aimed at gauging the public's appetite for the new CLS-Class. The widespread enthusiasm which greeted the four-door newcomer provided the Stuttgart-based car maker with the response it needed to give series production the green light.

The CLS-Class Coupé will arrive in Mercedes-Benz' sales and service outlets and dealerships in autumn 2004.

Text/Photos: DaimlerChrysler