Big news from Stuttgart today as Mercedes-Benz officially pulls the cover off the all-new CL class luxocoupes. Leaked photos of the car have been circulating the web since last week.
Stylish inside and out, the new CL reflects the design language introduced on the current S-Class, but pulls it off better. Where the S-Class seems bulkier (around the trunk area, for example), the CL smooths things out. It looks sporty despite its large size (it's bigger than its predecessor in every dimension).
The muscular fender bulges of the S-Class find their way to the CL, where they look even better and hint at the car's performance. Up front, the familiar Mercedes grille is flanked by one-piece headlamps whose shape is unique to the CL. Foglights are in the opening of the lower fascia.
A character line that gently slopes upward as it makes its way from the front communicates an aggressive stance when the car is viewed in profile. In back, the trunk bustle of the S-Class is eliminated. The trunklid is, thankfully, flush with the tops of the rear quarter panels. The rear end design is refreshingly simple -- no big-butt syndrome here!
The interior, as you'd expect, is absurdly luxurious, with leather and wood aplenty. The CL600 even adds quilted alacantra to the mix, which sees duty as the headliner. Convenience and safety features are simply too numerous to list here (see the press release for more detail), but suffice to say that if a Mercedes engineer has figured out a way to automate something, then it's either standard equipment or part of the small list of available options. The only thing not included is a butler to ride shotgun and push buttons or utter voice commands for you.
The CL500 is powered by a 32-valve 388-horsepower V8 mated to MB's 7G-TRONIC 7-speed automatic tranny. The CL600 gets a reworked version of the previous car's V12 which is good for 517 ponies and a staggering 612 lb-ft of torque (which is available at 1900 rpm, no less). Unfortunately, the V12 is only available with the older-generation 5-speed auto. I guess you can't have everything.
(Press release, photos after the jump)
The new Mercedes-Benz CL-Class: masterpiece among the luxury coupés
Stuttgart -- The international launch of the new CL-Class in autumn 2006 (UK arrival spring 2007) will be the culmination of a Mercedes-Benz coupé tradition going back over 50 years. The two-door model combines peerless exclusivity and charismatic design with the sort of cutting-edge technology that no other manufacturer can match worldwide. Mercedes innovations such as the Active Body Control (ABC) suspension system, the Intelligent Light System with five lighting functions and PRE-SAFE® anticipatory occupant protection all come as standard. Furthermore, the luxury Coupé raises the bar in terms of vehicle safety with the PRE-SAFE® brakes: the unique system automatically brakes the Coupé before an imminent rear-end collision. Two powerful engines with eight or 12 cylinders are available, delivering a notable increase in output and torque. Thanks to their exemplary smoothness they also live up to the Mercedes heritage of superb motoring refinement.
The large Mercedes Coupés have been synonymous with style and exclusivity in the automotive industry for decades. They set the standard in terms of design and equipment, combine exemplary safety with an outstanding level of comfort and assured handling. In short, Mercedes Coupés are extraordinary dream cars -- automobile classics.
The new CL-Class is another Mercedes-Benz masterpiece. Just as the luxury coupé points the way to the future with its innovative technology, the design has also set the mould for a new Mercedes style. Its hallmark is the interaction between distinctive tightly drawn lines with large, unruffled surfaces. This design lends the Coupé its own particular expressive power, emphasising the calm and power of its powerful, self-confident nature.
Familiar Mercedes features have been given a contemporary twist, resulting in a harmonious blend of the classic and contemporary. Examples include the hallmark Mercedes radiator grille with its wide chrome louvres, and the design of the C-pillar. The unique, slightly downwards-tapering pillar configuration is a typical feature of the large Mercedes Coupés whose roots go right back to the 1950s: in 1956 the 220 S/SE Coupé (W 180/W 128 model series) first captured attention with this striking C-pillar design, and a few years later the concept was further refined in the successor model, the 220 SE Coupé (W 111/112).
Other design features which were already acclaimed back then have also been reinterpreted for the CL-Class, keeping alive the large coupé tradition of the Mercedes-Benz brand: the fully retractable side windows, for instance, whose continuous aperture is not interrupted by a B-pillar, and the large, curving panoramic rear window. In the early days this was a typical styling feature of the Mercedes Coupés, and in its stylistically evolved form for the new CL-Class it is just as appealing as in the 220 SE Coupé of 1961.
Interior: equipment for even the most discerning driver
Style finds its way into the interior too: the large side window aperture draws the eye to the stylish dashboard, exquisite wood trim and soft leather upholstery. In an instant you realise that everything in the interior of the new CL-Class is designed for comfort and relaxation. The atmosphere is reminiscent of an exclusive club: take a seat and enjoy. Five stylish colour combinations are available; automatic climate control, COMAND with car radio and CD/DVD player as well as a glass sunroof are all part of the standard specification, elements that come together to deliver a unique motoring and comfort experience.
In the top-of-the-line CL 600 the Exclusive PASSION leather appointments, specially selected poplar wood and an Alcantara roof liner with quilted seams provide the finishing touches to an exquisite first-class ambience, a look and feel also echoed in the seats with their designo styling, the chromed door sill panels and floor mats with leather edging. The standard specification also includes dynamic multicontour seats with massage function and seat ventilation, the hard-disc navigation system COMAND APS, the LOGIC7® surround sound system with DVD changer and the KEYLESS-GO access and drive authorisation system.
Compared with the outgoing model, the new Mercedes-Benz top-of-the-range coupé has grown slightly in every dimension. 5065 mm long, 1871 mm wide and 1418 mm high, the body is 75 mm longer, 14 mm wider and 20 mm higher than before, providing even more comfort and space on all four seats. The boot capacity has been increased by 40 litres to 490 litres (VDA measuring method).
Control concept: fewer switches for more functions
A newly developed control concept, which has already been successfully implemented in the S-Class worldwide, refines driver-vehicle interaction even further. Above all, it provides convenient, rapid access to frequently used functions such as car radio, DVD player, car phone or navigation system. Depending on the driver's own preference, these systems can be controlled using switches in the centre console, pressing a button on the multifunction steering wheel or using the COMAND controller on the centre console. This central control unit is linked to the large, pivoting COMAND colour display next to the instrument cluster, providing access to the user-friendly main and sub-menus that activate the various functions.
The standard-specification automatic climate control with four independently adjustable temperature zones is also integrated into the new control concept. The driver and front passenger can select temperature, air distribution and other settings either using the COMAND controller and menu-based control, or by means of an attractively styled switch array beneath the air vents. The COMAND system allows other individual climate settings to be adjusted such as air distribution and the footwell temperature.
The newly developed integral seats in the CL-Class provide maximum individual seating comfort. "Integral" means that all components of the seatbelt system are incorporated directly into the seat; hence the seats form an important component in the occupant protection system. The standard specification already provides electric adjustment of the fore-aft setting, incline of the seat and backrest, seat height, head restraint and length of the front seat cushions. Pneumatic lumbar supports allow the driver and front passenger to adjust the backrest contour to suit their build and consequently reduce the strain on the back muscles.
Optional extras include luxury seats with active ventilation (standard in the CL 600) that provide even more individual comfort, along with the further enhanced multicontour seats with nine air cushions, and dynamic multicontour seats with massage function (standard in the CL 600).
The driver and front passenger seats with multicontour function have been awarded the AGR ("healthy back campaign") seal of approval.
Active Body Control: the perfect combination of dynamism and comfort
The standard specification in the new Mercedes Coupé features technological innovations that no other manufacturer can match anywhere in the world. First and foremost is the Active Body Control (ABC) suspension system, which in its latest, even more sophisticated guise delivers unprecedented handling dynamics while offering an equally appreciable improvement in ride comfort. Based on sensor signals and using specially designed hydraulic cylinders at the axles, ABC all but entirely eliminates the customary pitch and roll of the body that occur when moving off, cornering and braking. ABC responds with split-second speed to ensure the body damping is adjusted instantly to any situation. At speeds above 60 mph, ABC lowers the body by up to 10 millimetres to reduce drag and improve handling stability.
Intelligent Light System: five lighting functions to match driving and weather conditions
The Intelligent Light System, which makes driving even safer in the dark, is equally unique. Together with bi-xenon headlamps it forms part of the standard specification for the new CL-Class and provides five different lighting functions that are activated to match driving and weather conditions: the new country mode illuminates the left-hand edge of the road more widely and brightly than the existing low-beam headlamps.
Motorway mode, which comes on automatically when driving above 56 mph, delivers a uniform cone of light that illuminates the entire road width. In the centre of this cone the driver is able to see around 50 metres further. The enhanced fog lamps are also new, which Mercedes-Benz uses to provide better orientation in adverse weather conditions. Active light function and cornering light function are also part of the standard-fit Intelligent Light System on the CL-Class.
PRE-SAFE®: automatic partial braking before an impending accident
Mercedes-Benz is the world's first car brand to develop an anticipatory occupant protection system that recognises a potential accident situation in its early stages and takes anticipatory occupant protection measures: PRE-SAFE® is standard-equipment on the new CL-Class. During emergency braking or when skidding is imminent, the system moves the passenger seat into the most favourable position so that seatbelts and airbags have maximum effect on impact. It also inflates air cushions in the dynamic multicontour seats (standard in the CL 600), which envelop and support the driver and front passenger. PRE-SAFE® also closes the side windows and the sunroof in critical situations where high lateral dynamics are generated.
Mercedes-Benz has just made this multi-award-winning anticipatory protection system even better in the CL-Class with the newly developed PRE-SAFE® brakes. They operate in tandem with Brake Assist PLUS (BAS PLUS), which warns the driver of an imminent rear-end collision with visual and audible signals and automatically calculates the required braking pressure to prevent an accident. This braking-power support is available as soon as the brake pedal is operated. If the driver does not react to the BAS PLUS warnings, the PRE-SAFE® brakes trigger automatic partial braking where an accident is imminent and slow the CL-Class down using around 40 per cent of the total braking power.
The automatic partial braking provides the driver with another clear warning to act. If the driver then immediately applies the brakes, the maximum braking force is available and the accident can -- depending on the situation -- be averted at the last moment. If an accident is unavoidable, the PRE-SAFE® brakes reduce the impact severity and, in turn, the risk of injury to the vehicle occupants.
As with Brake Assist PLUS, the new PRE-SAFE® brakes also utilise state-of-the-art radar technology to scan the situation in front of the car and detect a potential accident. Two short-range radar sensors with a range of 30 metres and a scanning angle of 80° are located behind the front bumper fascia on the CL-Class. The additional long-range radar in the radiator grille has a range of 150 metres.
Mercedes-Benz also offers BAS PLUS and PRE-SAFE® brakes in conjunction with the optional DISTRONIC PLUS proximity cruise control.
Assistance systems: radar sensors make parking child's play
The newly developed parking guidance system (optional extra) also works on the basis of radar technology: the sensors measure the length of a parking space when driving past and show on the cockpit display whether there is sufficient space to park. The display then includes a symbolic representation of the parking manoeuvre; guide lines show the required steering angle and indicate the path into the parking space. In this way the system helps the driver park inch perfect.
Night view assist with infrared headlamps, reversing camera, voice control for car radio, DVD changer and navigation as well as tyre pressure monitoring system are other optional Mercedes assistance systems for increased handling safety and comfort.
Engines: eight and 12-cylinder powerplants with noticeably more power
The new luxury Coupé is ready for any challenge on motorways and rural roads thanks to the most powerful Mercedes engines to date. The eight-cylinder powerplant in the CL 500 delivers 285 kW/388 hp and generates a maximum torque of 530 Nm from 2800 rpm. As such the newly developed engine outperforms the existing V8 unit by 26 per cent in terms of output and 15 per cent when it comes to torque. Equipped with four-valve technology, variably adjustable shifting camshafts, a two-stage intake module and tumble flaps in the intake ducts, the new V8 is among the most advanced, powerful engines in its displacement class. The CL 500 accelerates from zero to 62.5 mph in just 5.4 seconds (previous model: 6.3 seconds).
An ultra-modern biturbo 12-cylinder engine under the bonnet of the new CL 600 generates its impressive power. Mercedes engineers have enhanced numerous details of the power unit and, compared to the predecessor model, have increased output by 12 kW/17 hp to 380 kW/517 hp. The maximum torque, already on tap from 1900 rpm, has been improved further by 30 Nm to 830 Nm and remains constant up to 3500 rpm. The new CL 600 accelerates from 0 to 62.5 mph in just 4.6 seconds (previous model: 4.8 seconds). And despite the significant performance boost the V12 engine is 0.6 mpg more efficient than the outgoing model.
Mercedes-Benz has combined the standard-fit automatic transmission with the new DIRECT SELECT gearshift: the driver can select the transmission settings "P", "N", "R" and "D" by nudging a lever on the steering column. Operating commands are transmitted electronically by wire.
Tradition: seven generations of the Mercedes-Benz Coupé
The new CL-Class ushers in the seventh generation of the large Mercedes Coupés. The two-door model replaces the world-beating outgoing model, which joins the ranks of the best-selling luxury coupés with around 46,800 units sold.
The history of the large Mercedes Coupés stretches back to 1952 when Mercedes-Benz launched the legendary 300 S Coupé -- a "car for the world's elite" was the verdict of the motoring press in its day. In 1956 it was followed by the 220 S Coupé as part of the W 180 model series, which fired the public's imagination with its unitised "Pontoon" body in particular. And in 1961 the derder 220 SEb Coupé (W 111 model series) took up the baton with its stylish elongated body.
In 1981 the SEC Coupés from the C 126 model series were based on the then S-Class and remained in the Mercedes-Benz line-up for 10 years with over 74,000 units produced. In 1992 the Geneva Motor Show was host to the launch of the successor model (C 140 model series), powered for the first time by a 290-kW/394-hp twelve-cylinder engine. The predecessor to the new CL-Class Coupé celebrated its world premiere in March 1999, setting new standards with leading-edge Mercedes innovations such as the Active Body Control (ABC) suspension system and bi-xenon headlamps.
Mercedes-Benz has built over 178,000 luxury coupés since 1952.