• Jan 27th 2008 at 5:51PM
  • 27
click above for 55 high-res images of the 2008 Mercedes-Benz CLC

Mercedes-Benz has officially unveiled the 2008 CLC-Class, the Euro-market successor to the now-defunct C-Class Sports Coupe. Well, we should clarify that. It's not completely defunct in that its architecture has been carried over for the new car, meaning the CLC does not share underpinnings with the new-gen C-Class. Still, Mercedes boasts that the car features 1,100 "newly-developed or enhanced" components, including the direct steering system introduced on the freshened SLK. The changes are intended to give the car a different feel than its predecessor.

At first glance, it's clear that Mercedes is trying to leave the past behind, looks-wise. Sure, the coupe profile is carried over, but the sharp-looking face of the new C-Class finds its way onto the CLC's front end. Out back, fresh taillamps also keep up the family resemblance to the new C. An updated interior greets occupants, with available features like DVD or hard drive-based nav, iPod integration, and an in-dash SD card slot. The entertainment, communications and nav systems can all be operated by voice command, too.

Buyers can choose from four engines -- 2 gas and 2 diesel, all with improved fuel economy -- matched with six-speed manual gearboxes as standard equipment. Drivers who opt for automatics get a 5-speed unit for 4-cylinder engines or MB's 7-speed auto for the 6-cylinders. An available sports package dresses things up with enhancements like 18" wheels and also adds paddle shifters to the steering wheel for cars with automatic transmissions. The Brazilian-built CLC goes on sale in Europe this May. No plans have been mentioned regarding a possible US-market return, and given that the last-gen didn't sell particularly well here, that is completely unsurprising. The Mercedes press release is pasted after the jump.

[Sources: Mercedes-Benz, Inside Line]

The new Mercedes-Benz CLC: Sports Coupé with fun factor

Stuttgart - Mercedes-Benz has unveiled a stand-alone model series in the guise of the new CLC, the compelling entry-level model in the Mercedes-Benz coupé family. The Sports Coupé's design, technology and equipment meet the discerning requirements of young drivers looking for an athletic car that gives an involving drive, while at the same time delivering the hallmark Mercedes quality standards in terms of safety, comfort, environmental compatibility and functionality. Compared with the previous Sports Coupé, the Mercedes engineers have newly developed or enhanced over 1100 components. Engineering highlights of the CLC include a new direct-steer system for even more agile cornering, state-of-the-art infotainment systems featuring a colour display, Europe-wide DVD or hard-disc navigation and media interface, as well as an uprated four-cylinder engine that now develops 135 kW/184 hp. Fuel consumption has been reduced by up to 10.8 percent compared with the outgoing model.

The compact body dimensions and the muscular lines emphasise the sporty appearance of the new CLC. The Mercedes designers have completely redesigned the front and rear so that the Sports Coupé embodies the contemporary Mercedes design idiom with its distinctive coupé radiator grille featuring a large Mercedes star in the centre, and the new projection-beam headlamps. The S-Class, the luxury CL-Class Coupé and the C-Class provided the stylistic models. The redesigned large tailgate conceals a variable boot with up to 1100 litres of luggage capacity. The new tail lights, the long row of LEDs which make up the third brake light unit and the rear bumper subdivide the rear and emphasise its width.

The interior of the new Mercedes-Benz CLC is akin to a contemporary tailor-made suit - custom-fit and comfortable. Sports seats with better lateral support than ever, a three-spoke multifunction steering wheel, automatic climate control and brushed aluminium trim elements form part of the standard specification. A choice of seat covers in black, alpaca grey and a particularly stylish combination of black and red are available to give the interior its individual colour scheme.

Sports package with new direct-steer system and 18-inch wheels
Mercedes-Benz has put together the sports package for drivers looking for sporting flair. It includes exclusive engineering innovations and equipment extras such as 18-inch light-alloy wheels, wide-base tyres, headlamps with black inner surrounds, sports suspension with lowered body, leather sports steering wheel and dark brushed aluminium trim elements. Another special feature which the CLC inherits from its racing car counterparts is the instrument cluster with red needles for the speedometer and rev counter. Once the engine is switched on, these needles spin once around the dial before returning to their start positions.

The standard specification for the sports package includes a new direct-steer system, which further enhances the agile driving experience of the CLC while adding an important boost to safety. This new feature is based on the speed-sensitive power steering and also offers a variable rack ratio which changes as a function of the steering angle so that the driver only has to turn the wheel slightly when cornering; the Sports Coupé therefore responds far more spontaneously to steering commands and offers even sportier handling. As a result, the direct-steer system also improves handling safety in critical situations - for instance when taking sudden evasive action - as the field tests conducted by the Mercedes engineers demonstrate.

Engines: fuel consumption reduced by up to 10.8 percent
Mercedes-Benz offers four four-cylinder and two six-cylinder engines with power outputs ranging from 90 kW/122 hp to 200 kW/272 hp for the new CLC. The 135 kW/184 hp powerplant in the CLC 200 KOMPRESSOR now develops an extra 15 kW/20 hp while consuming just 7.8 to 8.2 litres per 100 kilometres in the NEDC cycle - the equivalent of up to 0.7 litres less than before. In consumption terms, with its advanced turbodiesel engines, the CLC falls into the five-litre category: the CLC 200 CDI returns a consumption of 5.8 to 6.1 litres per 100 kilometres in the NEDC cycle, up to 10.8 percent less than the outgoing model. The CDI models boast operating ranges of over 1000 kilometres with a full tank (62 litres).

The six-speed manual transmission comes as standard with all engine variants. Mercedes-Benz can also supply a five-speed automatic transmission for the four-cylinder units, and the 7G-TRONIC seven-speed automatic transmission for the V6 models. In combination with the sports package, the driver can use gearshift paddles on the steering wheel to select the gears of the automatic transmission manually and make optimum use of the engines' high power reserves when the driving situation calls for it.

Infotainment: state-of-the-art technology for navigation and musical enjoyment on wheels
The Mercedes engineers have developed a new generation of infotainment units for the CLC, bringing luxury-class cutting-edge technology to the Sports Coupé as of September 2008. Three units are available, offering a superb combination of colour display, twin tuner, speed-sensitive volume control and Bluetooth mobile phone interface. An iPod, USB stick or other external audio devices can now also be connected to the infotainment system. A new universal media interface (optional extra) links these devices to the on-board electronics and the Sports Coupé's control system, allowing the iPod tracks to be displayed in the instrument cluster and on the colour screen in the centre console. Tracks can then be selected conveniently using the buttons on the multifunction steering wheel.

The new Audio 50 APS and COMAND APS units come with a Europe-wide DVD or hard-disc navigation system. The LINGUATRONIC voice-operated control system, which Mercedes-Benz has upgraded with a new whole-word recognition capability, is fitted as standard if the integrated six-disc DVD changer is specified. LINGUATRONIC enables the driver to conveniently operate the telephone, audio and navigation system.

Success story: Sports Coupé with extensive conquest potential
The new CLC is the successor to a successful Mercedes model that boasts some 320,000 drivers around the world to its name since 2001. The majority of these were new Mercedes customers. Its high conquest rate of some 70 percent made the Sports Coupé one of the most successful models in the Mercedes strategic product initiative. With the help of a compelling two-door model, the Stuttgart-based car maker has managed to fire customers' imagination over the long term. Over 40 percent of buyers opted for a larger Mercedes model after the Sports Coupé and are currently driving an E-Class, CLK or an SLK.

Thanks to its sophisticated design, high-quality equipment and appointments, and enhanced technology, the new Mercedes-Benz CLC offers even more conquest potential than its predecessor. The public will get the chance to take a close look at the Sports Coupé for the first time at the European Mercedes sales and service outlets and authorised dealerships in May 2008.

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    • 1 Second Ago
      • 7 Years Ago
      I really like it! I'd drive that. Particularly if they could get a diesel with good mpg here. I'd much rather be seen in that then one of these "mini" sized cars GM and Ford are trying to pitch (or a prius for that matter)..
      • 7 Years Ago
      Hey look: Mercedes made a Cobalt!! YeeeHaw!!
      • 7 Years Ago
      I loved the previous generation C-Class Coupé, but I am having mixed feelings for this one. I think i just need to get used to the looks. I felt the same way when the new C-Class was launched, but really like it now.
        • 7 Years Ago
        @ lovice,

        actually we did have the Sport Coupe, MB just stopped selling them here in 2005.
        • 7 Years Ago
        Wait...This is NOT the C-Class Coupe! It is a new C-Class Sports Coupe, which is called CLC nowadays!

        The C-Class Coupe you're talking about is Merc's CLK. However, this is the new CLC, which replaces the current C-Class Sports Coupe.

        I know it must be really confusing for you Americans. Coz the current C-Class Sport Coupe has never been introduced in the US (but it's been sold out side Noth America).

        So let me get this straight. The are SIX Merc models are based on each generation of C-Class.

        1. C-Class Sports Coupe (also called CLC now): the entry level two-door short wheelbase C-Class.

        2. C-Class: normal four-door C-Class sedan as most us would know.

        3. C-Class Wagon: the estate(station wagon) version of the C-Class.

        4. CLK: the real coupe version of the C-Class.

        5. CLK Cabriolet: the convertible version of the CLK.

        6. SLK: a compact size roadster based on the chassis of each generation C-Class.

        Clear now?!
        • 7 Years Ago
        When I said C-Class Coupe, I meant the sports coupe that you are referring to. I did not mean CLK, coz if I did mean CLK, I would have just said CLK...
      • 7 Years Ago
      They should keep it in Europe - the reason why it doesn't sell well here is because American's don't want to associate the Mercedes Benz brand with "dinky little hatchbacks". That's not to say that hatches aren't cool, they're just not the market for MBs in USofA. Maybe that's different in Europe, but not here. Here, most people point and laugh at them - the way the beautiful-people are in shot 51 - as in "that's too bad, you couldn't afford a real MB could you?" (truth be known, most of us feel that way about the C class as well, but I guess there has to be an entry level model)
        • 7 Years Ago
        Exactly! +1 A small Benz like the last one and this one show a half a$$ attempt for them to enter the "entry level" market. "Entry Level" and Mercedes Benz do not belong together.

        Although BMW seems to have it right with the 1-Series. It will eat 3-Series sales as they have made it an authentic Bimmer. It is too bad they are making the X6 though as they will get burnt by it.
        • 7 Years Ago
        I almost bought this, but got a 2002 9-3 for the second set of doors, despite the C230K's generally better overall package. I think it could have done well here, but it wasn't sporty enough to win people looking at GTIs or RSXs, and not practical enough for Saab, Volvo or Audi wagon buyers who wanted something practical, but couldn't stomach the price of the C-Wagon--probably the same fate that the Volvo C30 will suffer.

        It was a pretty good deal for a Mercedes. You got all the goodness (rear drive handling, nice interior) without the frills (leather, electronics, luxury frou-frou) without being totally gutless like the 318ti was. But I'll agree that it also made the buyer look like a poseur.
      • 7 Years Ago
      That is hideous. The taillights look horrible, they just took the sedan tails and added an extra rectangle on the trunk. I just really don't like the overall shape.
        • 7 Years Ago
        Agreed, but still better than the previous gen.
        • 7 Years Ago
        nothing wrong with this and certainly not hideous.

        I've always preferred the sedan style. I like the front end on this better than the last one over here (the 2005).

        The problem with the coupe is they gave it a cheaper interior than the sedan and expected it
      • 7 Years Ago
      Wow that looks bad.
      • 7 Years Ago
      Om my thats fugly! right? but wait isn't it the CTS Coupe?
      yes it is..it looks just like that worthless piece of junk. But then again if this was the CTS Coupe you guys would have your tongues up it exhaust.
        • 7 Years Ago
        the CLC and CTS Coupe both have doors. you are correct.
      • 7 Years Ago
      BMW M3 >>>>>>>>>>>>>> Mercedes CLC

      • 7 Years Ago
      I don't understand why they are using the old interior from the last gen. Looks like they had done another revised version of it.
      • 7 Years Ago
      Contrary to others' opinions, I think the Mercedes CLC is a nice car.
      It has a more appealing design than the old C-class sportscoupe. The rear end looks significantly better than the old model.
      Furthermore, the design is also more appealing than the ugly B-class and R-class. The CLC makes the B-class and R-class look bloated and unappealing. Thumbs up to the CLC.
      • 7 Years Ago
      i'm not feeling the new direction in design that MB is having now...first that lego-themed GLK, and now...this??? the tail gets the worst part; is it me or it looks like stretched version of the citroen xsara's tail??

      worth mentioning that updating the outside, leaving the inside (and the chasis!!) almost identical to the previous generation, screams "CHEAP-O!"
      • 7 Years Ago
      Wow, that looks really really horrible, as though the car before the B pillar and the car behind are two different vehicles, so poorly does the design flow... and that rear, hideous. I've never accused Mercedes of being rife with design talent but this? Pathetic.
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