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2012 Mercedes-Benz CLS – Click above for high-res image gallery

At the Mercedes press conference during last week's Paris Auto Show, the company rolled out its CLS – the car everyone was really there to see – for dessert. We couldn't have our pudding without eating our meat, though, so there were five courses served before it: the Smart Ad Lib, Smart scooter, Smart bicycle, Mercedes A-Class E-Cell, and a 2.2-liter four-cylinder diesel S-Class, throughout which time Mercedes CEO Dieter Zetsche and Smart head Annette Winkler took a good thirty minutes to stress the consumer and environmental friendliness of the brand's offerings.

This will not be an isolated incident, either. Zetsche said "We want to be efficiency world champions ... and we will be," and to do so will require initiatives that were "previously unthinkable," such as the hybrid S-Class and the coming four-cylinder. While there's no timeline placed on his pronouncement, it is clear that if M-B is going to stay with BMW and Audi in the emissions and efficiency stakes it will need to take a sledgehammer to conventional ideas of the brand.

Audi has laid out its electronic initiatives and BMW has its Efficient Dynamics, but so far Mercedes has only laid out a range of different projects under no particular umbrella, such as an all-hybrid S-Class line, more efficient ICE engines, and a new range of small cars for America. We wait to see if there is one particular way M-B will ultimately go to fulfill its aim... and if that way will include euthanizing Maybach...


2012 Mercedes-Benz CLS-Class
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[Source: Automotive News – Sub. Req.]


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    • 1 Second Ago
  • 26 Comments
      • 4 Years Ago
      Nice to hear you say that, MB.

      Now get to it. You have a lot of work ahead of you. All non-German companies are basically a step ahead of ya. Start out with some real hybrids and make your way to full electric. Stop wasting your R&D budget on hydrogen and mild hybrids; dead ends!
        • 4 Years Ago
        How can hydrogen be a dead end? Just because it's currently too expensive to be viable, doesn't make it a dead end- research, development, and public acceptance will make it all cheaper.
        • 4 Years Ago
        There are so many reasons.

        1. cheap sources of H2 come from non-renewable sources. ( natural gas is a good example )
        2. Reliable, in-car storage will always be an issue. Until you hit 10000psi, your range is very limited... so you need a hybrid system to extend your range. Making the car even more expensive. Also, how long do you think seals that hold in 5000-20000psi really last?
        3. It takes more energy to make hydrogen than you get out, regardless of technique. Meanwhile, you could be keeping the electricity used and skip the hydrogen phase; losing no energy in the process! or just burn the natural gas/methane/etc straight.. either way is better.

        No solutions have been offered for any of these points.
      • 4 Years Ago
      While I applaud the commitment to efficiency, it's hardly "unthinkable". Mercedes was the first luxury automaker to offer four and five cylinder diesel engines in their big cars back in the 70's and 80's when the standard for high dollar luxury was a gasoline V8 or a V12.

      I've given Mercedes a lot of flak for how they handled Chrysler, but all-in-all they've been a pretty forward thinking company sometimes.
      • 4 Years Ago
      With all the big names getting behind green...that's a lot of money thrown at R&D.

      Expecting to see some big stuff happen in the coming decade.
        • 4 Years Ago
        All of this effort, while the millions spent on motorsport are being wasted by constricting rules. I reckon the FIA has set back cars by 15 years.
        • 4 Years Ago
        Sounds like we should be preparing for the German MPG wars. Not quite as exciting as the HP wars...
      • 4 Years Ago
      Sometimes I feel this green moment is going too far.
      • 4 Years Ago
      How can you have any pudding if you don't eat yer meat?
      • 4 Years Ago
      "ICE Engines"

      Lolwhuuuut?
      • 4 Years Ago
      I don't see why this is "unthinkable". The number of cylinders doesn't matter. It's about total power, total torque, the HP curve and the torque curve.

      If you can make 4 cylinders perform like 8 while saving gas, why not?
        • 4 Years Ago
        Refinement becomes an issue. Especially for a luxury car.

        But if anyone can build a diesel-4 that's as smooth as a V8, my money would be on MB.
      • 4 Years Ago
      I understand the need to conserve resources, but the "Look how green we are!" ad campaigns are getting a little old.
      • 4 Years Ago
      Mercedes and VW both have tons of experiencve with diesels. I'd like to see them succeed in the market and overcome the negative public perception that was created by GM''s poor engineering.

      I wonder if it is time fro EP to revise their MPG test protocol. It doesn't seem like it reflects real world conditions.
      • 4 Years Ago
      "do the unthinkable"

      They are going to kill babies?
      • 4 Years Ago
      If I can afford a CLS, I am sure it won't be hauled around with a nasty 4 banger. Just listen to one, awful and cheap sounding.
      • 4 Years Ago
      Will the "greenest" car line-up bring in the most money to a company? Oh hell yes!!! Smart move by Benz!!!
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