New-Generation Mercedes-Benz CLS Coupe Hits the Road

New-Generation Mercedes-Benz CLS Coupe Hits the Road as Journalists Test-Drive the First 2012 CLS Models in the U.S.
YOUNTVILLE, CA – This week, a small group of U.S. journalists, including your editor of The Star Magazine,
are test-driving the very first new-generation 2012 CLS coupes arriving in the U.S. at an event in Northern
California's Wine Country. That would be me in the rain in the red CLS550.
The all-new CLS-Class coupe represents the first major redesign of a car that established an entirely new market segment – the four-door coupe, which combines the emotional appeal and dynamic design of a coupe with the comfort and functionality of a sedan.
The 2012 CLS line consists of three exciting models, all powered by
new biturbo direct-injection V8 engines and, for the first time, offers 4MATIC all-wheel-drive.
MSRP’s start at $71,300 for the CLS550, $73,800 for the CLS550 4MATIC and $94,900 for the
high-performance CLS63 AMG (not including delivery charges of $875).
A New Take on World’s First Four-Door Coupe
The distinctive body lines of the 2012 Mercedes-Benz CLS have been accentuated by its new
design, and overall, the new CLS is about 1.2 inches longer and wider than its predecessor.
The CLS fits right between the S-Class-based CL and the E-Class two-door to form a family of
Mercedes coupes that makes efficient use of existing chassis and powertrain layouts while
preserving their unique individual identities.
More Fuel-Efficient CLS550
With its new 4.6-liter direct-injection twin-turbo V8 the new CLS550 achieves 26 percent
better fuel mileage (est. 18 city / 26 hwy) than the previous model, while still producing 402
horsepower and 443 lb-ft. of torque. The CLS550 is equipped with new electrically assisted
power steering, AIRMATIC air suspension and a revised seven-speed automatic transmission.
Standard Mercedes safety technology on all CLS coupes includes PRE-SAFE, ABS anti-lock
brakes with Brake Assist, ATTENTION ASSIST, traction control and the ESP electronic
stability control. DISTRONIC PLUS with PRE-SAFE Brake is optionally available, as well as
Active Blind Spot Assist and Active Lane Keeping Assist.
CLS63 AMG Features Eco Stop-Start System
The 5.5-liter version of the new direct-injection V8 engine in the 2012 CLS63 AMG is rated at
518 hp and 516 lb.-ft of torque. An optional AMG Performance Package increases output to
550 hp and 590 lb-ft of torque. Even with its high-performance, the CLS63 AMG is 26
percent more fuel efficient (est. 15 city / 23 hwy), thanks in part to an innovative ECO stopstart
system. Whenever the AMG model stops in “D” or “N” with the brake pedal depressed
in “Controlled Efficiency” transmission mode, the engine is automatically turned off to save
fuel. As soon as the driver releases the brake, the engine computer decides which piston is
in the best position for first ignition, and the direct fuel injection and multi-spark systems
work with a starter motor to re-start the engine almost instantly.
Innovative MCT Transmission
The CLS63 AMG features a 7-speed MCT (multi-clutch technology) sport transmission with an
innovative start-up clutch that replaces the conventional torque converter. Providing the
direct feedback of a manual transmission with the total convenience of an automatic, the
MCT transmission offers impressive versatility and faster shift times.
In addition to larger brakes and wider wheels and tires, the CLS63 AMG also sports a unique
combination of steel coil springs at the front and AIRMATIC suspension at the rear, which
provides especially responsive handling from the front suspension, while the self-leveling
AIRMATIC at the rear maintains consistent ride height, regardless of the load. Along with a
tubular front stabilizer bar, the CLS63 AMG is fitted with special front control arms and
wheel hub carriers that provide wider track and more negative camber for even better grip in
high speed curves. The CLS63 AMG rear suspension includes new track rods and push-pull
rods as well as more rigid sub-frame mounts that all contribute to enhanced cornering.
I'll have more to say later, but my first take on these cars is that, even in pouring rain and on windswept
secondary roads, both the CLS550 and CLS63 are sure-footed and fun to drive. Though the CLS63
may be the best all-around performance car that M-B is building right now, most of the world will be
quite happy with the power and performance of the CLS550.
Gary Anderson