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Third-gen Mercedes CLS is out. Image by Mercedes-Benz.

Third-gen Mercedes CLS is out
New Mercedes CLS gets inline engines, hybrid tech and a brand-new look.
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Newer articles featuring 2018 Mercedes-Benz CLS

2018-12-17: First UK Drive: Mercedes-Benz CLS 400 d
2018-03-01: First drive: Mercedes-Benz CLS 350 d 4Matic

Looks swoopy...

Indeed, if one word could be used to describe the first two generations of the Mercedes-Benz CLS, that would be it, and here's the third generation, hot off the presses after its global unveiling at the Los Angeles Auto Show in America this week. It continues the same 'four-door coupe' design theme, though with a new focus on simplicity and curves. There's also an AMG GT-inspired front grille, LED lights and the introduction of a new range of inline six-cylinder engines.

Inline? Surely you mean V6?

Nope, the next generation of Mercedes six-pot units will be straight and the CLS will launch with two straight-six diesels and a straight-six petrol option, badged the CLS 350 d 4Matic, CLS 400 d 4Matic and CLS 450 4Matic. Clearly, they all have four-wheel drive, though we do expect lesser variants to use rear-wheel drive in time - and there will be four-cylinder engines too, of course.

The 350 d and 400 d use the same core 3.0-litre straight-six diesel with two turbochargers and a new variable valve lift system christened 'Camtronic'. Power and torque outputs are 286hp/600Nm and 340hp/700Nm respectively and the CLS 400 d 4Matic manages 0-62mph in just five seconds. Mercedes quotes identical economy and emissions figures for the diesels, of 50.4mpg and 148g/km.

Those figures elude the new petrol version, the CLS 450, despite its 48-volt electrical system and an integrated starter/generator that boosts efficiency (a system Mercedes calls 'EQ Boost'). It returns 37.7mpg and emits 178g/km. However, that electric assistance adds 22hp and a considerable 250Nm of torque to the 3.0-litre biturbo six-cylinder's own 367hp and 500Nm of torque, so it'll be the fastest CLS until an AMG variant comes along. Mercedes quotes 0-62mph in 4.8 seconds.

What about the chassis?

As standard, the four-link front and five-link rear suspension has steel springs and fixed damping, though buyers can specify Air Body Control with air springs and adaptive dampers. In other words, just like the E-Class, really. As is the CLS's interior. It takes the overall theme and architecture of the E-Class, including a swoopy (that word again) look and the option of a 'Widescreen' dashboard, but adds upgraded materials, air vents from the E-Class Coupe and Cabriolet and its own seats. There are three seat belts in the back, but clearly the middle occupant gets short-changed in terms of comfort and space.

Can it drive itself?

Not quite, though Mercedes has enhanced its optional Driving Assistance Plus Package, so it's claimed to assist and do its semi-autonomous thing better than ever. As standard, there's Active Brake Assist, Lane Keeping Assist, Attention Assist, Speed Limit Assist and Pre-Safe with Pre-Safe Sound.

More details on the equipment, engine line-up and UK pricing will be announced closer to the March 2018 market launch.

Shane O' Donoghue - 29 Nov 2017

2018 Mercedes-Benz CLS. Image by Mercedes-Benz.2018 Mercedes-Benz CLS. Image by Mercedes-Benz.2018 Mercedes-Benz CLS. Image by Mercedes-Benz.2018 Mercedes-Benz CLS. Image by Mercedes-Benz.2018 Mercedes-Benz CLS. Image by Mercedes-Benz.

2018 Mercedes-Benz CLS. Image by Mercedes-Benz.2018 Mercedes-Benz CLS. Image by Mercedes-Benz.2018 Mercedes-Benz CLS. Image by Mercedes-Benz.2018 Mercedes-Benz CLS. Image by Mercedes-Benz.2018 Mercedes-Benz CLS. Image by Mercedes-Benz.    - Mercedes-Benz road tests
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