Mercedes Benz CLS (3rd Generation Facelift)

With a sharpened design, the modernised CLS will arrive in European dealerships in August 2021. The front end in particular, with new radiator grilles and bumpers, expresses the dynamism of the four-door coupé even more strongly. At the same time, the interior has been upgraded with additional leather and trim combinations as well as a new-generation steering wheel. A latest-generation diesel with integrated starter-generator expands the model range. A strictly limited special model of the Mercedes-AMG CLS 53 4MATIC+ (combined fuel consumption 9.0-8.7 l/100 km; combined CO2 emissions 206-199 g/km)[1] forms the sportily exclusive spearhead. Thanks to a comprehensive update last summer, with upgrades to the driving assistance systems, the MBUX (Mercedes-Benz User Experience) multimedia system and ENERGIZING Comfort, the CLS was already up-to-date technologically.

As a coupé, the CLS, together with all roadsters and cabriolets, belongs to the category of dream cars at Mercedes-Benz. To date, more than four million examples have been sold to customers all over the world, including more than 450,000 CLS models since the launch of the first generation in 2004. China was the largest sales market for the CLS Coupé in 2020, followed by South Korea, the USA and Germany. The reason most frequently cited by customers for buying the CLS is its design: Sportiness is the true luxury in this customer segment.

Mercedes Benz CLS (2022) – Sportier Look And Greater Individualisation

Now the CLS shows off an even sportier look. The entry-level model with AVANTGARDE Exterior as standard features a new front apron with striking air intakes, two louvres at the sides, and a front splitter in silver chrome. The rear apron has a black diffuser-look insert and a silver-chrome trim strip. Two new designs are available for the 19-inch light-alloy wheels: 5-twin-spoke or multi-spoke rims.

The CLS featuring the AMG Line Exterior signals its sportiness even more clearly: AMG styling components are fitted in this version. These include an AMG-specific front apron with A-wing in black, a front splitter in silver chrome, sporty, distinctive air intakes with vertical bars, and aerodynamically shaped flics in high-gloss black. Other features include AMG sill trim on the side and AMG spoiler lip on the boot lid. In combination with AMG Line Exterior, two new colours can be selected for the 20-inch, high-gloss AMG multi-spoke light-alloy wheels in bi-colour look: tremolite grey or high-gloss black.

All models with AVANTGARDE Exterior or AMG Line Exterior receive a new radiator grille. Special features of this grille are the Mercedes-Benz pattern (a three-dimensional star pattern with chrome-gloss surfaces), a louvre in high-gloss black with chrome inlay and the integrated Mercedes star. The new paint colour for the CLS is spectral blue metallic.

In addition to the more distinctive exterior, the interior has also been enhanced. Two new trim finishes, including for the centre console, are available in open-pore brown walnut and high-gloss grey wood. The range of leather seat upholstery has also been expanded: neva grey/magma grey and sienna brown/black are the two new colour combinations here.

As part of the update, the CLS receives a redesigned multifunction steering wheel in nappa leather. The spokes are finished in high-gloss black with silver chrome edging, the paddle shifters in silver chrome. With the Driving Assistance Package (optional extra), the driver is supported by Active Distance Assist DISTRONIC and Active Steering Assist. Here, the steering wheel uses the capacitive principle to detect the driver’s hands. There is a two-zone sensor pad in the steering wheel rim. The sensors on the front and reverse sides of the rim register whether the driver’s hands are on the wheel. No steering movement is now required to inform the assistance systems that the driver is in control. This enhances user-friendliness when driving in semi-automated mode.

Greater individualisation possible with designo
The 250 experts at Mercedes-Benz designo in Sindelfingen can transform the CLS into a highly personal one-off if desired. The selection has also been increased for these special options: new, for example, are the special paint finishes in jupiter red, cashmere white magno or emerald green. These are available for all equipment versions.

The two-tone designo interior with exclusive nappa leather is available in five new combinations: classic red/black, saddle brown/black, truffle brown/black, deep white/black and yacht blue/black.

Sharpened in many details: Mercedes-AMG CLS 53 4MATIC+
Mercedes-AMG has updated the sporty flagship model of this series with numerous visual highlights and attractive equipment packages. The standard innovations on the CLS 53 4MATIC+ include the redesigned front end with the sporty AMG bumper in A-wing form with black flics and visible air curtains, as well as the AMG signature grille with vertical bars. The surrounds of the windscreen frames are made of polished aluminium or, in combination with the Night Package, in high-gloss black. The exterior mirrors are painted in the vehicle colour. Here, too, models with the AMG Night Package or AMG Exterior II Carbon Package are an exception: here the mirrors are finished in high-gloss black or have a housing made of carbon fibre. Mercedes-AMG drivers also steer the CLS with the latest-generation steering wheel, here in nappa leather finish and with the familiar AMG steering wheel buttons with display.

In terms of optional extras, two new packages make the coupé even sportier: the AMG Night Package II, available in combination with the AMG Night Package, includes the radiator grille, Mercedes star at the rear and typography in darkened chrome.

The AMG DYNAMIC PLUS Package enhances dynamics in several respects. The red-painted brake callipers with black AMG lettering add a visual highlight to the exterior. In the interior, the AMG Performance steering wheel in nappa leather/DINAMICA microfibre or alternatively in nappa leather rounds off the package with sporty elegance. Racetrack-fit performance with a sporty emphasis can be experienced in the additional “RACE” driving mode with the Drift Mode.

The CLS 53 4MATIC+ combines a powerful 320 kW (435 hp) output with sporty style and high efficiency. The integrated starter-generator briefly delivers an additional 16 kW of power and 250 Nm of torque and supplies the 48-volt on-board electrical system. It unites the starter and alternator in one electric motor and is integrated between the engine and transmission. This, as well as the intelligent turbocharging with electric auxiliary compressor (eZV) and exhaust gas turbocharger, pursue the same goal: to offer hallmark AMG performance and driving dynamics, while at the same time reducing fuel consumption and emissions. The extremely fast-shifting AMG SPEEDSHIFT TCT 9G transmission, the fully variable AMG Performance 4MATIC+ all-wheel drive and the AMG RIDE CONTROL+ air suspension also contribute to the dynamic driving experience.

Performance for individualists: the Limited Edition model from Mercedes-AMG
Only 300 units of the new Limited Edition are planned. For the paintwork, the customer can choose between cashmere white magno and selenite grey magno. There are racing stripes above the side sills. On the Edition model in cashmere white magno, these are in dark grey metallic gloss. If the CLS is painted in selenite grey magno, the stripes are black non-metallic gloss. Both stripe variants are highlighted in red non-metallic gloss.

20-inch AMG 5-twin-spoke light-alloy wheels, painted black and with a high-sheen rim flange, are also standard, as are the AMG Night Package and the AMG Night Package II (see above for details). With the AMG Night Package, selected exterior elements are finished in high-gloss black. These include the front splitter of the AMG front apron, the housings of the exterior mirrors and the surrounds of the side windows. Aft of the B-pillar, this CLS has heat-insulating, dark-tinted glass.

The AMG DYNAMIC PLUS Package (see above for included equipment) also comes as standard with this Edition model. When the front doors are opened, LED technology is used to project the AMG emblem onto the ground next to the vehicle in a 3D look.

Interior features of the sporty special model: two-tone AMG nappa leather in black/silver grey pearl, AMG carbon-fibre trim, steering wheel in nappa leather and DINAMICA with red contrasting topstitching as well as AMG steering wheel buttons and the AMG lettering on the centre console.

The CLS powertrains: powerful and efficient
As an alternative to the familiar petrol models, the CLS 300 d 4MATIC launched in March 2021 (combined fuel consumption 5.8-5.5 l/100 km; combined COemissions 153-144 g/km)[2] has a mild hybrid powertrain. Its four-cylinder diesel engine (OM 654 M) comes with an integrated second-generation starter-generator and 48-volt electrical system. The output is 195 kW plus 15 kW electric boost. Energy recovery and the possibility to “glide” with the engine switched off make this powertrain exceptionally efficient. Electrification also allows the use of an electric refrigerant compressor for the air conditioning. Key features at a glance:

  • A new crankshaft increases the stroke to 94 mm and the displacement to 1993 cc (previously 92.3 and 1950 respectively).
  • The injection pressure increases to 2700 bar (instead of 2500).
  • Particularly fast response times and uniform power delivery thanks to two water-cooled turbochargers, both now featuring variable turbine geometry.
  • A sodium-filled cooling duct in each of the steel pistons. This helps to dissipate temperature peaks in the combustion cavity of the pistons.
  • Electric refrigerant compressor
  • This most powerful of the four-cylinder diesel engines also takes things one step further in terms of exhaust gas aftertreatment. Its components include:
  • A close-coupled NOx storage catalytic converter for reducing nitrogen oxides
  • A DPF (diesel particulate filter with special coating for reducing the amount of nitrogen oxides)
  • An SCR catalyst (selective catalytic reduction; with metered injected quantity of AdBlue) as well as
  • An additional SCR catalyst in the underbody of the vehicle with separately metered injected quantity of AdBlue

Still part of the range is the four-cylinder diesel without ISG in the CLS 220 d (combined fuel consumption 5.1-4.8 l/100 km; combined CO2 emissions 135-128 g/km)[3].

The diesel models at a glance:

CLS 220 d CLS 300 d 4MATIC CLS 400 d 4MATIC
Engine Model series OM 654 OM 654 M OM 656
Cylinders Arrangement/number inline/4 inline/4 inline/6
Displacement cc 1950 1993 2925
Output kW/hp 143/194 195/265 243/330
at rpm 3800 4200 3600-4200
Additional output from ISG[4] kW/hp 15/20
Peak torque Nm 400 550 700
at rpm 1600-2800 1800-2200 1200-3200
Add. torque ISG4 Nm 200
Combined fuel consumption3

acc. to NEDC

l/100 km 5.1-4.8 5.8-5.5 6.5-6.2
Combined CO2 emissions3

acc. to NEDC

g/km 135-128 153-144 172-163
Acceleration 0-100 km/h s 7.5 6.4 5.2
Top speed km/h 235 250 250

Fuel consumption acc. to WLTP:

CLS 220 d CLS 300 d CLS 400 d 4MATIC
Combined fuel consumption[5] WLTP l/100 km 6.4-5.5 6.6-5.8 7.4-6.7
Combined CO2 emissions5 acc. to WLTP g/km 167-143 172-153 194-175

The petrol models at a glance:

Engine Model series M 264 M 256 M 256
Cylinders Arrangement/number inline/4 inline/6 inline/6
Displacement cc 1991 2999 2999
Output kW/hp 220/299 270/367 320/435
at rpm 5800-6100 5500-6100 5500-6100
Additional output from ISG kW/hp 16/22 16/22
Peak torque Nm 400 500 520
at rpm 3000-4000 1600-4000 1800-5800
Add. torque ISG Nm 250 250
Combined fuel consumption[6]

acc. to NEDC

l/100 km 7.3-7.0 8.5-8.1 9.0-8.7
Combined CO2 emissions6

acc. to NEDC

g/km 168-161 195-185 206-199
Acceleration 0-100 km/h s 6.1 4.8 4.5
Top speed km/h 250 250 250[7]

Fuel consumption acc. to WLTP:

Combined fuel consumption.[8] WLTP l/100 km 8.6-7.5 9.2-8.3 9.6-9.2
Combined CO2 emissions8 acc. to WLTP g/km 196-171 209-189 219-209

What has happened so far: extensive technology update in summer 2020
The refresh of the CLS in summer 2020 focused on updating the driving assistance systems to provide cooperative support for the driver. This results in an especially high level of active safety.

Active Brake Assist
The CLS features Active Brake Assist as standard, which can prevent a collision or reduce its severity in many situations with autonomous braking. The system is also able to brake for stationary vehicles and crossing pedestrians at typical city speeds and even to prevent collisions, depending on the situation. As part of the Driving Assistance Package, this is also possible when making a turn across the oncoming lane.

Active Speed Limit Assist
A range of further Intelligent Drive functions can optionally be added to the Driving Assistance Package. This includes Active Speed Limit Assist, which reacts to speed limit changes using map data as well as input from Traffic Sign Assist. Route-based speed adjustment ahead of detected curves, roundabouts, toll booths,
T-junctions as well as before turning/exiting motorways/highways is also included. If the driver switches on Active Distance Assist DISTRONIC with distance-based speed adaptation, the CLS can even respond to data from Live Traffic Information.

Active Stop-and-Go Assist
With the Driving Assistance Package Plus, Active Stop-and-Go Assist can take over the task of keeping in lane and maintaining the distance up to approx. 60 km/h to a large extent and with high availability in motorway traffic jams when lane markings are detected. The vehicle can restart automatically up to one minute after coming to a stop. Active Steering Assist can support the driver on multi-lane roads with the emergency corridor function, which prompts the vehicle to stay off-centre in the lane. On motorways, at speeds under 60 km/h, the vehicle refers to detected lane markings and applies swarm intelligence to take its bearings from vehicles in the surrounding area.

Automatic parking and unparking
Active Parking Assist with PARKTRONIC and 360° camera makes it possible to enter and leave parking spaces automatically. The system facilitates the search for and selection of a parking space as well as entering and leaving (if the vehicle was parked automatically) parallel and end-on parking spaces or garages. The CLS is now also able to recognise and use parking spaces that are, for example, only marked as areas of larger spaces. The 360° camera transmits an even more realistic image to the media display, which includes an expanded side view. When leaving a parking space, the system is able to warn of traffic crossing behind the vehicle and can apply the brakes in case of doubt.

MBUX (Mercedes-Benz User Experience)
The infotainment system MBUX (Mercedes-Benz User Experience) was also significantly upgraded in the CLS in 2020. As standard, the CLS has two large 10.25 inch/26 cm screens arranged side by side for a widescreen look. Two 12.3-inch/31.2 cm screens are optionally available. The information for the driver and central display is easy to read on the large, high-resolution screens. The optional MBUX Interior Assist also allows intuitive operation of various comfort and MBUX functions by movement recognition.

Unique to MBUX is its ability to learn thanks to artificial intelligence. With its predictive functions, MBUX anticipates what the user would like next, for example. For instance, anyone who often phones a specific person on Tuesdays during the journey home will receive their telephone number as a suggestion in the display on this day of the week. Other highlights include touchscreen control of the media display as standard and the use of augmented reality technology for the navigation display when the navigation function is active.

ENERGIZING Comfort networks various comfort systems in the vehicle and uses lighting and music moods as well as various massage programs for a wide variety of well-being programs. ENERGIZING COACH debuted in the CLS in summer 2020. This function is based on an intelligent algorithm and recommends one or other of the programs depending on the situation and the individual concerned. If a Garmin® wearable is integrated, personal values such as stress level or quality of sleep optimise the accuracy of the recommendation. The aim is to ensure that the driver feels well and relaxed even during demanding or monotonous journeys.

Trendsetter in the coupé segment for three generations

The heritage of the modernised CLS

In 2003, Mercedes-Benz created a new vehicle category with the Vision CLS study, which for the first time combined the elegance and dynamism of a coupé with the comfort and functionality of a saloon. Customers were thrilled, competitors amazed: for years the CLS remained the only four-door coupé in its class, finding more than 450,000 buyers worldwide from October 2004 to the present day.

The first sensation was unveiled at the International Motor Show in Frankfurt am Main in autumn 2003: painted in provocative and stylish red, Mercedes-Benz presented the Vision CLS study as a “coupé for connoisseurs”. Large overhangs at the front and rear gave a stretched effect, while the flat, dramatically curved roof was just as much a thoroughbred coupé feature as the frameless side windows above the high waistline. In the interior, high-grade materials and light, friendly colours created a refined ambience. A large, decorative trim area of handcrafted oak with an open-pored grain dominated the face of the instrument panel. The vehicle was powered by a V6 biturbo diesel with 195 kW (265 hp).

New avant-garde: world premiere of the CLS-Class at the 2004 Geneva Motor Show
Six months later, the time had come by Lake Geneva: the series production CLS (C 219 series) celebrated its world premiere in 2004. With its unique synthesis of coupé and saloon, it offered significant added value compared to other coupés. Mercedes-Benz once again underlined its role as a trendsetter for new automotive ideas. Comfort and space were on a par with a saloon: the four-door coupé concept also allowed rear passengers to enter and exit the car with ease. They sat on two comfortable individual seats and had plenty of room in which to move. Newly developed seats with electric adjustment as standard were available for the driver and front passenger, optionally available with active ventilation and as a dynamic multicontour seat. With up to 505 litres (according to the VDA measurement method), the new CLS-Class significantly outperformed other coupés and some saloons in terms of boot space.

The technical equipment was trend-setting: in addition to adaptive front airbags, sidebags and windowbags, the PRE-SAFE® anticipatory occupant protection system was available for the new Mercedes coupé. There was a choice of two powerful petrol engines: a newly developed V6 engine with 200 kW (272 hp) in the CLS 350, and a powerful eight-cylinder with 225 kW (306 hp) in the CLS 500. Both engines were coupled with the new 7G-TRONIC seven-speed automatic transmission as standard. In the range-topping CLS 500 model, features such as the AIRMATIC DC air suspension and THERMOTRONIC four-zone climate control offered the comfort of the S-Class segment.

The timeless beauty of the design was confirmed not only by countless design awards, but also by the readers’ vote in the German motoring magazine “Motor Klassik”: in 2009 the CLS was voted “Classic of the Future”.

Second generation of a design icon: in 2010 the new CLS stood for refined sportiness
The new CLS (internal designation C 218) continued the pioneering role of its predecessor, and at the same time presented itself at the Paris Motor Show with a completely new look in autumn 2010. The innovative front design reminiscent of the Mercedes-Benz SLS AMG immediately caught the eye. The radiator grille was not visually integrated into the bonnet, but a distinctive design feature. It accentuated the long, sporty bonnet to even better effect. The grille was dominated by the large central star, which emphasised the kinship with the brand’s other coupés and strengthened the brand identity.

The hallmark CLS silhouette with its elegantly stretched proportions was the dominant feature of the new model. The effect of the dynamic, athletic sculpturing was enhanced by a novel interplay of lines and surfaces. The descending front structural edge above the wing – called the dropping line by the designers – was a novel design feature but also a reinterpreted formal homage to the uniquely rich design heritage of historic Mercedes sports cars. A pronounced shoulder muscle above the rear axle accentuated the athletic character. The wide wheel arches suggested the powerful thighs of a big cat ready to pounce.

The second-generation CLS was the first car in the world to offer fully dynamic LED High Performance headlamps as an option, combining the fascinating, daylight-like colour impression of LED technology with the performance, functionality and energy efficiency of bi-xenon lights. In 2014 another lighting innovation followed in the shape of multibeam LED headlamps. Moreover, the CLS models were powered by completely new engines. For the market launch in January 2011, two six-cylinder models with significantly increased performance and efficiency were initially available: CLS 350 CDI BlueEFFICIENCY with 195 kW (265 hp) and CLS 350 BlueEFFICIENCY with 225 kW (306 hp), with the ECO start/stop function as standard Just two months later, the CLS 250 CDI BlueEFFICIENCY with 150 kW (204 hp) was added to the engine range. Its combined fuel consumption of 5.1 litres of diesel per 100 kilometres was outstanding in this performance class. The CLS 500 BlueEFFICIENCY with a V8 engine and 300 kW (408 hp) followed in April 2011.

Innovation from the inventor of the four-door coupé: 2012 saw the debut of the CLS Shooting Brake
From 6 October 2012, Mercedes-Benz customers were able to experience independence in its most beautiful form – the surprisingly different CLS Shooting Brake (X 218) appeared in showrooms for the first time.

Its proportions were surprising but clearly those of a coupé, creating a stance as if crouching to leap into action: long bonnet, narrow windowline with frameless side windows, the roof dynamically sloping to the rear. Only a second look revealed that Shooting Brake had five doors and “more” in terms of function. In essence it was an unprecedented form of sports car with seating for five and a large tailgate. The optional designo wood load compartment floor put extravagant icing on the cake. American cherry wood is a classic among high-grade woods, and contrasted well with the smoked oak inlays and aluminium rails. It gave the load compartment the elegance of a wooden yacht deck.

The third generation: the new CLS was a new beginning in 2018
With the third generation of the CLS (C 257), Mercedes-Benz accentuated the charisma and unique character of the trendsetter more than ever in 2018: the new model has pure CLS genes with its arching waistline, flat side window lines and sloped passenger compartment. At the same time it was another example of the logical evolution of the Sensual Purity design idiom: sharp edges and lines were significantly reduced. Despite larger exterior dimensions and larger standard wheels, the new CLS was among the aerodynamic leaders in its segment with a Cd figure of 0.26 and a frontal area (A) of 2.31 sq. m.

The luxurious interior of the CLS Coupé impressed with its clear basic lines, and echoed the sensual, flowing contours of the exterior. For a graceful overall impression, the design made a wave-like progression from the front to the rear door and opened out at the B-pillar. New highlights of the ambience lighting included the illuminated air vents reminiscent of jet aircraft turbines. For the first time, the CLS Coupé was a five-seater. When required the backrests optionally could be folded down in a 40:20:40 ratio, expanding the 520-litre luggage compartment.

The third generation of the Mercedes-Benz CLS received all-new engines, and included the three six-cylinder models CLS 350 d 4MATIC with 210 kW (286 hp) and 600 Nm, CLS 400 d 4MATIC with 250 kW (340 hp) and 700 Nm and CLS 450 4MATIC with 270 kW + 16 kW (367 hp + 22 hp) and 500 Nm + 250 Nm at market launch.

  • [1] The stated figures are the measured “NEDC CO2 figures” in accordance with Article 2 No. 1 Implementing Regulation (EU) 2017/1153. The fuel consumption figures were calculated based on these figures. The WLTP figure is relevant for assessment of motor vehicle tax in Germany.
  • [2] The stated figures are the measured “NEDC CO2 figures” in accordance with Article 2 No. 1 Implementing Regulation (EU) 2017/1153. The fuel consumption figures were calculated based on these figures. The WLTP figure is relevant for the assessment of the motor vehicle tax.
  • [3] The stated figures are the measured “NEDC CO2 figures” in accordance with Article 2 No. 1 Implementing Regulation (EU) 2017/1153. The fuel consumption figures were calculated based on these figures. The WLTP figure is relevant for assessment of motor vehicle tax in Germany.
  • [4] Integrated starter-generator:
  • [5] The figures shown are the WLTP COvalues measured according to Article 2 No. 3 Implementing Regulation (EU) 2017/1153. The fuel consumption figures were calculated based on these figures.
  • [6] The stated figures are the measured “NEDC CO2 figures” in accordance with Article 2 No. 1 Implementing Regulation (EU) 2017/1153. The fuel consumption figures were calculated based on these figures. The WLTP figure is relevant for assessment of motor vehicle tax in Germany.
  • [7] Electronically limited, with AMG Driver’s Package 270 km/h
  • [8] The figures shown are the WLTP COvalues measured according to Article 2 No. 3 Implementing Regulation (EU) 2017/1153. The fuel consumption figures were calculated based on these figures.

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