Mercedes-Benz Previews New CLS-Class Four-Door Coupe

2012 Mercedes-Benz CLS-Class

In about a month you will see the 2012 CLS in the flesh, so to speak, at the Paris Auto Show. For now, Mercedes has released some pictures, and Auto Express got a spy photo of the real thing last month, which we’ll show you after the break.

To my taste, the car is elegant and sculpted, maybe a bit too flashy from the rear, but powerful and purposeful at the front. “The new CLS points the way forward for the future perceptible design idiom of Mercedes-Benz,” explains Professor Gorden Wagener, head of M-B design.

The new car echoes the styling of the so-called Shooting Break that we wrote about in April when it appeared at the Beijing Auto Show. And in fact, AutoWeek reports that a Shooting Break is “also likely to follow in production, as it already has a code name.”

2012 Mercedes-Benz CLS-Class from the rearMercedes is crowing about the car’s full-LED headlamps, which feature 71 individual diodes, and there are LED running lamps and taillamps—all of which could make the car look a bit like a Christmas tree—and what happens when one or more go out and your “design icon” resembles an old, unattended movie marquee?

Okay, I’m being picky. What the car has done with its sheet metal is the important thing. The first CLS in 2003 made a styling statement that hit several makers hard, to the point where the Passat CC, for example, is a clear knock-off (which looks good, however). Even the BMW Gran Coupe is going this route, though the Merc, so far, looks a lot better.

2012 Mercedes-Benz CLS-Class spy shotThe spy shot (right) of the actual car confirms that it is better looking in real life than in the rendered photos that Benz has made available. The interior is beautiful without being too flashy—“refined,” says the press release—with a variety of materials used.

Mechanically, there are no details from the factory as yet, though other sources say the CLS may get the S400 BlueHybrid engine as well as the twin-turbo 4.6-liter V8 (435 hp) and a 5.5-liter (563 hp) in the AMG version, which will no doubt appear. There may also be a V6 diesel and, for CAFE purposes, ”a four-cylinder oil-burner” with 204 hp. Yup, we can expect to see a lot of those in the U.S.

You can, however, expect to see the new CLS in U.S. dealerships by the middle of next year. And we’ll tell you more about it when we cover the Paris Motor Show.

Do you think Mercedes has improved on the original CLS design—or made it grandiose?

—jgoods

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