The new Mercedes CLS is the third generation of the large four-door coupé that fills the gap between the E and S class in a semi-sporty manner. In his position of frivolous alternative he has to avoid two kinds of formality; the civility of the E and the regentsque of the S. He does it with his chest out. In the thick wood tradition of the brand, he puts the flowers outside a little too eagerly; you can almost see his fat slip through the seams. The slightly forward-sloping headlights on either side of the grille are reminiscent of the Ford Mustang, the rear is reminiscent of the BMW 6 Grand Coupé. Better stolen well than badly found. The butt of the previous one was a disaster, a shapeless ramp with two giant LED fried eggs on corners that weren’t corners.
During the introduction, the makers give lectures. The Mrs. for Colors and Materials – they are always ladies by the way – explains the chrome accents and the new color combinations. I study the samples on her workshop wall. The CLS is available in the men’s suit shades of silver, black, dark blue, gray and white. Don’t expect happy endings like apple green, citrus yellow or baby blue. Irony does not fit the concept that dictates male seriousness. Red metallic was just possible, red leather was allowed. That’s the blood of the prey that he virtually crushes with his man-drawn and woman-chromed shark mouth.
Ahead, surrounded by cutaway engines, the engineers explain their latest finds. With electrical components, they have increased performance and reduced consumption. The technical pivot of the two three-litre turbocharged six-cylinder units is EQ Boost; a combination of starter motor and alternator plus a 48-volt on-board network. Braking and releasing the throttle regenerate energy that supplies the electrical systems with environmentally friendly energy via the battery with greater storage capacity. The electric motor used does not drive the car independently, but supports the acceleration with a hefty 250 newton meters of torque and 22 hp extra power. As a result, a six-cylinder should now perform like the eight-cylinders that are no longer there.
Mercedes also supplies the CLS with a newly developed four-cylinder petrol engine, which we can drive without knowing the still secret technical data. I’m guessing at least 300 hp, because he’s going fast. The sound doctors have coupled it with a suitable soundtrack that makes the engine blare almost like a six-cylinder at full throttle. The thrifty will not be hindered by bruised egos.
Hondsdol dance orchestra
But who buys a CLS for economy? Which CLS driver will achieve 1 to 15 with the two magical-sounding six-cylinder diesels, which they easily save? I ask the engine chief what EQ Boost yields in terms of consumption. That depends on many factors, he says. But don’t you have an austerity target, shall I continue? No answer. I’ll give that then; sir, unfortunately we have no control over the testosterone levels of our CLS bastards.
I look at those engines. I see the thousands of parts, the fruit of 130 years of cutting edge mechanical engineering. It’s been for nothing. Progress has decided; the next batch of stuffed coupé-Benzes drives electrically. The CLS is an afterplay.
You can feel it when driving. He can’t outdo himself anymore; he is already more postscript than the last Mohican. The seats are not better, the engines are not quieter. The BMW-esque seating position with the steering wheel that can be pulled far towards you is unchanged, and it drives as enchantingly relaxed as before. Despite the buttery soft chassis, he is capable of burly entertainment, but on the taut AMG version, he is too weak for the front lines.
Ongoing agenda backlogs have been skilfully eliminated. Like the E- and S-class, it has the digital widescreen with the two screens for meters and infotainment integrated in one wide picture wall. The assistance systems and the semi-autonomous steering facilities were upgraded. As usual, the car has no control over reality. After an hour of morning rush hour with the four-cylinder, equipped with the fuel-saving start-stop system, the computer notes an average consumption of 1 in 5. Does not take away that I have enjoyed the AMG. The engine, like the dance orchestra of the Titanic, anachronistic rabid once more flattening the tent. The sun descended on the horizon, the Shell of tomorrow. Time is the mother of all sports cars. He doesn’t keep up with anyone.