by Adrian-Liviu Dorofte

SPY: Full insight into next generation Mercedes-Benz CLS (C 257) - Coming mid-December with brand new design philosophy

Things are about to go dramatic when Mercedes-Benz finally takes the veils off its brand new CLS 4-door coupe in mid-December this year. Programmed for the official world premiere in January 2018 at NAIAS in Detroit, the C 257 generation of the CLS will be a frontrunner in many fields. Bearing the "S" letter in its title means the four-door coupe must be capable of impressing the S-Class audience with refinement and style while also keeping an accessible status and reducing the gap to the E-Class (W 213), which serves as a platform donor.

The decision to not rename the car into CLE came as a matter of customer perception and model renowness. Holding on to the famous CLS nameplate was always the safest choice and now, with the third generation, Mercedes-Benz is set to launch a daring, powerful contender into the exclusive market of luxury four-door coupes. After the C 218 model didn't live up to expectations, the new CLS (C 257) will have a challenging task.

The strategy which seems to have been applied, at least styling wise, is going back to the roots. Aesthetically, the car will be on a high with a very elegant and puristic silhouette. The new CLS will herald the advent of a new design philosophy for Mercedes-Benz, sort of a Sensual Purity 2.0. As latest spy photos can demonstrate, the upcoming CLS will have a bold and very neat design, with just the right amount of creases. The rakish roofline seems to hold a strong reminiscence to the first generation CLS (C 219) and the criticized Ponton crease is forever gone. The key visuals of the front end are the inverted Diamond grille and the slim headlights featuring the latest technology in lighting.

Talking about technology, the new CLS is alleged to receive the MULTIBEAM LED system found in the new S-Class, that features 256 independently controllable LED units per headlight. Moreso, the high beam could feature a powerful laser projector for the first time in a Mercedes-Benz. The taillights could receive OLED technology, as seen in the new Mercedes-Benz S-Class Coupe and Cabriolet models (BR217).

The interior of the new CLS will be shared with the new E-Class Coupe (C 238), but it will feature some distinct characteristics, such as the revised door panels and the illuminated air vents (as in the Concept S-Class Coupe). You can also expect new and sensational colour combos as well as new, textured materials and trims. The Widescreen Cockpit is rumored to offer touch-sensitive capacity, although the new COMAND Online infotainment system will also be operated through the Touch Control buttons on the new steering wheel types (taken from the new S-Class models) and the new touchpad, which does away with the rotary controller. In order to make room for the Mercedes-AMG X 290 project and appeal to a broader client mass, the interior will offer 5 seats and not just 4 as in the case of the current model generation C 218.

The C 257 is based on the MRA platform that also underpins the E-Class family. Some fine tuning procedure have been applied to the suspension and road behaviour, in order to sharpen the dynamics of the new CLS and clearly set it apart from the E-Class.

The powertrain of the new CLS will come courtesy of a list of brand new petrol and diesel engines. The most important of them are the new OM656 inline-six (I6) diesel engines in the CLS 350 d and CLS 400 d, in two output stages: 286 hp and 340 hp. Another addition to the range will be the new CLS 350, powered by the M264 inline-four (I4) petrol which benefits from a 48-volt integrated starter alternator (ISG) to deliver up to 300 hp. Also expected to debut is the new CLS 400 equipped with M256 petrol straight-six (I6) powerplant, which produces 367 hp and an additional 21 hp from the electric motor. The range-topping CLS 500 model will be discontinued, but it will somehow be replaced by the all new Mercedes-AMG CLS 53 4MATIC, which is about to pack the M256 engine in its 435 hp version plus the extra 21 hp from the ISG unit.

In the end, some pretty disturbing news for some. Due to the fact that Mercedes-AMG will launch its X 290 performance four-door coupe next year, the CLS 63 version will most likely be axed. Following sluggish sales and a poorly convincing public receival, it has already been confirmed that the current CLS Shooting Brake (X 218) will not be cherished with a successor.

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