The covers are off the second generation four-door coupe, the Mercedes-Benz CLS, which was unveiled last week and is still on display at the Paris Motor Show. Slated for entry into the European market by January 2011, the new CLS will launch with two V6 models – CLS 350 BlueEFFICIENCY and CLS 350 CDI BlueEFFICIENCY.
Back in 2003, Mercedes drew mixed critical reaction for the first-generation CLS, dubbed the ‘Jag-figher’ for its swooping coupe lines. Though it was essentially an E-Class under the skin selling for a lot more money, the CLS went on to become a commercial success, selling 170,000 units worldwide in a six-year production run which started in October 2004.
Replacing a model of such overwhelming success is never easy, and Mercedes can hardly be blamed for retaining all the basic proportions of the outgoing model. As before, the CLS continues to be based on the E-Class. Suspension architecture is carried over wholesale from the W212, but a new electro-mechanical power steering system replaces the W212’s hydraulic rack.
The diesel-powered CLS 350 CDI takes its engine from the E-Class, producing 265hp @ 3,800rpm and an amazing 620Nm @ 1,600 – 2,600rpm. Meanwhile, the M276 naturally aspirated direct injection petrol engine found in the CLS 350 is all new. Though it shares the same basic dimensions as the 3,498cc M272 engine used by the E 350 CGI, most of the engine’s running gear has been thoroughly reworked to boost output from 292hp to 306hp.
Two months after its debut, a four-cylinder diesel entry-level model, the CLS 250 CDI BlueEFFICIENCY, will join the line-up. Powering the CLS 250 CDI is Merc’s highly-acclaimed 2,143cc OM651 turbodiesel engine, which produces 204hp @ 4,200rpm and 500Nm @ 1,600 – 1,800rpm. A V8-powered flagship model, the CLS 500 BlueEFFICIENCY, will make its debut in April 2011
Meanwhile, the OM651 engine has now been called up for duty in the S-Class as well, powering the S 250 CDI BlueEFFICIENCY which was also introduced in the show. Members of the Malaysian media sampled this engine some months ago in a specially arranged test drive of the C 250 CDI and were absolutely blown away by its impressive combination of performance and economy.
This marks the first ever usage of a four pot motor in a Mercedes S-Class, and the numbers suggest a competent performer. The century sprint is clocked in 8.2 seconds, while top speed is a respectable 240kph, well on par with the S 300 and S 350 petrol models. Tested in the NEDC cycle, the S 250 CDI consumes 5.7 litres/100km and emits 149 g/km of carbon dioxide.
Other notable displays at the Mercedes-Benz booth in Paris include the facelifted CL-Class coupe. We spotted a unit of the CL 63 AMG, which now features a new 5.5-litre bi-turbo V8. Displacing 5,461cc, the new M157 engine produces 544hp @ 5,500rpm and a mind-twisting 800Nm @ 2,000 – 4,500rpm. If that is deemed insufficient, an AMG Performance package offers a hike to 571hp and 900Nm. In comparison, the naturally aspirated 6.2-litre M156 V8 produced 563hp and 650Nm.
In coming years, the M157 is set to gradually replace the M156 other 63 AMG models. However, it will not be replacing the M159 used in the SLS AMG. Mercedes has decided that the engine will see the SLS through its entire model cycle. The M157 is actually based on the M278, a new 4.7-litre twin turbo direct injection engine to be used for mainstream Mercs.