Set to debut at the Paris Auto Show in a month’s time, Mercedes-Benz has just released the first official photos of the 2012 CLS. The CLS not only changed the automotive landscape with it’s coupe-styled sedan form and just four seats, it changed Mercedes. The popularity of the CLS led the German luxury automaker to design all its future models taking cues from the CLS.
Debuting back in 2004, the original CLS still looks ahead of its time and so we’re not surprised to see that the second-generation car is slightly more evolutionary. Still, it seems to be setting yet another new design direction for the three pointed star, with a bold new grille adapted from the SLS supercar. It also appears to have an even more coupe-like profile with an elongated hood and shorter trunk section. Also of note is the full use of LEDs on the front of the car with 71 bulbs used for the headlights, running lights, turn signals and side market.
The interior is more familiar to the rest of the Mercedes, although we love the 3-spoke steering wheel.
No official details have been released regarding engines but we expect the 2012 CLS to use the latest powertrains from Mercedes, including an entry-level direct-injection 3.5-liter V6 with 306-hp. The CLS550 model will then work with the new twin-turbo 4.7-liter V8 with 429-hp and 516 ft-lbs of torque.
Topping off the range will be a CLS63 with a new twin-turbo 5.5-liter V8 instead of the current 6.2-liter. Power will be an impressive 536-hp and an incredible 590 ft-lbs of torque. And as exciting as that is, we expect that like the 2011 Mercedes CL, Mercededs will offer an AMG Performance Package bumping power to 563-hp and 664 ft-lbs of torque.
And along with big power increases, expect fuel economy to improve by as much as 20 percent.
We’ll bring you more details and photos in the lead up to the 2010 Paris Auto Show, plus full coverage from the show floor.
GALLERY: 2012 Mercedes-Benz CLS
Official release after the jump:
The new CLS – the new design icon from Mercedes-Benz
A generation ahead: The CLS-Class created a new vehicle category in 2003 by combining the elegance and expressiveness of a coupé with the comfort and functionality of a sedan. The CLS delighted the public, astounded the competi-tion and created a new style icon: for years the CLS has endured as the only four-door coupé in its class, and since October 2004 it has been the car of choice for approximately 170,000 buyers worldwide. “Customers all over the world benefited from our bold move to launch a completely new vehicle con-cept onto the market”, explains a delighted Dr. Joachim Schmidt, member of the board of Mercedes-Benz Cars, Sales & Marketing. “And with its exciting de-sign, the new edition of the CLS also benefits from the fact that we are a whole generation ahead of the competition with our four-door Coupé.”
Celebrating its world premiere at the Paris motor show (October 2 – 17, 2010), the 2012 CLS-Class will arrive in U.S. dealerships in mid-2011. The 2012 CLS-Class builds on the pioneering role of its predecessor with a fresh new inter-pretation. “The new CLS points the way forward for the future perceptible de-sign idiom of Mercedes-Benz”, explains Professor Gorden Wagener, head of de-sign at Mercedes-Benz. “At the same time it takes its inspiration from the great tradition of stylish, refined sportiness which has always been a feature of Mercedes coupés.”
Exterior: classic Coupé styling with distinctive front
The proportions remain as spectacular as ever: long hood, tightly-styled frame-less side windows and a dynamic roof sweeping back at an angle towards the rear. The four-door Coupé from Mercedes-Benz immediately made its mark in 2003 as a new style icon. Though the proportions are the same, the second generation of this design trendsetter has a completely new look.
What immediately strikes the eye is the innovative front design, which is remi-niscent of the Mercedes-Benz SLS AMG. Visually, the radiator grille is not inte-grated into the hood but formed separately. This further highlights the long, sporty hood. The grille is dominated by the large central star, which unites the car with other Mercedes-Benz coupés and also enhances brand identity. The large, elongated dark air inlets with black grilles also add to the vehicle’s ath-letic appearance.
Design brings high-tech features to life
Another distinguishing feature comes in the form of the full LED headlamps, which are the world’s first to offer all of the dynamic light functions using LED technology. This innovation boasts an impressive design – inside they are di-vided into three arrow-shaped layers from top to bottom: the upper layer con-tains an LED indicator, beneath which is a striking LED side light offers LED low beam functions. The side light can also be seen when the high beam is acti-vated, thereby creating a unique night-time design. The lowest level of the headlamp houses the main beam and nightview functions. A total of 71 LED’s provide an unmistakable appearance as well as a significantly enhanced view of the road compared with previous systems.
The typical CLS outline, with its elegantly long proportions, is the dominating attribute of the new model. The effect of the dynamic, athletic form has been enhanced with a new interplay of lines and surfaces. A unique “dropping line”, which begins above the front wheel-wells and slopes downward towards the rear, represents a new interpretation of a renowned design hallmark of his-toric Mercedes sports cars. A distinctive and muscular sports car-like shoulder line above the rear axle highlights the athletic character of the 2012 CLS. The flared wheel arches resemble the powerful stance of a predator waiting to pounce. The side profile is rounded off with wide wrap-around tail lights featuring LED technology — a linking element to the rear of the vehicle. The shape is empha-sized by the broad shoulder line, which is clearly visible from behind and sup-ports the flat roof. A wide metal insert adds a further visual highlight at the rear.
The interior: design brings quality to life
The interior of the 2012 CLS-Class is also distinguished by a timeless design which combines discreet elegance with innovative details and handcrafted per-fection. The eye-catching cockpit features a wrap-around dashboard sweeping from the driver’s door over the instrument panel support and across to the front passenger door. The central display has also been integrated seamlessly into the upper part of the instrument panel.
The CLS also lives up to its role as a design icon thanks to the innovative nature of the materials used, including a mixture of satin and high-gloss finishes used on the metal surfaces. Highlights also include matte galvanized air vents which ideally compliment a high-gloss-trimmed analogue clock.
Handcrafted perfection is reflected in details such as the stitched seat covers and dashboard. The individual parts of the leather dashboard are sewn to-gether by hand in a process which takes several hours, after which they are fit-ted and upholstered with high-quality padding. Prior to this process, the leather is also heated to preshrink it, so that it will retain its shape even after extreme exposure to direct sunlight.
The particularly exclusive 1.6-millimeter thick semi-aniline premium leather meets the highest standards of both look and feel. The natural pore structure remains intact thanks to a light pigmentation, and the leather has an especially warm and soft feel to it. Premium leather requires a very precise manual selection process and therefore a high amount of untreated leather.
The refined interior of the CLS is further reflected in the generous use of high-quality trim elements, located on the instrument panels, center console and door linings. Customers can choose between high-gloss brown burl walnut or high-gloss black ash. The wood has been perfectly fitted around difficult con-tours for a masterful handcrafted finish, and the wood trim has been matched according to grain as part of a sophisticated selection process to create a con-sistent overall impression.
For an even more progressive look, black piano lacquer or carbon fiber trim elements are also available. Handcrafted as well, up to seven layers are applied and polished for the piano lacquer trim until the high-gloss finish is achieved.