Words: Calvin Chan
Published: November 30, 2017
LOS ANGELES, California - I'll admit it, when the wraps came off the third-generation CLS 450 at the Los Angeles Auto Show, I didn't have a positive response. The sharp nose, awkwardly angled headlights, and Mustang-like grill just didn't jive with me the way prior CLS coupes have. But after staring at it for a longer period of time, and appreciating the finer and more meticulous details, I'm warming up to it. Call it an acquired taste. I think the best angle is actually from the rear quarter where it shows its influence from the E and S-Class Coupes.
As the original four-door coupe, the CLS has quite the reputation to uphold. In an effort to fend off the competition, namely the BMW 6 Series Gran Coupe and Audi A7 Sportback, the CLS enters the 2019 model year with a brand new, well, everything. That includes the aforementioned sheetmetal, which nicely falls in line with the corporate styling. Also falling in line are the engine cylinders.
Under the hood of the CLS 450 is a brand new inline-six cylinder engine. Yes you heard that right. Mercedes-Benz is back to using a straight-six. Does BMW have something to be worried about? I certainly think so.
But this powertrain is a little more complicated. The inline-six produces 362 hp but also comes with EQ boost, fancy talk for a 48 volt electrical system that assists the combustion engine with some extra power (22 hp) during acceleration, or when "sailing" down the highway when the demand for power is low. Running on pure EV isn't possible, however Mercedes-Benz did go so far as to say the new six-cylinder engine delivers the "performance of an eight-cylinder with significantly lower [fuel] consumption."
The new interior takes a mix of both the E-Class and S-Class vehicles, resulting in one of the most beautifully crafted cabins in the segment: the wide dashboard with contoured ambient lighting from the E-Class, and a steering wheel design from the new S-Class. Also on a positive note is that the new CLS is now a five-seater, as opposed to a outgoing model's four-seater configuration. The rear backrests can even be folded down in a 40/20/40 configuration.
Canadian pricing has yet to be announced but expect the 2019 Mercedes-Benz CLS 450 4MATIC to go on sale in the summer of 2018.