Mercedes-Benz debuted its redesigned CLS four-door coupe at the Los Angeles Auto Show today, revealing a new electrified engine and a fifth seat for the high-performance sports car.
On sale next fall, the new CLS will draw its power from a new, 362-horsepower turbocharged engine – a straight six-cylinder – and a 48-volt onboard electrical system that adds another 21 horsepower from an integrated electric motor Mercedes calls EQ Boost. Using EQ Boost, the new engine delivers the performance of an eight-cylinder engine while consuming less fuel.
“This technology allows for a host of advantages you can normally only find in hybrids,” said Britta Seeger, a member of the board of management for Mercedes parent company Daimler AG.
Launched in 2005 to breathe excitement into the sedan segment, the CLS spearheaded the now-popular market for “four-door coupes” that paved the way for entrants from Audi, BMW, and other automakers. Though it’s been a strong seller for Mercedes, the CLS has fallen behind since its last redesign in 2011, ceding market share to newcomers. Even after the arrival of the new CLS next year, the rivalry is forecast to remain intense: Audi and BMW are also revealing updates to their competing models at the auto show in LA this week.
“With direct competition only stemming from the other two German luxury automakers utilizing a similar tactic of four door couple based upon a traditional midsize sedan within the lineup, this small segment is a pretty level playing field, all competitors have engine options that go from mild to wild, all-wheel drive is readily available and each hosts a bundled suite of semi-autonomous driving functions,” said Jessica Caldwell, senior analyst at Edmunds.
The original four-seater, with a sloping roofline notorious for cramping rear passengers, was revolutionary when first introduced, according to analysts. Branding the body style as a four-door coupe was “a brilliant move,” said Karl Brauer, executive publisher of Kelley Blue Book. “The CLS gave Mercedes-Benz a new take on the traditional sedan, and clearly the strategy worked, as nearly every luxury maker, and even some non-luxury brands, have followed Mercedes’ lead in offering a lower, sleeker sedan alternative beyond their traditional model lines.”