megabuck pad in Llandudno, or the Cote d Azur perhaps,
requires a car to go with the fantastic scenery.
The Mercedes-Benz CLS, scheduled for launch in Europe in
September this year, is such a car.
is an attempt to blend the practicality of a four-door sedan
with the chic style of a coupe, which by definition is a
two-door four-seater configuration
Based on the E-Class chassis, Mercedes has incorporated its
new-generation nose and wedge tail with a dramatic sweeping
roof line extending into the tail section.
A few extra styling creases in the bodywork and a blanked-out
B pillar, or central window frame, give it the classic
pillarless coupe look that was so popular in the 1950s.
If you missed the famous three-pointed star badging, you'd be
excused for thinking that this was perhaps the latest Jaguar.
That styling line down the flanks, particularly when viewed
from the rear three quarter angle, is very reminiscent of
And there seems to be a lot more Jaguar, or British classic,
at any rate, in the cabin too.
The flowing edges in the door panels, seats and the dash
design are very removed from typically Teutonic style which
puts function well ahead of form.
The Anglophile influence is enhanced by acres of burr walnut
on the dashboard and console, and the mix of creamy
hand-stitched leather and top quality carpeting.
Of course, a modern Mercedes is also crammed with hi-tech
electronic wizardry and the CLS is no different.
On the safety front, the CLS is fitted with PRE-SAFE, a system
which automatically tightens the seat belts when sensors
indicate an accident is likely to occur.
There is also Airmatic suspension, active headlights which
follow the movement of the
steering wheel, the latest navigation technology and keyless
go door locking and ignition.
there is a choice of a 200 kiloWatt V6 or a 225 kW, five-litre
V8, both using the new Merc seven-speed automatic gearbox.
The Mercedes-Benz CLS is undeniably elegant and represents yet
another salvo in the German company's new model offensive that
has had competitors reeling in the super-luxury class, in the
past few years.
Will it be coming to South Africa? The official word from
Benz right now is that it won't. But there are
already whispers that it will make an appearance here,
probably in early 2005.