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Mercedes-Benz CLS Class

Broadcast date : 18th April 2004

A 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.

It 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 Jaguar S-Type

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.

Power-wise, 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 Mercedes-Benz right now is that it won't. But there are already whispers that it will make an appearance here, probably in early 2005.

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