The third generation 2018 Mercedes CLS is now upon us, aiming to reclaim top spot in the exec 4-door coupe class

Fifteen years on from the original’s debut Mercedes’ third generation CLS four-door saloon-coupe will go on sale in 2018. Launched at the LA Auto Show the new model will initially be available with three in-line six-cylinder engines – a diesel and two petrol engines one of which featuring Mercedes’ EQ Boost integrated starter/generator technology. An AMG CLS63 is expected to follow, so too an estate variant. 

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New Mercedes CLS engines

Entry point to CLS ownership will be the 350d 4 MATIC (all CLS will be four-wheel drive), with its 3.0-litre in-line six diesel producing 210kW and 600Nm of torque and driving through Mercedes’ nine-speed automatic gearbox. A more powerful 400d produces 250kWand 600Nm

The CLS 450’s petrol engine, producing 270kW and 535Nm of torque, is boosted by an electric motor generating 16kW and an additional 250Nm – giving the most potent CLS a 0-100km/h time of 4.8-secs (the 350d and 400d reach the benchmark sprint in 5.7 and 5.0-sec dead respectively). Mercedes claims the CLS 400 has the power of a V8 with the efficiency of a smaller capacity engine.

The EQ Boost system fitted to the CLS 400 not only provides a performance advantage by adding to the internal combustion engine’s power and torque output during acceleration, but also allows the engine to run in ‘sailing’ mode and will charge the batteries via energy recuperation.

Mercedes CLS chassis and suspension

Underpinning the new CLS is a four-link front and five-link rear suspension, with steel springs and passive dampers standard across the model line, with Mercedes’ air suspension and adjustable and adaptive dampers available at extra cost. 18-inch alloy wheels will be standard fitment.

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Staying true to the CLS’s distinctive design, the latest iteration retains its low roofline, arching waistline and hunched rear arches, flat-sided windows and a forward slanting nose. There’s a new wider grille and front LED headlamps (the two-section rear lamps feature the same technology). As with previous CLS models, the latest car boasts an impressive drag figure of just 0.26.

Inside the new CLS is a mix of current E Class and new S Class design and equipment. There’s a 12.3-inch digital display and for the first time the CLS is able to seat three passengers in the rear.

As the latest addition to Mercedes’ saloon car fleet, the new CLS benefits from a great deal of the latest technology introduced with the new S Class, including Active Brake and Lane Keeping Assist, Attention Assist, Speed Limit Assist and the latest occupant protection system Pre-Safe, which also includes Pre-Safe Sound, which prepares passengers hearing for the anticipated noise of an accident. Multibeam LED headlamps are also fitted.