Mercedes CLS gets a mid-life facelift


June 26, 2014

As well as styling updates, the new CLS features a new 9-speed gearbox and adaptive LED headlights

As well as styling updates, the new CLS features a new 9-speed gearbox and adaptive LED headlights

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When Mercedes released its first CLS, people questioned the move. Who wants a four-door coupe? Despite having some doubters, it turned out to be a huge hit with style-conscious buyers, especially after the release of the second generation model in 2010. Mercedes has now revealed what the updated CLS will look like, and is packing some interesting tech into the new car, including a 9-speed automatic gearbox and tricky LED headlamps.

Being a facelift, there are some small cosmetic changes to the CLS. On the outside, the front of the car has been changed to include a "diamond grill" and larger air intakes which give the CLS a more aggressive stance. It keeps, however, the frameless windows and sloping roofline that give the car its trademark coupe profile. Inside, the changes include a freestanding 8-inch screen atop the dash and a redesigned steering wheel.

To complement the new front styling, the updated CLS will take advantage of what Mercedes is calling Multibeam LED adaptive headlights. Instead of using traditional globes, the headlight cluster is made up of 24 individual LEDs that can be individually controlled, with 255 different stages of brightness.

The (optional) lights are connected to a windscreen mounted camera, which senses oncoming traffic and is able to darken areas of the headlight beam to avoid dazzling other drivers. The camera is connected to four control units which can adjust brightness 100 times per second, to ensure the beam is always at its brightest.

Mercedes says the technology allows the main beam to be switched on permanently, without blinding other road users, thus giving the CLS driver the brightest and safest possible view of the road. The headlight beam can also swivel independently of the steering wheel, with the windscreen camera able to turn or straighten the beam before corners to give the driver the best possible view of what is coming around the bend.

On top of the new headlight design, the refreshed CLS joins Land Rover in offering a 9-speed automatic gearbox. The 9G-Tronic gearbox will be offered on the CLS 220, 250, 350 and 500 models, and is designed to provide better fuel economy on the highway, while still shifting smoothly around town.

The CLS has also had its engine lineup refreshed, with two new engines joining the range. The first new motor features in the CLS 220 Bluetec, and is a 2.1-liter diesel, making 170 hp (125 kW) and 400 Nm (295 lb.ft). The second is a 3.5-liter, twin turbocharged 6 cylinder petrol, which features in the CLS 400 and makes 333 hp (245 kW) of power and 480 Nm (354 lb.ft) of torque between 1,200 and 4,000 RPM. The range is still topped by the 5.5-liter V8 hiding under the hood of the CLS 63 AMG, which has been given a boost to 585 hp (430 kW) and 800 Nm (590 lb.ft) in AMG "S" spec.

The CLS has always been one of the better looking cars on the road, so it's no surprise that Mercedes hasn't messed with the formula for its updated model. As well as the standard four-door coupe, the Shooting Brake body style will continue to be offered.

Source: Mercedes Benz

About the Author
Scott Collie Based in Melbourne, Australia, Scott grew up with a passion for cars and a love of writing. He now combines the two by covering all things automotive for Gizmag. When he’s got a spare moment, you can usually find him freezing himself silly in search of fresh powder to ski. All articles by Scott Collie

Looks are still good, if only it was a little less pricy ...

The Skud

I wonder if the headlamp system will adapt properly to an oncoming vehicle that has its offside headlamp out because of a blown bulb, say. If it thinks that it is a motorcycle and only adapts to the nearside, it will zap the driver with full beam, just when they need to know exactly where they are in relation to this car.

Edwin Land had the idea of polarising headlamps and windshields at right-angles to each other ( Surely, if it is worth the effort to produce the headlamp system this car employs, it is worth going that little bit further to employ Land's idea. The slight loss of illumination due to the polarisation process can easily be regained by a matching slight increase in the power of the LEDs. (Seeing as reflected light is polarized, being dazzled from behind is, I assume, solved by proper choice of the headlamp orientation of the polarising film.)

It will take time for the technology to creep into all motor vehicles, but if you don't set out on the journey, you will never get to the destination. In the end, there would be no need for a dipped beam and all vehicles could have their headlamps permanently on, especially with LEDs.

Mel Tisdale
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