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2009 Mercedes-Benz CLS-Class Preview

2009 Mercedes-Benz CLS-Class Preview

By Jeff Youngs, December 31, 2008
Critical Knowledge:
  • Freshened exterior look

  • Redesigned larger exterior mirrors

  • New 18-inch alloy wheels

  • Sportier 3-spoke steering wheel

  • New gauges in white with silver backgrounds

  • Bluetooth integrated into the COMAND (COckpit MANagement and Data) infotainment system

  • North American sales start in Spring 2008
Introduction
The CLS-Class debuted in the 2006 model year. An all-new design, the vehicle was based on the Mercedes-Benz E-Class chassis, but with a longer and sleeker body. Style took precedence over function, so the incrementally larger CLS-Class actually offers less interior room than its sibling E-Class. Avoiding the dilemma, Mercedes-Benz took the opportunity to market the CLS as the world's first 4-door coup_. Its success spawned a trend of other 4-door coup_s that include the new Volkswagen Passat CC and even the BMW X6. While the CLS-Class is offered in the European market with a large choice of engines, the North American market is presented with two strong 8-cylinder powerplants. For the 2009 model year, Mercedes made minor cosmetic changes to the interior and exterior, and updated the vehicle's technology.

Design
Complementing the sleek nose of the 2009 Mercedes-Benz CLS-Class is a new, and more dramatic, 2-bar grille that replaces the original 4-bar grille. The mesh behind the grille, traditionally finished in black, is now Atlas Grey. The sides of the CLS sport larger exterior mirrors with integrated arrow-shaped turn signals. The rear of the vehicle has been fitted with a new bumper, dual trapezoidal exhaust pipes, and arrow-shaped LED taillights. New dual-spoke 18-inch alloy wheels complete the exterior upgrades. The interior features a sportier 3-spoke steering wheel in front of new white-on-silver instrument gauges. The COMAND infotainment system now incorporates Bluetooth for hands-free cell phone and audio operation, and a 6-disc CD "stacker" unit.

Hardware
Two different Mercedes-Benz CLS-Class models have been announced for the 2009 model year. Both models feature standard rear-wheel drive and 8-cylinder powerplants. The CLS550 features a 5.5-liter V-8 engine rated at 382 hp and 391 lb.-ft. of torque. The powerful CLS63 AMG is fitted with an AMG-designed 6.2-liter V-8 engine that produces 507 hp and 465 lb.-ft. of torque. Both engines are mated to a 7-speed automatic transmission. In the CLS63 AMG, the transmission is an AMG Speedshift that may be shifted manually by either a conventional lever or via Formula 1-style shift paddles on the AMG sport steering wheel.
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