2019 Mercedes-Benz CLS-Class Preview

Christian Wardlaw | Dec 01, 2017
  • Completely redesigned 4-door “coupe” now seats five people
  • CLS450 models equipped with mild hybrid electrified drivetrain
  • More driver assistance and safety systems than ever
  • Next-generation Comand infotainment technology
  • On sale in the fall of 2018


More than 15 years ago, Mercedes-Benz introduced the first CLS-Class, and in so doing arguably created what has become known as the 4-door coupe. Before then, coupes had two doors. The CLS, with its rakish roofline, frameless door glass, and devastatingly sexy styling changed that previously clear definition.

Now, at the 2017 Los Angeles Auto Show, Mercedes has introduced the third generation of the CLS-Class. It’s still great looking. It still has four doors. And yes, Mercedes still calls it a coupe.

The car was shown in CLS450 and CLS450 4Matic models, but you can bet that more powerful variants, including some wearing AMG nomenclature, are also on the way.

Exterior Features

With this car, Mercedes says that it evolves its “Sensual Purity” design language. Clean and minimalistic, the company is aiming to endow its future products with a “timeless aura.”

2019 Mercedes-Benz CLS450 front quarter right photo For the CLS, this means front styling focused on new diamond-studded grille, which widens at the base similar to the AMG GT. Forward leaning, the front end sweeps around the sides of the car into a high, arcing waistline and a tapered greenhouse with frameless door glass, traits that have characterized the CLS-Class from the start.

Standard equipment includes AMG body styling, LED headlights and taillights with a crystalline appearance, and 19-inch aluminum wheels.

Interior Features

Mercedes-Benz characterizes the new CLS’s interior as sensual and flowing, and promises high-grade materials. The car offers 5-passenger seating for the first time, along with redesigned leather seats that Mercedes says appear to be hand-finished. Piping adds an extra level of luxury, and diamond-stitched Nappa leather is available. The rear seat folds down in a useful 40/20/40 split design.

Ambient lighting offers 64 color choices, and illuminates the air vents in the new CLS, which the company says are reminiscent of jet aircraft turbines. When adjusting the climate system temperature, the ambient lighting briefly changes to blue or red depending on whether you’re making the environment cooler or warmer.

Open pore or polished wood trim gives the center console a floating appearance, according to Mercedes.

Optional Features

Among what are certain to be a multitude of exterior styling, paint color, wheel selections, and interior finishes, the new CLS is available with Ultra Wide Beam high-beam headlights. Additional options and packaging strategies will be available closer to the car’s arrival in showrooms.

Under the Hood

A new, electrified drivetrain is standard in the new 2019 Mercedes-Benz CLS-Class. The company calls its approach to light electrification EQ Boost, and it is effectively a mild hybrid setup equipping the car with a 48-volt integrated starter/generator (ISG) powered by a small battery. It is charged, so to speak, with assisting a new 3.0-liter inline 6-cylinder engine making 362 horsepower (between 5,500 rpm and 6,100 rpm) and 369 lb.-ft. (between 1,600 rpm and 4,000 rpm).

The ISG supplies an extra 21 hp and 184 lb.-ft., assisting the gasoline engine during acceleration, recuperating energy to keep the battery charged, and facilitating a fuel-saving “sailing” feature that shuts the engine off while coasting in order to maximize gas mileage. With this new EQ Boost approach, Mercedes promises the power of a V8 engine but with dramatically better efficiency.

As an option, buyers can fit the car with an improved Air Body Control suspension, which is both adaptive and adjustable via a driving mode selector.


Standard safety features for the 2019 CLS-Class include active brake assist, drowsy and distracted driver monitoring, and Pre-Safe occupant protection technology.

A Driver Assistance Package is available. It includes the usual suspects, each an active system designed to take action if the driver fails to do so, and with several of them improved over previous versions of the technology.

Unusual inclusions are Evasive Steering Assist, which helps a driver to maintain control when making sudden direction changes, and Pre-Safe Impulse Side, which better protects occupants in a side-impact collision by inflating the outboard seat bolsters to move them closer to the center of the vehicle.

An upgraded adaptive cruise control system with stop-and-go capability is available, too. In the 2019 CLS-Class, it allows for stops of up to three seconds, the car automatically resuming forward movement without requiring the driver to step on the accelerator to re-engage the system.

A new Assistance Graphics menu helps the driver to understand which of the car’s myriad safety systems are engaged, and to what situations they are responding. It projects information onto the windshield via a head-up display.


The latest Comand infotainment system is aboard the new CLS-Class, including a 12.3-inch display, smartphone integration, wireless phone charging with Near Field Communications pairing, and Car-to-X communication technology. Available as an option, a 12.3-inch digital instrumentation display allows the driver to configure it to show specific data, and to choose between Classic, Sport, and Progressive themes.

New Energizing Comfort programming links the climate system, fragrance system, comfort functions, cabin lighting, and music to six different settings designed to maximize occupants’ well being. Choices include Refresh/Freshness, Warmth, Vitality, Joy, Comfort/Well-Being, and Training.

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