My statement “BMW is the new Mercedes” may have ruffled the most feathers, but the second thing that gets thrown in my face is: “what then has Mercedes become?” I’m sorry if the forum fanboys can’t adjust to the new normal that is a softer, more civilized, more luxurious BMW that puts comfort over balls-out performance. Sometimes you just have to let the ostrich keep its head in the hole. If you think the M6 is the best thing since sliced bread, read no further. This isn’t about BMW, this is about the German luxury company. What of them? To find out we were tossed the keys to a six-figure beast for a week.
I appreciate the novelty of a new design as much as the next guy, but have never understood the four-door-coupé. I mean, aren’t these terms mutually exclusive? A coupé can’t have four doors and a car with four doors can’t be a coupé? Mercedes started this conundrum with the CLS back in 2004, and then Volkswagen decided to jump on the bandwagon to bolster Passat sales with the CC in 2008. It was only a matter of time before VAG decided to compete with the CLS head on with the A7. After all, Audi has had model envy for years, and if they are to stay on track with world domination, they need to attack the mainline Germans at every body style. Not one to rest on laurels, Mercedes has redesigned the CLS for 2011. Michael Karesh wrangled an A7 out of Audi back in July, and Mercedes let me take theirs for a week. Let’s see if the CLS has what it takes to reign supreme in this extremely small niche.
Ever since Mercedes lured its competitors into the “four door coupe” segment created by its 2004 CLS, we’ve been waiting for the next fad segment to mangle the definition of the word “coupe” beyond recognition. And here it is: a forthcoming “five-door coupe” that is essentially a wagon version of the CLS. This near-production mule looks remarkably like the concept version, in other words, fantastic. On the other hand, the idea of buying a more-practical version of a less-practical version of an E-Class still doesn’t compute… but then you can’t underestimate the power of fads in the luxury car game. Stand by for competing models from Audi and BMW, not to mention the inevitable six, seven, and eight-door coupes. [via AM unds S]
Thought the idea of a four-door coupe was confusing? How about a five-door coupe? Or, is that a four-door shooting break? While the debate rages on, Mercedes has announced that it will produce a wagon version of its CLS four-door coupe, because, as the video above states
Mercedes is committed to the development of the coupe.
To develop the coupe you must destroy the coupe… or at least the significance of the word “coupe.” By that measure, Mercedes has done quite nicely with this car, and it doesn’t look half bad either. We’re just starting to get a little worried about where all this coupe “development” is going to end up.
With the debut of Audi’s A7 Sportback, and a BMW four-door GranCoupe coming in 2012, it’s clear that the four-door coupe segment is here to stay. At least in Europe. This year Mercedes is coming back into the segment swinging, with an updated CLS shown here in the first leaked official images [via Autocar]. But will the four-door coupes ever make serious headway in the US market? In the last 12 months, the CLS has sold fewer than 2,000 examples in the US market. VW’s Passat CC on the other hand has sold 29,114 units in the last 12 months, more than double the volume of the regular Passat. What does this say about four-door coupes in the US market? Probably that their sales depend heavily on the appeal of their sedan versions: Mercedes sedans have become handsome enough to make the CLS look overstyled, while the CC offers much-needed visual flair to the otherwise-anodyne Passat. But will the segment grow as BMW and Audi wade in?
With Audi’s A7 four-door coupe making waves at its release yesterday, the segment-defining Mercedes CLS just had to remind the world that its successor is on the way. Accordingly, these photos of the 2012 CLS have hit Autoexpress, granting the internet its first look at the redesigned not-quite-coupe. And though there’s definitely some Audi-inspired headlight gizmology going on with the new CLS, the overall design doesn’t seem to pop quite as dramatically as the A7. Perhaps it’s because the E-Class is already a quite handsome sedan (especially by recent M-B standards), or maybe Mercedes is saving the visual drama for a planned five-door coupe-wagon version. Either way, it’s difficult to see the CLS dominating the segment it invented going forward.
Having a hard time understanding the stream of inexplicable niche products coming out of the German automakers recently? Mercedes isn’t about to make things any easier. According to the latest print edition of Auto Motor und Sport, Mercedes has fallen so far down the segment-busting rabbit hole, it’s planning a “Shooting Brake” wagon version of its already-confusing four-door coupe, the CLS. Intended, of course, to compete with the BMW 5GT and Audi A7. Look for a concept inspired by this 2008 ConceptFascination study to debut at this fall’s Paris Auto Show. Then expect Audi and BMW’s designers to drop even more acid and talk their bosses into producing a landaulet-roofed, seven-door, MPV-coupe. You know, just to see if Mercedes makes one too.