By on November 30, 2017

2019 Mercedes-Benz CLS450, Image: Daimler AG

What is it about the new crop of vehicles? It’s great that the”cheerful” phase in automotive styling is over (the demented visage of those old Mazda 3s still haunt my nightmares), but what we’re left with, at least in the passenger car segment, is enormous, angry grilles or, in the case of the 2018 Ford Mustang and next-generation Mercedes-Benz CLS, a kind of sad face.

Why the droopy eyes, Mercedes?

Whatever the reason, the automaker is bringing more than a questionable front end treatment to the table with its third-generation CLS. The sedan that started the four-door coupe craze (which then jumped ship to the SUV segment) adopts a host of changes for 2019, not the least of which is a new engine that should have both purists and futurists smiling.

All hail the inline six.

Under the CLS’s long hood rests M-B’s latest powertrain offering — a turbocharged 3.0-liter inline-six that adopts a hint of green in order to reduce fuel consumption. Featuring a 48-volt electrical system and integrated starter-generator, the mild hybrid setup also offers drivers a shot of added grunt.

2019 Mercedes-Benz CLS450, Image: Daimler AG

The gasoline engine’s potential tops out at 362 horsepower and 369 lb-ft of torque. Should a driver request extra puissance, its electrical alter ego goes to work, adding a further 21 hp and 184 lb-ft for a “short period.” Mercedes calls the engine’s electrical alter ego “EQ Boost,” claiming it assists the gas engine during acceleration and makes gas-free driving at speed (“sailing”) a possibility. It also restarts the engine when the driver releases the brake pedal at a stoplight, furthering gas mileage gains.

Sending the power to the rear (or all four) wheels is the responsibility of a nine-speed automatic transmission.

If you’re wondering what all of this electrical magic can do for the smooth six’s thirstiness, keep waiting — Mercedes hasn’t endowed the CLS450 or CLS450 4Matic with any fuel economy estimates. Rather, the automaker claims the electrified straight six offers the performance of a V8 with “significantly lower consumption.” Acceleration times, like the model’s price, will also have to wait.

Beneath the model’s “Sensual Purity” skin (characterized by sharp edges, clear contours, and reduced lines) lies more than just a fancy engine. The driver assistance package contains features too numerous to mention. Some of the features, borrowed from the new S-Class, are significantly improved, among them Active Lane Change Assist. Mercedes’ Energizing Comfort system allows drivers to program all elements of the vehicle’s creature comforts (including HVAC controls, seating position, seat and steering wheel heaters, lighting, and, yes, fragrancing) to suit their ever-changing mood.

Among other new features, the key dimension is width. The cockpit’s wavy dash design is meant to give an appearance of added breadth. The central digital display stretches to 12.3 inches, and can be coupled with a second display of the same width for a true Digital Age driving experience. Even the LED headlamps adopt an extra-wide low beam setting.

Beneath the car, an improved Air Body Control air suspension offers enhanced damping that drivers can change up at will. Surely, no driver wants road bumps perturbing their fragrance-enhanced ride, or that of their four passengers (yes, there’s a full rear bench now).

The 2019 Mercedes-Benz CLS goes on sale in late 2018.

[Images: Daimler AG]

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32 Comments on “2019 Mercedes-Benz CLS450: Put On An Unhappy Face...”

  • avatar
    S2k Chris

    I usually pride myself on my ability to ID cars, but the current crop of MBs stumps me. I can’t tell C from E, and this CLS looks identical to the welfare Benz CLA (rear end excluded). And on the inside they all look the same. Dislike.

  • avatar

    People made Cuttlefish jokes with the new Nautilus from Lincoln – but this MB is far more fish-like. This is a 1996 Ford Taurus as interpreted by the Germans.

    • 0 avatar

      I have to agree. Although I didn’t care for the first generation CLS either, and this seems to be going back to that models styling. It’s a shame, because I thought the previous generation was a looker.

  • avatar

  • avatar

    That blue interior trim lighting is a bit K-Mart special for my taste. Other than the I6, I really don’t like anything about this.

  • avatar

    CLS450 – now coming with girth, er, width!

  • avatar

    Brand appropriate powertrain.

    This will be a nice setup once it finds its way into the C-class 2-door.

  • avatar

    The CLS has been hideous since day one, and has never gotten better. The shape of the greenhouse, the dive of the trunk and hood line. Seriously it looks like a proper car shape that was then douced in acid.

    I hate these things.

  • avatar

    EQ Boost?

    “Dr. Zetsche… a Ford lawyer on line 1…”

  • avatar

    All designers are following the “Everybody must get stoned” philosophy. I deem all vehicles must follow MB’s lit tristar so we know what we are looking at.

  • avatar
    Null Set

    ganz panzerhaft

  • avatar

    The interior is gorgeous, the exterior, well they should have borrowed VW’s Arteon designer.

  • avatar

    Fragrancing? Dear God…

    “Find one in every car. You’ll see.”

  • avatar

    The front end styling looks fine to me, more aggressive than sad.

    The rear end though looks a little “amorphous lump”.

    Big news is the return of the inline six. This going into other models? Maybe twin turbo?

  • avatar

    Pity we can’t see the nice engine for that giant lump of plastic on top of it (although it probably helps reduce NVH in the cabin).

    • 0 avatar
      Tele Vision

      It reduces costs: the engine can look positively utilitarian under that dust cover. My 2007 V came with one and it does nothing for NVH.

      • 0 avatar

        Does a black plastic cover really look better than even a utilitarian engine though? I don’t think so. The beauty of an engine comes in form following function. Not from chromed rocker covers. I’ve resisted the urge to tart up my engine but I think it looks cool anyway.

        • 0 avatar

          Any engine looks better than a plastic cover, and that one does look better than most.

          I pull my cover off in the summer but snap it back on in winter in case it does anything for retaining heat and reducing engine NVH. I get more than enough feedback from the engine when the mounts stiffen in the cold.

          I do the opposite with the battery duct, leaving it on in summer for cooling and off in winter to maintain heat. I don’t know how beneficial it is, but my OE Panasonic battery is now 14 years old and it still works perfectly.

        • 0 avatar
          Tele Vision

          That’s gorgeous and I wholeheartedly agree: the beauty is in the ability, not the bling. That’s a good-looking plant you have there. Here are some pictures of a similar ’07 V with the ‘dust cover’ and without ( plus aftermarket runners ):

  • avatar

    Disappointed they didn’t do more with the interior. It’s 1:1 identical with the E-class coupe, other than slightly different speaker grill locations on the doors. Stepping up to a CLS from an E-class used to mean a big boost in both exterior and interior styling and materials that made it seem at least somewhat worth the added expense.

    This is basically just an E-class re-body, like the A6/A7.

    • 0 avatar

      The 211 chassis E-Class and 219 chassis CLS were more identical then this. There were a few subtle differences between the 212 E-Class and the 218 CLS. The CLS has always been an E-Class with a chopped roof. I don’t think anyone should have been expecting anything different with the generation.

  • avatar

    Mercedes Benz is nothing if not inconsistent. The S Class is available with a six cylinder for the first time in decades for 2018, and C/D tested it. I expected the new M256 engine to make an appearance.

    But no, all MB had done was shove the existing upper level V6 from the E-Class into the S-Class.

    MB saved the straight six for this CLS instead, yet another Gorden Wagener creation of extremely dubious merit. Perhaps taking his cues from the PR field, Wagener is known to wax poetic on the high-end flight-of-fancy spectrum: “Breathtaking proportions combined with a luxurious ‘haute couture’ interior help to create the ultimate experience”. I see. Well that’s clear enough. Not content with such self-indulgent utterings, he has authored a glossy coffee table book in conjunction with Conde Nast, called “Sensual Purity: Gorden Wagener on Design”.

    Presumably basing the CLS’s shape on a scarab dung beetle swelled fantastically by nuclear radiation and with no legs, the portly Wagener believes he’s the most trendsetting designer out there. He serves up this thing for an adoring public he just knows is out there. Right on, Gordo! We know you’re the best!

  • avatar

    Further proof MB is producing by far the worst vehicle designs this decade. The interiors are OK, but the exteriors are an embrassment to everyone involved and date even faster than their 00’s designs.

  • avatar

    It’s not a beauty, but it’s less of an eyesore than the previous one. I still like the original CLS best — that’s going to be a classic, I think.

  • avatar

    Except for the aggressive front fascia, the cleanliness of this design nearly matches that of my 2006 CLS 500 and in my view represents a vast improvement over the recent wrinkled offerings.

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