OUT OF OFFICE | Mercedes-Benz
by Carl Wepener
The Next-generation Mercedes-Benz CLS a Cult Design
‘Cult design featuring a futuristic lighting system’ is not a phrase or idea that I would have associated with Mercedes-Benz.
By comprehensively redesigning the Mercedes-Benz CLS Coupé, Mercedes has in fact accomplished such a cult and futuristic design. Why do I say this? Well, the CLS has always been sort of futuristic if you take into consideration the familiar Mercedes-Benz models; and, when looking at the new ground-breaking technology, it remains at the forefront of exactly that – futuristic. What left me awestruck was not the more incisive front section that also sports the A Class diamond-design grill – which I hope will feature in all future models – or the interior with its modern, handcrafted luxury feel and passion for sport, but the futuristic MULTIBEAM LED headlamps that take the lighting system into a new dimension. High-performance, precision LED modules automatically provide the best possible illumination, whatever the road and traffic conditions.
I cannot but take you on an extensive journey into the capabilities of this futuristic lighting system that elevates night driving to a new level – and it is affordable.
The CLS is already equipped with LED high-performance headlamps as standard. Alternatively, three models are optionally available with new MULTIBEAM LED headlamps. Since MULTIBEAM LED technology combines the best of today’s lighting technologies and is able to adjust the light distribution very quickly and automatically to virtually any road and traffic conditions, it always ensures, thus far, unrivalled broad and bright illumination of the road surface and edge of the carriageway for high performance and precision without dazzling other drivers.
The camera-based Adaptive Highbeam Assist Plus system supplies the information required for illumination. If it detects oncoming traffic or vehicles with their lights on, each of the 24 individual, high-performance LEDs in a matrix light source is controlled electronically so that various areas of the road surface can be masked out, depending on the situation. Combining the matrix light source with proven LED Intelligent Light System technology, the headlamp control system improves on the precision of today’s light sources and sets a gap with a minimal width for the main beam. In this way, other drivers are not dazzled, but drivers of the CLS Coupé always benefit from the best possible – in other words, brightest illumination of the road and carriageway edges. These anti-dazzle, main-beam headlamps can be kept on permanently. New MULTIBEAM LED headlamps therefore offer a new level of safety, which benefits other road users too.
In addition to the camera on the windscreen, this new lighting system uses four control units per vehicle, which calculate the ideal light pattern 100 times per second and control all 24 high-performance LEDs in each precision LED module quickly and individually. Each LED is dimmable in 255 stages. New MULTIBEAM LED headlamps provide exceptionally fast and precise, anti-dazzle, continuous main beam which light up the road surface and its edges much more brightly in many situations.
Optimum Vision on Bends and at Roundabouts
As well as the high-performance, precision LED module, each MULTIBEAM LED headlamp contains a module for the low-beam headlamp, which can be swivelled up to 12 degrees to the outside for an active light function with special features that have never been achieved before. The latter is likewise camera-controlled. For example, an anticipatory function means that the active light function starts to swivel before the driver has even turned. The bend is therefore effectively illuminated as soon as possible. This active light function will also swivel back to the straight-on position before the corner ends, allowing the driver to identify dangers earlier when entering and exiting bends. The anticipatory control allows an additional range of between 30 and 60 metres, depending on the traffic situation. Another unique feature is used at roundabouts: before entering a roundabout, the cornering light function is activated to the left and right to ensure maximum visibility on all sides at an early stage. For this purpose, the navigation system supplies the positions of roundabouts on the route to the headlamps.
One charming feature of the new MULTIBEAM LED headlamps is that, in addition to providing daytime running lamps, side lights and turn signal lamps via multifunctional fibre-optic cable, they also welcome the driver by casting a pleasant blue light when the vehicle is unlocked.
Other leading-edge technologies include the nine-speed 9G-TRONIC automatic transmission, powerful new engines, intelligently networked driver assistance and safety systems, as well as an advanced multimedia system with Internet access. In terms of performance, the AMG version – the CLS 63 AMG Coupé – takes pole position with an output of up to 430 kW.
The new AMG Line Plus supplements the existing Exterior Sports package and AMG Line design and equipment lines and, as an expression of exclusive sportiness and dynamism, increases the potential for individualisation. By the end of the year, a special Night package is set to extend the selection further. Newly designed interior packages are also available.
Efficient, Sporty Engines
New to the CLS range is the CLS 250 CDI with a four-cylinder diesel engine featuring fourth-generation, common-rail direct injection. It generates 150 kW with a maximum torque of 500 Nm. Surpassing these figures, the V6 diesel engine in the CLS 350 BlueTEC delivers 190 kW and 620 Nm of torque. The CLS 250CDI is still powerful enough to really make the big CLS look fast, and is very fuel efficient – it gave us 8.1 litres per 100 kilometres. The gem is still the CLS 350 BlueTEC, which gave us the same consumption as the CLS 250 CDI.
Equally new is the V6 petrol engine with exhaust gas turbocharging in the CLS 400. Endowed with a biturbo drive system, it has a 3.5-litre displacement. Thanks to its high output potential and extremely high torque at low engine speeds, this engine sets new benchmarks in its segment. Output is 245 kW and 480 Nm of torque and is available in the wide engine speed range from 1 200 to 4 000 rpm. The CLS 500 hits its power peak at 300 kW and up to 600 Nm of torque.
As always, the top-of-the-range CLS 63 AMG, the AMG 5.5-litre V8 biturbo engine delivering 430 kW and 800 Nm, ranks among the world’s most efficient series-production, eight-cylinder engines.
The world’s first nine-speed automatic transmission with hydrodynamic torque converter in the premium segment, 9G-TRONIC, is deployed in the CLS 350 BlueTEC and CLS 500. With nine forward gears, 9G-TRONIC lowers fuel consumption whilst simultaneously boosting ease of shifting and agility.
In future, the CLS-Class will be equipped with many new and feature-enhanced assistance systems. COLLISION PREVENTION ASSIST PLUS is already part of the standard equipment. It can help to avoid rear-end collisions – by way of autonomous brake application if necessary.
The latest assistance systems from the S Class are also available as optional extras. These include DISTRONIC PLUS with Steering Assist and Stop&Go Pilot, BAS PLUS with Cross-Traffic Assist, PRE-SAFE® Brake with pedestrian detection, PRE-SAFE® PLUS, Active Blind Spot Assist, Active Lane Keeping Assist, Active Parking Assist with PARKTRONIC –including parking in end-on spaces – as well as a 360° camera.
A choice of infotainment systems (Audio 20 CD – CLS 250 CDI only) or COMAND Online (CLS 250 CDI – optional, and standard on CLS 350 BlueTEC, CLS 400, CLS 500 and CLS 63 AMG) is available in conjunction with the new free-standing display in the head unit with a 20.3 cm screen diagonal (8 inch). Both enable the Internet to be surfed without restrictions when the vehicle is stationary. A Bluetooth®-capable mobile phone with data option is all it takes. Equally new is the now standard and integral Media Interface for connecting an iPod® or iPhone®.
Mercedes-Benz Apps such as Weather, GoogleTM Local Search with StreetView and Panoramio, destination/route download and Facebook can be used while on the move in conjunction with COMAND Online. COMAND Online additionally comes with the LINGUATRONIC voice-operated control system.
In the version with pre-installation, the basic Audio 20 CD system (CLS 250 CDI only) can be supplemented with the user-friendly Garmin® MAP PILOT navigation system. Its merits include 3D views with exact representation of streets and buildings, and photo-realistic Cross-Traffic and Lane Assistants. The navigation system is also able to provide real-time information about the situation on roads when COMAND Online receives traffic data via the Internet by means of the Live Traffic Information service.
Both the basic Audio 20 CD system and COMAND Online come as standard with basic telephony, which connects the mobile phone with the vehicle via a standardised Bluetooth® interface featuring HD Voice. This latter feature significantly improves voice quality. A standard, class-leading PremiumDrive maintenance plan is included.
The CLS range, as with all Mercedes-Benz passenger cars, comes standard with the class-leading six-year/100 000 km PremiumDrive maintenance plan.