Well over a decade ago, Mercedes-Benz effectively invented the premium saloon-cum-coupé segment with the CLS – a super-smart mid-size luxury fastback.
Since then, everyone else has caught up with the arrival of the Audi A7 and Porsche Panamera.
However now, Mercedes is aiming to reinvent the segment all over again with the third-generation CLS, which has just been revealed at the LA Auto Show ahead of arriving in UK showrooms from March 2018.
So how does Merc hope to achieve this reinvention? By turning to its super-popular E-Class.
It may feel like cheating to base much of the new CLS on the E-Class but considering its brilliance, you can’t blame them for taking the easy option.
As such, the CLS mk3 will use the same chassis technology, nine-speed automatic gearbox and 4Matic all-wheel drive system as the E-Class.
This ain’t no ‘resize and resell’ exercise though, because the CLS will launch with completely new engines: two diesel engines – the 282bhp 350 d and the 335bhp 400 d – and a 362bhp petrol, which wears the 450 badge.
Both diesels boast the eco credentials, returning 50.4mpg with CO2 emissions of 148g/km, but the differing factor between the two is pace. While the 350 d can race to 62mph from a standstill in 5.7 seconds, the punchier 400 d can do it in five seconds flat.
However, the three-litre straight-six 450 can do it in 4.8 seconds, making it the nippiest CLS at launch, even if running costs do take a knock (37.6mpg, 178g/km).
Visually, the CLS is as slick as ever, with more swoopy lines and a typically striking front-end boasting a diamond grille typical of Mercedes-Benz coupés with a single louvre. The flat, wide headlamps feature inward-slanting flanks and follow the contour of the grille.
For the first time, the CLS is a five-seater. The outer rear seats have the same appearance as the front seats, with the deeply scalloped outer seats giving the impression that the car is designed for four occupants.
Prices are expected to start from £57,000, with orders being accepted from December 7th.