This 2019 model replaces the version that first appeared in production form way back in 2010. Compared with that car, the new CLS looks much cleaner and leaner. The look-at-me rear fender creases have vanished, the nose and tail straightened out, and the extra-wide grille and lights sit low in the front fascia. What remains is a high belt line and rakish roof. Overall, it might be a tad less distinctive, but more mature.
Though the CLS has always been about style, this generation is also important from a powertrain perspective. Under the slinky hood is the first application of Mercedes-Benz's new turbocharged 3.0-liter inline-six. It will be the only engine available at launch, and it makes 362 horsepower and 369 pound-feet of torque. Sadly, Mercedes hasn't brought back a logical naming scheme based on power or displacement, as the introductory six-cylinder model is called CLS450. The straight-six also has a combination starter and generator hooked up to a 48-volt electrical system. The motor produces 21 horsepower and 184 pound-feet of torque, and, just like many other 48-volt mild-hybrid systems, it's there to improve fuel efficiency. It can provide assistance with acceleration from a stop, as well as allow for engine-off coasting at times. This powertrain is coupled to a nine-speed automatic and can propel the CLS to a top speed of 130 mph, though 0-to-60 time and fuel economy ratings have yet to be released. Both rear-drive and all-wheel-drive models will be available, and all versions have multi-link independent suspension at all corners with optional air suspension.
The least surprising part of the new CLS is the interior. It looks like pretty much any other Mercedes, loaded with luscious leather, wide spans of wood, and much metal. The instruments and infotainment screen fit in a "2001"-esque black monolith. Ambient lighting is everywhere, too, including the dash, center console, and even the air vents. The lighting does play a role in a unique feature called "ENERGIZING Comfort." There are six settings that change the lighting, temperature, sound configuration and massage seats to set a mood. Those settings include Refresh/Freshness, Warmth, Vitality,Joy, Comfort/Well-Being and Training, the last of which has three sub-settings. Also, being a modern Mercedes, the CLS has oodles of driver assists, from lane-keeping to adaptive cruise control that adjusts speed for corners.
Finally, in honor of the release of this new CLS, Mercedes is offering a special Edition 1 model (the matte gray car in the above gallery). It features AMG body modifications and wheels, standard adaptive LED lights, and a spiffy black leather interior with black natural-grain wood and copper accents. Pricing has not been released for any of the CLS variants, but they will go on sale by fall 2018.