It was way back in 2003 – well over 15 years ago – when Mercedes-Benz rolled out the very first CLS, the car that pioneered the four-door coupe sedan body style. Now, the third-generation CLS, which made its global debut at last year's LA Auto Show, has been launched in India at a price of Rs 84.70 lakh (ex-showroom, India). It is the 12th launch of the year from Mercedes-Benz in India.
In this all-new form, the third-generation CLS retains the stylish swooping roofline and frameless doors of its predecessors, but has softer lines and cleaner surfacing as it follows Mercedes' new Sensual Purity design language. Compared to the previous generation, the new CLS looks trim and less bulky, with the exaggerated rear haunches of the previous car being done away with.
The new CLS is based on the same platform as the E-class, and has grown in length, width and height. It also has a 61mm longer wheelbase at 2,988mm, allowing for larger rear door apertures and easier backseat access. Boot space, at 520 litres, is the same as the previous model. However, the rear seat has in a 40/20/40 split, boosting practicality.
The flowing, swoopy design theme continues on the inside with a contoured, shapely dashboard, which sees a 12.3-inch colour display for the infotainment system take centre stage. Apple CarPlay and Android Auto functionality is available with this infotainment system. Also standard is the Virtual Cockpit digital display for the instruments, and a neat design touch are the jet turbine-inspired AC vents. A sunroof is part of the equipment list, as are a 13-speaker Burmester audio system, Air Body Control air suspension, 18-inch alloys and MultiBeam LED headlights.
While the new CLS showcased abroad debuted a range of new mild-hybrid powertrains, for now, India gets just one engine option: a BS-VI-compliant, 2.0-litre, four-cylinder diesel engine putting out 245hp and 500Nm of torque, which is mated to a 9-speed automatic gearbox. Mercedes claims a 0-100kph time of 6.4 seconds for the CLS 300 d, while top speed is rated at 250kph. And just like other BS-VI-compliant Mercedes models on sale, the new CLS, too, can also run on BS-IV-grade fuel.
At this time, the third-gen CLS has no real rivals, but it will have one once Audi introduces the new-generation A7 Sportback.