Luxury, efficiency, perfection: The new generation CL – New engines in the S-Class
Sep 07, 2010
Design and materials: Perfect proportions
  • Appearance: modified radiator grille and new bumpers
  • Headlamps: dynamic shape and Intelligent Light System
  • Interior: two types of leather, four kinds of wood, five colour combinations
  • Ambient lighting: light creates a pleasant sense of spaciousness
For the new-generation CL the Mercedes-Benz designers were guided by their aspiration to technical and formal perfection. The demanding assignment posed to the Sindelfingen design team for the facelift was to further cultivate the visual impression made by the luxurious two-door car without impairing the essential features of the CL design idiom. The clarity and tranquillity of the styling of the CL is fascinating: no artificial flourishes, no exaggerated embellishment, no formal extras, instead a harmonious dialogue between tautly strung lines and large, calm surfaces. The design concentrates on essentials and in this way brings out the natural functional beauty.
Front section: giving shape to power and serenity
To make the performance potential and the effortless superiority of the CL even more manifest, the Mercedes-Benz designers bestowed greatest attention on the front end. Bumper, radiator grille, headlamps, bonnet and wings were discreetly but effectively reworked. The styling measures applied to the front end lend even more impressive expression to the dominance and superiority of the coupé.
The Mercedes designers achieved the desired effect through, among other things, four concise longitudinal lines which give a taut shape to the bonnet, and through the more strongly pointed radiator grille. This stylistic artifice gives still more emphasis to the V-shape of the front – a sophisticated stylistic element symbolising the will to achieve and surge forward. The radiator grille itself is discreetly framed by thin chrome strips. Two individual louvres in brilliant silver with a chrome trim strip in the CL 500 BlueEFFICIENCY, and two twin louvres, also chrome-trimmed, in the twelve-cylinder CL 600 lend further emphasis to the air of self-confidence. The centrally arranged Mercedes star creates a clear link to the grand coupé history of the Stuttgart motor manufacturer.
The modified front bumper injects another dynamic element into the appearance of the CL. Its distinguishing feature is a central cooling air opening which traces the contours of the grille and is flanked by two smaller openings for the brake cooling air. All three inlets have grilles, while the outer openings additionally are divided by chrome strips with a seven-piece LED strip for the daytime running lamps, which underscore the high-tech character of the model. Positioned far outward they also emphasise the breadth of the vehicle. This impression is reinforced by a chrome-look trim strip which runs virtually across the entire width of the vehicle underneath the cooling air openings.
Headlamps: merging aesthetics with high tech
The redesigned headlamps are one of the most impressive details of the Mercedes coupé. The stylish cut of the headlamps and their curved upper edge accentuate the V-shape of the front end. They also function as visual links, bringing together the front and side design and thus conducing to a harmonious overall impression. Technically, they offer the most up-to-date headlamp technology in the form of the standard-fit Intelligent Light System (ILS) and the Adaptive Highbeam Assist. The bi-xenon modules are framed in high-sheen cylinders that look like up-market camera lenses. They thus convey qualities like precision, high value and high tech. The foglamp, previously located in the front bumper, is now integrated in the ILS projection module. The cornering light arranged next to it features LED technology. The additional LED strip on the outer edge of the main headlamps for indicator and position light creates a distinctive accent. Together with the dimmed daytime running lamps this produces an unmistakable night design.
Together with the very expressive lights the CL has been given redesigned front wings whose powerful curves trace a long arc from the headlamps to the A-pillars and create an expressive light-catching contour at the transition to the bonnet.
An example of good form and perfect function are the exterior mirror housings. Optimised through intensive fine-tuning work in the wind tunnel, the shape has the effect that the side windows hardly get soiled in adverse weather, and wind noise – especially from crosswinds and when overtaking trucks – is largely eliminated.
Rear end: a powerful final statement
The modified tail lights of the tautly drawn rear end catch the eye. Their all-red lenses make them appear larger and more dominant than in the previous model, despite having an identical shape. As a further characteristic, the lights take up the flow of the lateral character lines with a discreet ridge and contribute in this way to the tautness of the design. The reversing lights in the new-generation CL are located to the right and left of the number plate recess on the boot lid and take up the V-shaped run of the lid's joints.
The discreetly redesigned rear bumper, with its light-catching contour blending into the vehicle flanks and visually extended by a swage line running into the flared wings, likewise underlines the high design quality. At the same time this feature emphasises the dynamism of the CL, suggesting the safety and solidity of its stance on the road. This impression is heightened even further by a chrome trim strip between the exhaust tailpipes. In future the trapezoidal exhaust tailpipes themselves are visibly integrated into the bumper trim. The twelve-cylinder CL 600 is immediately recognisable by the distinctive look of its tailpipe.
The rear end of the CL is proof of the Mercedes designers' striving for perfection in another respect too: the aerials for the navigation system and telephone can be invisibly integrated into the boot lid, which is fashioned from plastic. The advantage: no irritating aerial mountings mar the lines of the vehicle.
Wheels underscore the dynamic look
New light-alloy wheels likewise make for a unique mix of dynamism and elegance. The V8 models CL 500 BlueEFFICIENCY and CL 500 4MATIC BlueEFFICIENCY are factory-fitted with redesigned 5-spoke 18-inch wheels. The twelve-cylinder CL 600 also has 5-spoke 18-inch wheels as standard. A survey of the standard equipment and optional extras:
5-spoke design:
  • 8.5 J x 18, 255/45 R 18 (standard in the CL 500 BlueEFFICIENCY
  • 8.5 J x 18, 255/45 R 18 at the front; 9.5 J x 18, 275/45 R 18 at the rear (standard in the CL 600)
  • 8.5 J x 19, 255/40 R 19
  • 8.5 J x 19, 255/40 R 19 at the front; 9.5 J x 19, 275/40 R 19 at the rear
7-twin-spoke design:
  • 8.5 J x 18, 255/45 R 18
  • 8.5 J x 18, 255/45 R 18 at the front; 9.5 J x 18, 275/45 R 18 at the rear
15-spoke design:
  • 8.5 J x 18, 255/45 R 18 at the front; 9.5 J x 18, 275/45 R 18 at the rear (standard in the CL 500 4MATIC BlueEFFICIENCY)
20-spoke design:
  • 8.5 J x 19, 255/40 R 19 at the front; 9.5 J x 19, 275/45 R 19 at the rear
Interior: solid luxury with fine materials
The Mercedes-Benz designers also perfected the interior of the CL, making a decisive contribution so that the Mercedes model remains the yardstick for luxury and value in its class. Perfectly matched materials further enhance the classy look. The specialists for interiors at Mercedes-Benz use first-rate materials like aluminium, leather and wood which they process with great attention to detail. Most of the wood parts are hand-made and matched individually for colour and grain by experienced craftsmen. Everything is perfectly coordinated: shape, colour, materials. In the Mercedes-Benz CL only European wood from renewable forestry sources is used. A total of four different kinds of wood are available: apart from light and dark high-gloss burr walnut, there is brown high-gloss poplar (CL 600) and black ash. Thanks to a special coating method, each piece of wood trim gets a brilliant surface which particularly brings out the individual grain of the fine wood.
The seat covers of the new CL also are of the most exquisite quality. For this luxury model there are two different kinds of leather available which thanks to their low pre-tensioning and consequent wrinkle effect appear supple and comfortable from the very first glance – a pleasant experience, visually and for one's sense of touch. In the "Exclusive PASSION leather package" (standard in the CL 600), in addition the dashboard, the centre console, the ruffled pockets on the backrests of the front seats, the door panels and parcel shelf are covered with fine leather. In choosing the raw material Mercedes-Benz pays attention to exquisite quality: the leather for seat covers and steering wheel comes exclusively from southern German bulls mainly kept in sheds so that the hides show no flaws due to tick and insect bites or injuries caused by pasture fencing.
In addition, in the CL 600 and in the top "Exclusive PASSION leather package" the clothing of the roof liner and the interior trim of the A and C pillars in high-grade Alcantara leather completes the fine combination of materials.
There is a choice of five tasteful colour combinations for the vehicle interior of the Mercedes-Benz luxury coupé: black/black, cashmere beige/savannah beige, sahara beige/black, and the novel combinations alpaca grey/basalt grey and aubergine/black.
Steering wheel: high tech and hand finish
The discreetly modified steering wheel with a total of twelve control buttons and shift paddles catches the eye as soon as one gets into the car. Steering wheel rim and airbag module in the new-generation CL are lined with soft nappa leather as standard. The new, flatter airbag module lends a sportier touch to the multifunction steering wheel. Alternatively, the customer can order a wood/leather steering wheel (standard for the CL 600). Covered in leather sewn with sophisticated double stitching, the steering wheels of the CL captivate not only through the selection of fine materials, but also the excellent grip they afford. The optional steering wheel heating guarantees this feeling even after a night outdoors at freezing temperatures. The multilayer structure of the steering wheel also ensures the best safety. The core is a skeleton made of aluminium. On this metal base a special foam is sprayed. In the wood/leather steering wheel this is covered with half-shells of real wood veneer. Steering wheel frame and wooden covering deform in a defined pattern in the event of a crash so that there is no danger of splinters. The uncompromising Mercedes safety philosophy also finds expression in the sewing of the airbag module. This is done by hand, but electronically monitored. The data of every CL steering wheel is saved for at least 15 years.
Ambient lighting: choice of three shades
Apart from this, with ambient lighting (standard for the CL 600) Mercedes-Benz makes more use of light as a styling element in the new-generation CL to make the occupants' stay on board as pleasant as possible. Along with the lighting mood "solar" in a warm amber tone, with the COMAND Controller the customers can choose between neutral (white) and polar (ice-blue). The ambient lighting makes use of thin optical fibres behind the trim on the dashboard and door panels. Their indirect light can be dimmed in five stages by means of the COMAND system. The pleasant sense of spaciousness in the luxury coupé also can be experienced at night owing to the surrounding band of light. What is more: the light keeps the driver awake and lights up his or her mood, improving driver fitness as a result.
A sophisticated lighting concept in the CL 500 heightens the sense of wellbeing in the dark. In addition to the indirect lighting of the switches and controls, there are lights in the door handle recesses and footwells that create a pleasant, amber-coloured lighting effect. A light-emitting diode in the housing of the rear-view mirror is directed at the centre console as another component of the interior lighting system. The diffuse light can be individually adjusted with the aid of a selector in the instrument cluster. The brightness of the footwell illumination automatically is reduced after closing the doors.
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