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by Tim Beissmann

Mercedes-Benz has unveiled the latest version of its CL-Class luxury sports coupe, boasting a more powerful and refined engine, refreshed styling and a never-ending list of passenger comfort and driver assist safety features.

Mercedes-Benz Australia’s David McCarthy said local customers will not be left behind overseas markets and will receive the new model in the third quarter of 2010.

“It’s not a huge volume vehicle for us, but we’ll get it in the third quarter. I can’t be more precise because we haven’t actually been allocated a production date yet,” Mr McCarthy said.

While he could not confirm whether pricing would increase or decrease from the current $323,909 for the CL 500 and $409,709 for the CL 600, he did reveal the upgraded model will be better value.

“If you look at what we’ve done with every other vehicle in terms of equipment and price – delivering a customer advantage as we call it – we’ll be looking to do the same with CL.

“We haven’t finalised pricing yet so I can’t be more informative, but it will have more equipment and it will be better value,” Mr McCarthy said.

The sharper lines of the new CL-Class give it a more muscular appearance. The front features a newly designed V-shaped radiator grille and squarer headlights in line with other current-model Mercedes.

A chrome strip beneath the lower intake widens the CL’s mouth while LED daytime running lights have now been incorporated in the side brake-cooling openings.

The mirror-mounted LED indicators have also been upgraded while the rear lamps benefit from a fresh design.

Inside, CL-Class customers have a choice of four different kinds of wood (all hand-made and supplied by renewable forestry sources in Europe), as well as two different kinds of leather and five colour combinations.

The steering wheel has a new flatter airbag construction and a soft leather wrap, while three tones of mood lighting are also standard on the CL 600.

The most significant changes have taken place under the bonnet however, with the CL 500 BlueEFFICIENCY featuring an all-new 4.7-litre biturbo V8 engine.

Despite displacement decreasing by 0.8 litres, power has risen more than 12 percent from 289kW to 324kW and torque is up a staggering 32 percent from 530Nm to 700Nm.

Acceleration has improved half a second, with the new CL 500 BlueEFFICIENCY completing the sprint to 100km/h in 4.9 seconds.

Sprint times aren’t the only figures to fall however, with combined fuel consumption 23 percent better than the outgoing model (down to 9.5 litres/100km) and CO2 emissions slashed from 288g/km to 224g/km.

Mercedes says the gains are manifestations of a number of technical improvements within the engine, including the addition of Mercedes’ third-generation spray-guided direct petrol injection with piezo injectors and multi-spark ignition with up to four ignition sparks per millisecond. Other enhancements include the start/stop system, friction-optimised pistons, piston rings and cylinder barrels, on-demand control of oil pump and a new three-phase thermal management in the coolant circuit.

The 386kW biturbo V12-powered CL 600 remains at the top of the range, with acceleration three-tenths sharper than the CL 500. It is now also fully compliant with Euro V emissions standards.

Driver assist technology is at the cutting edge in the new CL-Class, and Active Lane Keeping Assist is at the top of an extensive list. ALKA uses a camera mounted on the inside of the windscreen to monitor continuous lane markings on the road and send small vibrations through the steering wheel if the vehicle is unintentionally approaching the line. If the vehicle unintentionally crosses a lane marking on either side ALKA intervenes by gently braking the wheels on the opposite side of the car to help the driver remain in the correct lane.

Active Blind Spot Assist is another multi-stage system designed to make lane changes safer. If the system detects the driver has intentions to perform an unsafe lane change, a red triangle is displayed in the side mirror. If the driver ignores the triangle an audible warning will sound, and if the vehicle gets dangerously close to another the system implements corrective braking intervention to help avoid a collision.

Other innovative standard features include Adaptive Main Beam Assist which controls headlamp intensity to optimise vision for on-coming traffic, infra-red Night View Assist which illuminates pedestrians, Speed Limit Assist which reads the speed limit signs and displays it in the centre display, Pre-Safe Brake, Attention Assist and Active Body Control with crosswind stabilisation.

SplitView technology in the central display headlines luxury features in the CL’s cabin. The system allows the driver and front passenger to view different images simultaneously on the same screen. For example, the driver can view navigation maps while the passenger watches a DVD.

The entertainment system features a 40GB hard disc for the 3D-cabable satellite navigation and an additional 7.2GB for around 2500 music files. The latest generation of the Linguatronic voice control system now detects whole words and no longer requires the driver to spell out commands.




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