Significant changes are on the way this fall for the 2015 Mercedes-Benz CLS-Class, pictured here in European trim. Although a number of details have yet to be disclosed, the automaker has confirmed that its elegant "4-door coupe" receives a mild visual freshening and upgraded in-car connectivity while adding a more affordable V6-powered CLS400 model to the mix. Other new-for-2015 highlights include an efficiency-enhancing 9-speed automatic transmission for the CLS550 and standard full LED front lighting on all versions of the car - which can be further upgraded to M-B's new auto-adjusting Multibeam LED headlamps.
The Multibeam LED technology is a story in itself. Each lighting unit contains 24 LEDs that can be individually and instantly controlled to create an ideal illumination pattern without blinding drivers of oncoming vehicles. The formidable capability of the high-beam units is further bolstered by the equally active/adaptive low-beam modules. They, too, work in conjunction with a windshield-mounted camera and can deflect by up to 12 degrees to effectively "look into" an upcoming corner. Beyond responding to direct input from the steering wheel, this intelligent system also features a unique "preview" function that literally allows it to swing into action even before the driver does and provide between 100-200 feet of additional sight range.
The clearest visual revamps to the 2015 CLS-Class are found up front where a more aggressively shaped fascia now is framed by the recast LED headlamps set off by a CLA-look grille treatment with a chrome-diamond pattern insert plus larger air intakes. Rear changes are confined to slightly darker, multi-level taillights. In keeping with tradition, the range-topping 2015 CLS63 AMG - available here only in S-Model 4Matic guise -- cranks things up another notch with even bolder nose and tail treatments, bespoke aero-enhancing body bits and larger wheel/tire fitment. At the moment, there are still no plans to bring the handsome CLS Shooting Brake wagon to America.
While a good deal of its basic cabin design carries forward intact, the mid-cycle refresh does bring several new touches that add style and functionality to this chic M-B cruiser. Cosmetic tweaks include a revised color palette complemented by an enhanced selection of premium leather and trim choices. Other notable changes include an 8.0-inch freestanding color display in the center of the dash, a redesigned 3-spoke multifunction steering wheel and easier-to-use switchgear.
In-car connectivity also gets a major boost for 2015 with the arrival of all-new multimedia infotainment systems - Audio 20 CD on the CLS400 and COMAND Online in the CLS550/CLS63 AMG - that also bring Bluetooth and an integrated iPod/iPhone Media Interface. The CLS400 comes with Garmin Map Pilot SD-based 3D navigation while the CLS500/CLS63 AMG feature a hard-disc based COMAND navi setup with real-time data via Mercedes-Benz Apps.
As for the 2015 model mix, the CLS-Class will be available here in three basic configurations. Anchoring the lineup will be the new CLS400 and its all-wheel-drive alter ego, the CLS400 4Matic. Both are fitted with M-B's new 3.0-liter gasoline twin-turbo V6 that makes 329 horsepower and 354 lb-ft of torque and is backed by the existing 7G-Tronic automatic transmission. The CLS550/CLS550 4Matic continue on with the existing a 4.6-liter turbo V8 that develops 402 horses and 443 lb-ft of torque but the rear-drive CLS550 will replace the 7-speed transmission with a new ZF-designed 9G-Tronic automatic. Due to appear in a host of other M-B models in the months and years ahead, this 9-speed upgrade delivers even quicker, smoother shifts while improving relative fuel economy. Topping the range, the CLS63 AMG S-Model 4Matic boasts a 5.5-liter twin-turbo V8 that makes 557 horsepower and 590 lb-ft of peak twist.
The 2015 Mercedes-Benz CLS-Class will arrive in showrooms here this fall. Pricing and EPA figures will be released closer to the actual on-sale date.
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