Mercedes-Benz - Vision CLS
Coupés for connoisseurs
· Unique: a coupé generation ahead of the rest
· Emotive: lines that arouse passion
· Intelligent: four doors and the interior comfort of a saloon
· Dynamic: powerful biturbo engine and sports-tuned suspension
Developing new vehicle concepts – to set trends and influence automotive development – has always been a major aspect of the Mercedes-Benz philosophy. Throughout its 102-year history, the Stuttgart-based manufacturer has always displayed the courage, expertise and leadership needed to go one step further. It is what has made Mer-cedes-Benz such a pioneer of passenger car concepts, style and technology.
Back in 1901, the first model to be given the fine-sounding Mercedes name was one of many cars that have stood for something entirely new and set the standards for auto-motive development as a whole. It was followed by icons such as the 540 K Roadster in 1934, the 300 SL "Gullwing" (1954) and the 220 model with the first ever safety bodyshell (1959). In the modern era, cutting-edge concepts have paved the way for model series such as the Mercedes-Benz 190 (1982), the A-Class and the
M-Class (both 1997), providing the impetus for the creation of new and successful market segments.
The Vision CLS – the latest in an illustrious line of forward-looking car concepts – is a four-door model with immense appeal. It is further proof that Mercedes-Benz is al-ways a step ahead of the field – a coupé generation ahead in this case.
The concept: a synthesis of passion and practicality
Never before have two such entirely different ideas – the stylistic appeal and strong emotive charisma of a coupé and the comfort and practicality of a saloon – been so elegantly blended together to form a single automotive entity.
All of which makes the Vision CLS a truly shining coupé specimen. A valuable one-off that arouses pure desire and is designed to help create an all-new and highly attractive market segment. This latest Mercedes concept reflects the aspirations of modern people who lead active lives and are passionate about new trends. People who attach great importance to individuality, stylish aesthetics and sheer excitement when it comes to both their cars and life in general.
In this sense the Vision CLS is a car for the connoisseur -- for the passionate motorists who seeks and appreciates those really special things in life.
Passion and practicality are equally high on the list of priorities for this most discerning of customer groups, since a love of elegant forms and the finest of materials always goes hand in hand with a desire for the very latest in no-holds-barred technology. The Vision CLS provides the very best of both worlds by displaying distinctive aesthetics in every detail and showcasing leading-edge technology. All backed by the high quality associated with Mercedes-Benz. Not to mention the renowned reliability which, alongside many other virtues, underpins the brand's impeccable reputation.
Form and finesse: design with highly emotive overtones
Excitement at first sight – this was the effect the designers were aiming for when they set about creating the Vision CLS, with free reign to sculpt the ultimate in coupé lines. In other words, they were given (virtually) complete artistic and creative license.
In this sense, the concept idea of the four-door coupé provided the designers with new and more varied options for adding a distinctly emotive overtone to their use of forms, thus enabling them to fashion a new and unique coupé style.
This freedom of expression is evident in every aspect of the latest Mercedes concept. Based on familiar brand features, the car's design lines succeed in creating the perfect blend between seemingly contradictory characteristics such as dynamism and size, power and elegance, aesthetics and practicality. In this respect the inspiring design lines reflect the emotive and exciting character of the concept coupé.
At the heart of this dramatic and dynamic demeanour is a quite unique body style: im-pressive overhangs at the front and rear elongate the body in elegant fashion and provide an ideal contrast with the smooth and sweeping silhouette of the thoroughbred coupé roof. Similarly, the wide, unruffled surfaces of the doors and rear wings provide the perfect formal foil to the frameless side windows – another classic coupé feature – and to the low-slung appearance.
The front end: a new Mercedes face that positively exudes power and passion
The front design of the Vision CLS displays a new yet familiar look: new because the headlamps create a unique and intriguing Mercedes face; familiar because the classic Mercedes radiator grille with its distinctive vanes and the centrally positioned star re-main prominent features. It is aspects such as these, in combination with the pronounced wedge shape of the bonnet and bumper, that emphasise the undoubted sporting prowess of the four-door coupé. This feeling of forwards thrust, power and performance potential is further enhanced by the muscular contours of the wings, whilst the extended vanes of the radiator grille give the front section a wide and therefore powerful appearance.
Side view: harmonious lines and surfaces
One of the trademarks of modern Mercedes design is the interplay between taut lines and smooth, naturally rounded forms. The Vision CLS coupé takes this design theme to a new level. A prominent waistline accentuates the height of the body edge at window level and gives an overriding feeling of safety. It takes its cue from the dynamic, rounded form of the front wheel arch, stretching along the entire length of the body before merging effortlessly into the elegant rear light cluster. The taillamps continue along the same lines, creating a seamless visual link with the rear bumper. This feature allows the designers to achieve the perfect balance between lines and surfaces. It also helps to create an impressively long appearance, thus further enhancing the sporty elegance of the body.
The roof line is an even more prominent feature of the four-door coupé, forming a subtle yet taut arch spanning the powerful body. It flows gracefully into an elegant
C-pillar configuration which draws the line smoothly downwards into the rear section, thus creating a graceful silhouette.
At the rear end, the deepness of the bumper emphasises the width of the body and, in combination with the two chromed tailpipes, reinforces the powerful aura of the concept coupé.
With its highly sophisticated design lines, the Vision CLS brings a new and scintillating dimension to the world of motoring and a whole new meaning to the term "sheer driving pleasure".
The interior: refined ambience featuring light tones and high-grade materials
The interior is equally impressive: the light colour shades are utterly captivating whilst the high-quality materials make any stay on board an absolute pleasure. Leather and wood are the main interior design elements. Traditionally worked, natural-grain leather is used for the trim on the dashboard and the A-pillar panels in the showcar interior. And an extra touch of refinement is provided by the elegant diamond-shaped grain of the supple, light beige-coloured leather which adorns the seats and interior door panels.
Real wood – as opposed to imitations – has always been an important material for en-hancing the elegance and sophistication of Mercedes-Benz interiors. In the Vision CLS, the eyes are instantly drawn to the handcrafted oak trim with its light tone and attractive open-pore grain. A trim strip made from this finest of natural materials spans almost the entire face of the dashboard, thus creating an air of sophistication. And, like the leather appointments, it helps give a natural feel to the interior of the Vision CLS.
Daylight is another important design aspect of the Vision CLS interior. A large, trans-parent roof panel made of glass stretches from the windscreen to the rear end, bathing the interior in light and thus giving the occupants a overriding feeling of space. In ad-dition the glass roof has the effect of bringing the driver and passengers closer to their outside environment, thus making a ride on board the Vision CLS even more of a pleasurable experience.
The smooth-flowing design lines create a seamless visual link between the dashboard, the doors and the rear of the vehicle. This design element, combined with the sophisti-cated colour scheme and specially selected materials, creates a truly balanced and harmonious ambience. The effect is enhanced by the centre console and transmission tunnel, which merge to form an elegant feature that sweeps gracefully rearwards, deftly dividing the two luxury rear seats. Compartments beneath the padded, leather covered armrests between the front seats and in the centre console at the rear provide ample space for cup and bottle holders.
The cockpit: chronometer-style elegance and precision
The new-look instrument cluster is a blend of classical and modern styling elements. Situated in the centre of the cluster is a large, round speedometer flanked by two somewhat smaller dials: the clock and the rev counter. Each of these dials is, in turn, flanked by a bargraph-style indicator: the fuel and coolant temperature gauges. Light-coloured dials, a decorative wood trim and front panels featuring chrome rings with a dull lustre accentuate the high-quality, chronometer-style look of the instruments.
Ergonomic design à la Mercedes-Benz makes the various systems much easier to use, thus enabling the driver to enjoy mile after mile on the road. The centrepiece of this ergonomic concept is the four-spoke steering wheel which has four illuminated "pad-dles" for calling up important information or controlling selected functions at the touch of a button. Devices such as the radio, telephone and navigation system, among others, can be easily operated in this way.
The dimensions: spaciousness on a par with a saloon
The large rear doors are without doubt the most striking feature of the new coupé concept. They represent the real added-value that sets the Vision CLS apart from other coupés when it comes to convenience and practicality. Equally impressive is the room available in the rear of the four-door coupé: in terms of space at knee height (77 mm), headroom (924 mm) and shoulder room (1422 mm), the Vision CLS is vastly superior to other coupés of similar size. The space between seats, measured between the front and rear seat reference points (SRPs), is 829 mm – more than enough to rival many a saloon.
The body of the concept coupé is 4910 mm long, 1851 mm wide and 1391 mm high. And the wheelbase length of 2854 mm ensures an exemplary level of spaciousness inside the Vision CLS.
In terms of boot space also, the coupé is a fully-fledged touring car for four. With a capacity of 470 litres (according to the VDA measuring method), the boot provides plenty of room for suitcases, golf bags or other luggage items. The Vision CLS out-performs many a saloon and all coupés in this respect.
In conclusion, the Mercedes engineers and designers have succeeded in combining stunning coupé design with the comfort, convenience and high everyday practicality of a saloon.
The drive system: diesel power and 7G-TRONIC for dynamic driving pleasure
The Vision CLS has a sports-tuned chassis, AIRMATIC DC air suspension, speed-sensitive power steering, 19-inch wide-base tyres (255/35 R 19 at the front, 285/30 R 19 at the rear) and, at its heart, a powerful biturbo engine. There can be few better recipes for superlative driving dynamics and sheer driving pleasure.
With a power output of 195 kW/265 hp and a peak torque of 560 Nm available from just 2000 rpm, the six-cylinder CDI power plant shows just how sophisticated Mercedes-Benz diesel technology has now become. As well as returning fuel-consumption figures of 7.5 litres per 100 km (NEDC cycle), the Vision CLS delivers performance on a par with higher-capacity V8 petrol-engined models, accelerating from 0 to 100 km/h in 6.4 seconds and from 60 to 120 km/h in 5.7 seconds. It goes on to achieve a top speed of 250 km/h (electronically limited).
The high-torque six-cylinder CDI engine is the ideal partner for the newly developed transmission – the world's first seven-speed automatic for passenger cars. Mercedes-Benz will be introducing it as standard for V8 E-, S-, SL- and CL-Class models from autumn 2003. The special "kick-down" technology at the heart of the 7G-TRONIC allows fast acceleration in any gear and supreme ease of shifting.
Safety: Mercedes innovations from bi-xenon Active Light System to SBC™
Cutting-edge Mercedes innovations also mean the four-door concept coupé excels in terms of safety equipment, with a specification that includes adaptive front airbags as well as two-stage belt force limiters and high-performance belt tensioners for all four seats. Not to mention sidebags and windowbags.
Further innovations that are features of the Vision CLS include bi-xenon headlamps, Active Light System, automatic Cornering Light and the electrohydraulic brake system SBC™, all of which ensure safer motoring and minimise the risk of accidents. In addition, SBC™ incorporates unique convenience functions such as "Softstop" for stopping smoothly in heavy traffic, "Anti-stall Assist" to make hill-starts easier and "Tailback Assist", an aid that enables drivers to apply the brakes in stop-and-go traffic simply by releasing the accelerator.
Engine & performance:
Type: diesel, 6-cylinder
Power: 265 hp
Torque: 560 Nm @ 2000 rpm
Top speed: 250 km/h
0-100 km/h: 6.4 s
Fuel comsumption: 7.5 l / 100 km
Front: 255/35 R19
Rear: 285/30 R19
Length: 4910 mm
Width: 1851 mm
Height: 1391 mm
Wheelbase: 2854 mm