If looking good is half the battle, competing luxury "four-door coupes" have much to fear from the third-generation 2019 Mercedes -Benz CLS. It looks to win the war.
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The latest version of the car that pioneered the category, and should continue to own it, also is pioneering the latest in Mercedes ' Sensual Purity design language. It's the best-looking four-door Mercedes this side of the drop-dead-gor Geo us Mercedes -AMG GT Concept unveiled in April at the 2017 New York auto show.
The CLS' clean exterior is all smooth shapes and surfaces, with fewer lines and a welcome absence of badge clutter save Mercedes ' signature three-point stars front and rear. The interior reflects the look and wide glass-panel dashboard of the 2018 S-Class sedans, but with an added grace in the waved upholstery lines and stitching. The silver metal speaker pods that dot the headliner and match the door's speaker grilles are art objects in themselves.
And that's all good for a vehicle type in which function follows form. These are four-door cars willing to sacrifice some practical niceties, such as backseat headroom, for sleek lines that disguise their sedan roots. At more than 6 feet tall, I took some folding to get in back and my head brushed the roof. And it's nominally now a five-seat car, with one more seat than last year (but not really). But, hey, do you want Louboutin pumps or Ugg boots? And the CLS continues to do this dance better than the competition, such as the BMW 6 Series Gran Coupe or Porsche Panamera.
The new CLS isn't just a pretty face, though. Under the smooth clamshell hood beats a new Mercedes -Benz inline-six, an inherently smooth Used Engine configuration, that puts out 362 horsepower and is enhanced with an integrated, high-tech 48-volt electric motor and battery system that both adds power (21 horsepower) and improves efficiency.
The new CLS, on sale in the fall of 2018, also includes all the tech and luxurious pampering expected in this upper class. It adds most of the updated driver assistance technology and interior pampering from the S-Class sedan, including a cabin "wellness" system.
But you get the CLS in a striking package that is just more personal than the big sedan, as well as being a car that a more practical, less fashionable car buyer — much less an SUV shopper — wouldn't touch. That's sort of the point.
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