In autumn 2006 Mercedes-Benz is launching the culmination of more than 50 years of coupé tradition with the new Mercedes-Benz CL-Class. The new two-door model combines peerless exclusivity and charismatic design with trailblazing technology which no other car brand is able to offer.

The luxury coupé enters new dimensions in vehicle safety with PRE-SAFE® Brake, a unique system which automatically brakes the Coupé when a rear-end collision threatens. Standard equipment also includes Mercedes innovations such as an active ABC suspension (Active Body Control), the Intelligent Light System with five lighting functions and the anticipatory occupant protection system PRE-SAFE®. There is a choice of two powerful engines with eight or twelve cylinders. These generate significantly more output and torque, while exhibiting an exemplary smoothness which lives up to the Mercedes heritage of superb motoring refinement.

The large Mercedes Coupés have been the epitome of elegance and exclusivity in automotive engineering for many decades. They set standards in design and equipment, combining outstanding safety with the greatest comfort and a superior driving experience. In short, Mercedes Coupés are dream cars of a very special kind – automotive classics.

The new CL-Class is yet another masterpiece by Mercedes-Benz. Just as this luxury coupé points the way into the future with its innovative technology, its design is a protagonist for a new aesthetic appearance – a new Mercedes style. This is characterised by an interplay between taut, striking lines and large, tranquil surfaces. This design idiom lends the Coupé a very special presence, underlining the unruffled calm and strength of its unique character.

Familiar Mercedes characteristics are reinterpreted and incorporated into the design concept to form a harmonious composition of tradition and modernity. Examples are the typical Mercedes radiator grille with its wide chrome louvres and the design of the C-pillar. This unique, slightly downwards-tapering pillar configuration is a typical feature of the large coupés whose roots go right back to the 1950s: in 1956 the Model 220 S/SE Coupé (model series W 180/W 128) first captured attention with such a C-pillar design, and a few years later it was further perfected in the succeeding model, the 220 SE Coupé (W 111/112).

Other design features which were already acclaimed at that time have also been reinterpreted in the new CL-Class, keeping alive the great coupé tradition of the Mercedes-Benz brand: for example the fully retractable side windows, whose continuous aperture is not interrupted by a B-pillar, and the large, curving panoramic rear windscreen. In the early years this was a typical styling feature of Mercedes Coupés, and in its stylistically evolved form it is just as appealing as in the 220 SE Coupé of 1961.

Active Body Control: superb combination of dynamism and comfort
The standard specification in the new Mercedes Coupé features technological innovations that no other manufacturer can match anywhere in the world. First and foremost is the Active Body Control (ABC) suspension system, which in its latest, even more sophisticated guise delivers unprecedented handling dynamics while offering an equally appreciable improvement in ride comfort. Based on sensor signals and using specially designed hydraulic cylinders at the axles, ABC all but entirely eliminates the customary pitch and roll of the body that occur when moving off, cornering and braking. ABC responds with split-second speed to ensure the body damping is adjusted instantly to any situation. At speeds above 60 km/h, ABC lowers the body by up to ten millimetres in the “Sport” programme to reduce drag and improve handling stability Another special feature of Active Body Control is its variable distribution of body roll between the front and rear axles according to vehicle speed, which combines agile handling with outstanding stability.

Driver-support systems: radar sensors make parking child’s play
The newly developed parking guidance system (optional extra, available from December 2006) also works on the basis of radar technology: the sensors measure the length of a parking space when driving past and show on the cockpit display whether there is sufficient space to park. Once reverse gear is engaged, the display includes a symbolic representation of the parking manoeuvre; guide lines show the required steering angle and indicate the path into the parking space. Night view assist with infrared headlamps, a reversing camera, voice control for car radio, a DVD changer and navigation as well as a tyre pressure monitoring system are other optional Mercedes assistance systems for increased handling safety and comfort.

Engines: eight and twelve-cylinder powerplants with noticeably more power
The new luxury Coupé is ready for any challenge on motorways and rural roads thanks to the most powerful Mercedes engines to date. The eight-cylinder powerplant in the CL 500 delivers 285 kW/388 hp and generates a maximum torque of 530 Newton metres from 2800 rpm. As such the newly developed engine outperforms the existing V8 unit by 26 percent in terms of output and 15 percent when it comes to torque. Equipped with four-valve technology, variably adjustable shifting camshafts, a two-stage intake module and tumble flaps in the intake ducts, the new V8 is among the most advanced and powerful engines in its displacement class. The CL 500 accelerates from zero to 100 km/h in just 5.4 seconds (previous model: 6.3 seconds).

An ultra-modern biturbo twelve-cylinder engine under the bonnet of the new CL 600 generates its impressive power. Mercedes engineers have enhanced numerous details of the power unit and, compared to the predecessor model, have increased output by 12 kW/17 hp to 380 kW/517 hp. The maximum torque, already on tap from 1900 rpm, has been improved further by 30 Newton metres to 830 Newton metres and remains constant up to 3500 rpm. The new CL 600 accelerates from 0 to 100 km/h in just 4.6 seconds (previous model: 4.8 seconds). And despite the significant performance boost the V12 engine consumes 0.4 litres less fuel than the previous CL 600 per 100 kilometres.

Mercedes-Benz has combined the standard-fit automatic transmission with the new DIRECT SELECT gearshift: the driver can select the transmission settings “P”, “N”, “R” and “D” by nudging a lever on the steering column. Operating commands are transmitted electronically by wire.

Text and photos courtesy of Daimler Chrysler AG