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June 2006 Press Release from Mercedes-Benz Bookmark

The new Mercedes-Benz CL-Class:

Masterpiece among the luxury coupes

Stuttgart -- The launch of the new CL-Class in autumn 2006 will be the culmination of a Mercedes-Benz coupe tradition going back over 50 years. The two-door model combines peerless exclusivity and charismatic design with the sort of cutting-edge technology that no other manufacturer can match worldwide.
The luxury Coupe raises the bar in terms of vehicle safety with the PRE-SAFE brakes: the unique system automatically brakes the Coupe before an imminent rear-end collision. Furthermore, Mercedes innovations such as the Active Body Control (ABC) suspension system, the Intelligent Light System with five lighting functions and PRE-SAFE anticipatory occupant protection all come as standard. Two powerful engines with 8 or 12 cylinders are available, delivering a notable increase in output and torque. Thanks to their exemplary smoothness they also live up to the Mercedes heritage of superb motoring refinement.

The large Mercedes Coupes have been synonymous with style and exclusivity in the automotive industry for decades. They set the standard in terms of design and equipment, combine exemplary safety with an outstanding level of comfort and assured handling. In short, Mercedes Coupes are extraordinary dream cars -- automobile classics.

The new CL-Class is another Mercedes-Benz masterpiece. Just as the luxury coupe points the way to the future with its innovative technology, the design has also set the mould for a new Mercedes style. Its hallmark is the interaction between distinctive tightly drawn lines with large, unruffled surfaces. This design idiom lends the Coupe its own particular expressive power, emphasising the calm and power of its powerful, self-confident nature.


 

Familiar Mercedes features have been given a contemporary twist, resulting in a harmonious blend of the classic and contemporary. Examples include the hallmark Mercedes radiator grille with its wide chrome louvres and the design of the C-pillar. The unique, slightly downwards-tapering pillar configuration is a typical feature of the large Mercedes Coupes whose roots go right back to the 1950s: in 1956 the
220 S/SE Coupe (W 180/W 128 model series) first captured attention with this striking C-pillar design, and a few years later the concept was further refined in the successor model, the 220 SE Coupe (W 111/112).

Other design features which were already acclaimed back then have also been reinterpreted for the CL-Class, keeping alive the large coupe tradition of the Mercedes-Benz brand: the fully retractable side windows, for instance, whose continuous aperture is not interrupted by a B-pillar, and the large, curving panoramic rear window. In the early days this was a typical styling feature of the Mercedes Coupes, and in its stylistically evolved form for the new CL-Class it is just as appealing as in the 220 SE Coupe of 1961.

Interior: equipment for even the most discerning driver

Style finds its way into the interior too: the large side window aperture draws the eye to the stylish dashboard, exquisite wood trim and soft leather upholstery. In an instant you realise that everything in the interior of the new CL-Class is designed for comfort and relaxation. The atmosphere is reminiscent of an exclusive club: take a seat and enjoy. Five stylish colour combinations are available; automatic climate control, COMAND with car radio and CD/DVD player as well as a glass sunroof are all part of the standard specification, elements that come together to deliver a unique motoring and comfort experience.

In the top-of-the-line CL 600 the Exclusive PASSION leather appointments, specially selected poplar wood and an Alcantara roof liner with quilted seams provide the finishing touches to an exquisite first-class ambience, a look and feel also echoed in the seats with their designo styling, the chromed door sill panels and floor mats with leather edging. The standard specification also includes dynamic multicontour seats with massage function and seat ventilation, the hard-disc navigation system
COMAND APS, the LOGIC7 surround sound system with DVD changer and the
KEYLESS-GO access and drive authorisation system.

Compared with the outgoing model, the new Mercedes-Benz top-of-the-range coupe has grown slightly in every dimension. 5065 millimetres long, 1871 millimetres wide and 1418 millimetres high, the body is 75 millimetres longer, 14 millimetres wider and 20 millimetres higher than before, providing even more comfort and space on all four seats. The boot capacity has been increased by 40 litres to 490 litres (VDA measuring method).

Control system: fewer switches for more functions

A newly developed control system, which has already been successfully implemented in the S‑Class worldwide, refines driver-vehicle interaction even further. Above all, it provides convenient, rapid access to frequently used functions such as car radio, DVD player, car phone or navigation system. Depending on the driver's own preference, these systems can be controlled using switches in the centre console, pressing a button on the multifunction steering wheel or using the COMAND controller on the centre console. This central control unit is linked to the large, pivoting COMAND colour display next to the instrument cluster, providing access to the user-friendly main and sub-menus that activate the various functions.

The standard-fit automatic climate control with four independently adjustable temperature zones is also integrated into the new control system. The driver and front passenger can select temperature, air distribution and other settings either using the COMAND controller and menu-based control, or by means of an attractively styled switch array beneath the air vents. The COMAND system allows other individual climate settings to be adjusted such as air distribution and the footwell temperature.

The newly developed integral seats in the CL-Class provide maximum individual seating comfort. 'Integral' means that all components of the seat-belt system are incorporated directly into the seat; hence the seats form an important component in the occupant protection system. The standard specification already provides electric adjustment of the fore-aft setting, inclination of the seat and backrest, seat height, head restraint and length of the front seat cushions. Pneumatic lumbar supports allow the driver and front passenger to adjust the backrest contour to suit their build and consequently reduce the strain on the back muscles.

Optional extras include luxury seats with active ventilation (standard in the CL 600) that provide even more individual comfort, along with the further enhanced multicontour seats with nine air cushions, and dynamic multicontour seats with massage function (standard in the CL 600).

The driver and front passenger seats with multicontour function have been awarded the AGR ('healthy back campaign') seal of approval.

Active Body Control: the perfect combination of dynamism and comfort

The standard specification in the new Mercedes Coupe 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 to reduce drag and improve handling stability.

Intelligent Light System: five lighting functions to match driving and weather conditions

The Intelligent Light System, which makes driving even safer in the dark, is equally unique. Together with bi-xenon headlamps it forms part of the standard specification for the new CL-Class and provides five different lighting functions that are activated to match driving and weather conditions: the new country road mode illuminates the driver's-side edge of the road more widely and brightly than the existing low-beam headlamps.

Motorway mode, which comes on automatically when driving above 90 km/h, delivers a uniform cone of light that illuminates the entire road width. In the centre of this cone the driver is able to see around 50 metres further. The enhanced fog lamps are also new, which Mercedes-Benz uses to provide better orientation in adverse weather conditions. Active light function and cornering light function are also part of the standard-fit Intelligent Light System on the CL‑Class.

PRE-SAFE: automatic partial braking before an impending accident

Mercedes-Benz is the world's first car brand to develop an anticipatory occupant protection system that recognises a potential accident situation in its early stages and takes anticipatory occupant protection measures: PRE-SAFE is standard-fit on the new CL-Class. During emergency braking or when skidding is imminent, the system moves the passenger seat into the most favourable position so that seat belts and airbags have maximum effect on impact. It also inflates air cushions in the dynamic multicontour seats (standard in the CL 600), which envelop and support the driver and front passenger. PRE-SAFE also closes the side windows and the sunroof in critical situations where high lateral dynamics are generated.

Mercedes-Benz has just made this multi-award-winning anticipatory protection system even better in the CL-Class with the newly developed PRE-SAFE brakes. They operate in tandem with Brake Assist PLUS (BAS PLUS), which warns the driver of an imminent rear-end collision with visual and audible signals and automatically calculates the required braking pressure to prevent an accident. This braking-power support is available as soon as the brake pedal is operated. If the driver does not react to the BAS PLUS warnings, the PRE-SAFE brakes trigger automatic partial braking where an accident is imminent and slow the CL‑Class down using around 40 percent of the total braking power.


 

The automatic partial braking provides the driver with another clear warning to act. If the driver then immediately applies the brakes, the maximum braking force is available and the accident can -- depending on the situation -- be averted at the last moment. If an accident is unavoidable, the PRE-SAFE brakes reduce the impact severity and, in turn, the risk of injury to the vehicle occupants.

As with Brake Assist PLUS, the new PRE-SAFE brakes also utilise state-of-the-art radar technology to scan the situation in front of the car and detect a potential accident. Two short-range radar sensors with a range of 30 metres and a scanning angle of 80° are located behind the front bumper fascia on the CL-Class. The additional long-range radar in the radiator grille has a range of 150 metres.

Mercedes-Benz also offers BAS PLUS and PRE-SAFE brakes in conjunction with the optional DISTRONIC PLUS proximity cruise control.

Assistance systems: radar sensors make parking child's play

The newly developed parking guidance system (optional extra) 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 then 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, reversing camera, voice control for car radio, DVD changer and navigation as well as 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 Coupe is ready for any challenge on motorways and rural roads thanks to Mercedes' most powerful 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, 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.


 

Tradition: seven generations of the Mercedes-Benz Coupe

The new CL-Class ushers in the seventh generation of the large Mercedes Coupes. The two-door model replaces the world-beating outgoing model, which joins the ranks of the best-selling luxury coupes with around 46,800 units sold.

The history of the large Mercedes Coupes stretches back to 1952 when Mercedes‑Benz launched the legendary 300 S Coupe -- a 'car for the world's elite' was the verdict of the motoring press in its day. In 1956 it was followed by the 220 S Coupe as part of the W 180 model series, which fired the public's imagination with its unitised 'Pontoon' body in particular. And in 1961 the 220 SEb Coupe (W 111 model series) took up the baton with its stylish elongated body.

In 1981 the SEC Coupes from the C 126 model series were based on the then S‑Class and remained in the Mercedes-Benz line-up for 10 years with over 74,000 units produced. In 1992 the Geneva Motor Show was host to the launch of the successor model (C 140 model series), powered for the first time by a 290 kW/394 hp twelve-cylinder engine. The predecessor to the new CL-Class Coupe celebrated its world premiere in March 1999, setting new standards with leading‑edge Mercedes innovations such as the Active Body Control (ABC) suspension system and bi-xenon headlamps.

Mercedes-Benz has built over 178,000 luxury coupes since 1952.

 

Design

Sheer passion

--         Another example of a new Mercedes design idiom

--         Interplay between taut lines and calm, elegantly contoured surfaces

--         Modern interpretation of traditional coupe characteristics

--         Serene luxury and the highest quality in the interior

Breaking new ground and setting trends - that is the goal of Mercedes design development. It reflects the principle of Mercedes-Benz never to stand still, but always to think further and stay ahead.

The new CL-Class is a prime example of this philosophy: just as this luxury coupe with its innovative technology points the way into the future, its design joins the
S-Class in being a protagonist for a new aesthetic appearance - a new Mercedes style. It is based on the principles of modern purism, i.e. on a clear, unostentatious design idiom with interplay between striking lines and calm surfaces. This lends the Coupe a very special presence, underlining the unruffled calm and strength of its unique character.

Yet design progress at Mercedes-Benz also always means creating a link with the past to emphasise the heritage of passenger cars bearing the Mercedes star. This is done by including familiar Mercedes characteristics, which are reinterpreted and incorporated into the design concept to form an exciting composition of progress and tradition. One example is the front end, where the louvred radiator grille with its central Mercedes star unmistakably confirms the car's identity. The designers in Sindelfingen have positioned this traditional feature of sporty Mercedes models at a steeper angle than in the preceding series, also equipping it with wide, highly expressive chrome louvres. This contributes to the extremely powerful and self-assured appearance of the new CL-Class, which is further reinforced by the more pronounced wedge shape of the entire front end.


 

The headlamps are highlights in two respects. In technical terms, with the Intelligent Light System, they represent the very best available anywhere, while in styling terms they are one of the most striking features of this Mercedes Coupe and lend a special touch to its overall appearance. The bi-xenon module and an additional high-beam headlamp are enclosed in highly polished cylinders reminiscent of expensive camera lenses, suggesting attributes such as precision, high value and high-tech.

Viewed from the front, the transparent lenses of the headlamps form a single unit with the radiator grille which impressively emphasises the visual width of the vehicle body. The side view shows that the headlamps are perfectly blended into the wings, creating a flowing transition from the front end to the flanks. As a result the entire front section appears to have been moulded from a single piece. The indicator strip horizontally arranged in the lower headlamp section harmoniously follows the sweeping contours of the front bumper, which likewise extends well into the flanks to frame the lighting units.

Wings: expressive anatomy

The eye is directed towards the wheel arches and wings, where new highlights are to be found in the body language of the Mercedes Coupe. The stylishly contoured wings enable the two-door car to flex its muscles discreetly yet purposefully. Intentionally rather taut and physical, the pronounced, rounded contours of the wings arch over the wheels and symbolise the power residing beneath the elegant outer skin of the CL-Class.

Athleticism coupled with serenity, power with prestige: the body "anatomy" created by the designers ensures that from every angle, the two-door Coupe has a wide, self-assured presence on the road. The interplay between lines and surfaces is equally expressive, as the soft, rounded forms of the bumper and wings contrast with the taut outside lines of the bonnet - visual demarcation lines which lend additional contours to the front end and mark a transition to the large, calm surface of the bonnet itself.


 

The sharp outer lines of the bonnet have another importance for the design concept, as they form a gentle, flowing transition to the A-pillars, elegantly connecting the front end to the passenger compartment.

Flanks: intriguing lines

One of the distinguishing aspects of the modern purism inherent in the new Mercedes style is the interplay between taut lines and elegantly contoured, calm surfaces. A coupe like the CL-Class particularly lends itself to this design theme: two lines drawn at different heights give the flanks their formal structure, subdivide the large areas and act as major styling features to define the dignified appearance of the car's elongated silhouette. These lines have a special visual impact, attract attention and appeal to the emotions of the observer.

The designers refer to one of these lines as the character line; this structures the upper third of the vehicle flanks, also providing an appealing refractive edge between the concave and convex door surfaces. In this way the design uses light and shadow very effectively, ensuring a variety of contrasts when viewed from any perspective. At the rear this character line precisely meets the rear light cluster, which extends well into the flanks and continues its course gently downwards.

The shoulder line lies above the character line, emerging organically from the front wings and extending to the rear above the waistline. This muscular shoulder supports the slim, almost filigree A-pillar which in turn gives rise to the third characteristic line of the Mercedes Coupe, namely the roofline. This spans the body in a light but pronounced curve, defines the line of the C-pillar and gently dips down with it into the rear end of the Mercedes Coupe. A fine chrome strip on the upper frame of the side windows follows the roofline and emphasises its curved contour.


 

C-pillar: living tradition

The design of the C-pillar demonstrates how Mercedes designers are at pains to combine tradition with modernity. This unique, slightly tapering pillar configuration is a typical coupe feature whose roots go right back to the 1950s: in 1956 the Model 220 S/SE Coupe (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 successor model, the 220 SE Coupe (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 coupe 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 window. In the early years this was a typical styling feature of Mercedes Coupes, and in its stylistically evolved form it is just as appealing as in the 220 SE Coupe of 1961.

Rear aspect: back beauty

The masterly blend of surfaces and lines which characterises the flanks of the luxury Coupe is continued at the rear. The eye is immediately drawn to the large, panoramic rear window, which makes for a rounded, exquisitely modelled rear end together with the soft lines of the C-pillar and the boot lid. The rear light clusters extending well into the sides of the rear end are intended to shorten the visual impression of the rear and create sporty, muscular proportions. Both rear light clusters act as a continuation of the character lines along the flanks, cleverly extending these by means of a colour division in the lens, and thereby act together with the V-shaped joins of the boot lid to produce the typical Mercedes rear-end design.

The rear-end design makes a statement on two levels: by virtue of its muscular proportions it confirms the sporty attributes of the new CL Coupe, which are also emphasised by the horizontally structured rear bumper and the two prominent exhaust tailpipes. On the other hand the beautifully sculptured rear light clusters, the wide chrome strip on the boot lid and other details provide a touch of elegance. They dominate the overall visual impression and thereby reflect the true character of the Mercedes Coupe.

Interior: welcome to the club

There is no doubt that the sweeping flanks are the most appealing visual aspects of the new CL-Class - especially when the windows are open to afford an unimpeded view of the interior. No window frame or B-pillar interrupts this continuous aperture. This is where the fascination of a coupe begins, blending the exterior and interior into a single unit for the observer.

The large window aperture invites the eye into the interior, where it is drawn to the attractive contours of the dashboard. It immediately becomes obvious that everything in the interior is designed for comfort and relaxation. The atmosphere is like that of an exclusive club: take a seat and let the senses of vision, smell and touch be spoiled by pleasing forms, fine materials, tasteful colour combinations and the unmistakable attention to detail for which Mercedes designers are known.

This first impression - seeing and feeling - is without doubt always the most important when it comes to emotional appeal. Nonetheless a car must demonstrate its qualities on a daily basis, both on short trips and on long journeys. It must therefore possess further attributes if the atmosphere of wellbeing created by its designers is to endure - good ergonomics, comfort and reliable technology to relieve the driver's workload. In these areas too the CL‑Class sets new standards among luxury coupes: spaciousness, freedom of movement, quiet-running characteristics, seating quality, operating comfort and typical Mercedes innovations make the driving experience perfect -- in every respect.

The interior design reflects these strengths. In the area of the dashboard and centre console it has a vertically arranged architecture which already proved highly successful in the preceding series. It is in line with current design concepts for sporty auto-mobiles and shows that in addition to elegance and exclusivity, the CL-Class is certainly no slouch in the performance stakes. By virtue of the vertically arranged design principle, the centre console and tunnel lining form a single stylistic and functional unit which extends right back into the rear, carries important control features such as the COMAND controller and provides a great deal of stowage space. In addition, the continuous tunnel lining with its comfortable armrest emphasises the spacious dimensions of the interior.

Materials: only the very finest

It is immediately obvious to anybody sitting in one of the integral seats that the new CL-Class fits like a glove. Everything is perfectly coordinated: form, colours and materials. There is a choice of five tasteful colour combinations: black/black, basalt grey/dark basalt grey, cognac brown/black, savanna beige/cashmere beige and sahara beige/black.

Mercedes customers are also able to satisfy their individual wishes with a choice of exotic wood trim for the centre console, doors and rear side panels: even the burr walnut coming from California is available in two variations - with a dark gloss or matt silk finish. Black ash wood is another option, and hand-picked poplar wood is specially reserved for the CL 600. In the top-of-the-line V12 model it is also used for the wood/leather steering wheel and for the handrest of the COMAND controller.

The seat upholstery is also to the highest standards. Three different grades of leather are available, all with a low level of pre-tensioning for a ruffled effect and a soft, comfortable appearance even at first glance. This appealing visual impression is enhanced even further by the feel of the particularly soft PASSION leather upholstery.
If Exclusive PASSION leather upholstery is ordered as an optional extra (standard in the CL 600), the dashboard, centre console and interior door panels are also lined in this fine nappa leather. Choosing this top-of-the-line interior means that the roof liner and the A and C-pillar linings are also enhanced with high-quality Alcantara -- haute couture on wheels.


 

At a glance: design and equipment features of the CL-Class*

CL 500

 

CL 600

--         Wood trim in black ash wood, alternatively dark or matt silk burr walnut

 

--         Poplar wood trim with wood/leather steering wheel

 

--         Leather upholstery

--         Exclusive PASSION leather interior with Alcantara roof liner

 

--         Stainless steel entry sills

--         Chromed entry sills and chromed loading sill in boot

 

--         17-inch light-alloy wheels in

        seven-spoke design

 

--         18-inch light-alloy wheels in a special V12 design

 

 

--         designo seats

 

 

--         Brake callipers with Mercedes-Benz lettering

 

 

--         Chrome inserts on lower air intake and chromed fog lamp surrounds

 

 

--         V12 emblem on both front wings

 

 

 

*Selection

Control system: intuitive interface

"User interface design" is a new term in the world of automotive development. It refers to the clear layout and design of the dashboard displays, switches and controls, so that the driver intuitively understands their functions while they blend attractively into the overall design concept. The new CL-Class also sets standards in this field.

The newly developed control system combines high-quality materials and elegant surroundings with an appealing clarity and exemplary practicality. The engineers and designers have worked together closely to ensure that the visual appearance and technology are in harmony.


 

Immediately obvious features include the luxurious switches and controls, which are all designed in a uniform style: all the switches, keys and rotary controls are of aluminium, or have a finely structured metallic surface, which lends them an appearance of being cast in the same mould. The highly polished black display surfaces form a pleasant contrast to the metallic, silver-coloured switches. They are internally illuminated and carry symbols to denote their function.

The designers and engineers had the shared aim of reducing the number of switches and controls. Important functions still remain directly accessible to the driver; while less frequently used systems can be conveniently controlled using COMAND. Controls with similar functions have been grouped into arrays, for example the seat adjustment controls, the switches for the power windows or the air conditioning/ventilation controls. Many of these function groups feature fine chrome surrounds which further underline the very high quality of this top-class Mercedes Coupe. The effect is also enhanced by the COMAND controller and the handrest with its fine leather or exotic wood trim. Beneath its lid - as if nestling in a jewel case - lies the telephone handset.

The designers were also responsible for the appearance of the displays and controls, therefore the lettering, graphics and layout bear a uniform signature. To create a user-friendly display interface the specialists developed photo-realistic illustrations which clearly and logically support the relevant control process. For the COMAND display they developed an intuitive and easily operated menu system, placing great emphasis on large, easily legible lettering and a clear structure to ensure that operation is as simple and precise as possible.

 

 

Coupe tradition

For the most discerning

--         Elite on wheels: seven Coupe generations with the Mercedes star

--         Common characteristics: the latest technology and sophisticated design

For many decades, coupes by Mercedes-Benz have been synonymous with elegance and exclusivity in automotive engineering. An extraordinary design, high-quality appointments and trailblazing technology come together as a style-defining unit. The principle of distinctiveness extends from the 300 S Coupe of 1952 right up to the new CL-Class. But for all their technical refinements, the coupes also give rise to emotions. Their appearance is a delight to the senses.

Building exceptional motor vehicles was already a carefully and intensively maintained tradition at Mercedes-Benz before the Second World War. The rare Coupe versions of the supercharged models bearing the Mercedes star on their bonnets, which were produced between 1934 and 1939, are rightly seen as a unique phenomenon on the roads, for example.

Mercedes-Benz built on this tradition only a few years after the end of the war at the 1951 Paris Motor Show, where it presented the 300 S Coupe, the S-Class Coupe of the W 188 model series. In doing so Mercedes-Benz not only showed that it was worthwhile investing creative potential in the future; it was also presenting a cultural phenomenon with the 300 S Coupe. The car combined a successful design, exclusive appointments and the best vehicle technology of its day into a style-defining whole. It also marked the rebirth of a Mercedes-Benz tradition which has remained alive to this day: the tradition of great coupes with their visionary symbiosis of perfectionism and emotion.
1952: The 300 S Coupe makes its mark

Looking back from today's standpoint, the 1950s appear to be a retrospectively oriented utopian decade. At the time nobody knew what lay ahead, though it was clear that the debris left over from the Second World War had to be removed as soon as possible. The most visible signs of the general desolation were the roads, which were in an appalling condition. The traffic density in Germany was 19 cars per 1000 inhabitants.

It was against this social background that Mercedes-Benz launched the 300 S Coupe in the W 188 model series, which had been presented at the Paris Motor Show in autumn 1951 and entered series production in summer 1952. The motoring press referred to it as a "car for the world's elite". With this highly acclaimed top-of-the-line model the Stuttgart company not only demonstrated its outstanding engineering expertise, but also its future-oriented entrepreneurial spirit.

It was particularly the design of this Coupe that captured the attention. The sweeping wings and stretched bonnet produced "traditional and, in this case, particularly noble contours", to quote a comment made at the time. Furthermore, the "calm, dignified lines in exquisite harmony with a modern design" had a tangible aura of power. In this respect it also reflected the resurgent spirit of the time.

The refined, sporty Coupe was equipped with a 110 kW/150 hp six-cylinder engine and was capable of 175 km/h. How seriously Mercedes-Benz took its enthusiastic target group, which included the American film stars Gary Cooper and Errol Flynn, became obvious in 1955, when the company presented a revised model, the 300 Sc Coupe. The engine now had an injection pump rather than the previous carburettor, and the output had increased to 128 kW/175 hp.

The 300 S and 300 Sc Coupes rounded the post-war product range of Mercedes‑Benz off at the top end, and at the same time continued a tradition which had already begun in the 1930s: producing prestigious cars with a sporty touch for the most discerning customers. The very few remaining post-war Coupes - only 314 were produced between 1952 and 1958 - are among the most sought-after collectors' items and change hands at the highest prices at auctions.

1956: debut of the "Sindelfingen body"

By the mid-1950s the "post-war years" were well and truly over. The tentative economic resurgence in Germany had developed into a boom which has gone down in history as the "economic miracle". During the four years from 1952, car ownership doubled to 40 per 1000 inhabitants.

When Mercedes-Benz presented the 220 S Coupe in the W 180 series in 1956, the motoring world referred to it as the "Sindelfingen body", as the car had been created at the development centre in Sindelfingen. With its two doors, flowing roofline and prominent, curved rear window, the 220 S Coupe once again showed powerful and elegant contours. Large bumpers and fog lamps characterised the front end. The most striking feature was the three-fold division of the passenger cell, front end and rear end into a characteristic form which quickly led to the nickname "Pontoon' Mercedes (i.e. with a self-supporting body‑chassis structure) - a term which has gone down in automotive history. In fact this was a pioneering new design, and a totally new approach to occupant protection: the self-supporting body, which deforms under impact and therefore absorbs energy instead of transferring it to the occupants.

The characteristic "Pontoon" models in this series were first introduced with a 100 hp engine, including the Coupes. Shortly afterwards the engine output was increased to 78 kW/106 hp. Responding to customer wishes for increased performance, Mercedes-Benz offered a petrol injection system in the 220 SE (W 128 series) at a price of 1900 Marks from September 1958, and this increased the output to 85 kW/115 hp. Like the 300 S Coupe of 1952, the "Pontoon" Coupes of the W 180 and W 128 model series demonstrated that imaginative design, trailblazing technology and driving pleasure were not mutually exclusive, but were in fact expected by the customers. A total of 2081 examples of the 220 S and 220 SE Coupes were produced, and these too are highly sought-after collectors' items. 


 

1961: the 220 SEb Coupe climbs the pinnacle of elegance

In 1961 yet another coupe was in the limelight at Mercedes-Benz, when the 220 SEb Coupe in the W 111 series was presented during the opening ceremony for the new Museum at the plant in Stuttgart-Untertürkheim on February 24. Once again the designers had demonstrated their creativity and unerring sense of style. This elegant and prestigious coupe possessed a compelling aura, while power and comfort blended to form a harmonious whole which was already visible externally. The tailfins which adorned the saloon models were now only vestigial, thereby reinforcing the flowing lines. The car's well-balanced design dispensed with any form of styling gimmickry. Moreover, this fully-fledged four-seater with plenty of space for longer journeys had been developed from the ground up.

Car density in Germany had more than doubled once again since 1956. It now stood at 95 cars per 1000 inhabitants, though the quality of the road surfaces was still rather variable. The designers at Mercedes-Benz had planned ahead, however: the 220 SEb Coupe was the first series production car by Mercedes-Benz to feature disc brakes at the front. The six-cylinder engine developed an output of 88 kW/120 hp, enough for high average speeds on long journeys. The 300 SE Coupe in the W 112 model series of 1962 featured a four-speed automatic transmission, air suspension and power steering as standard, in line with customer expectations. The popularity of these models was spectacularly reflected in the production figures: more than ten times as many W 111 and W 112-series Coupes were built as the preceding "Pontoon" models, namely 28,918 units.


 

1981: a new departure for the Coupes

When the Mercedes 380 SEC Coupe and 500 SEC Coupe in the C 126 model series were presented in 1981, the designers and engineers had returned to the S-Class rather than the SL-Class as the basis for the Coupes. This initially meant that their dimensions were slightly increased. The design of the new Coupe was also derived from the four-door saloons, with elegant and harmonious contours. Its aura was one of even more raw power and agility, however: the body designers had pulled off the remarkable achievement of clothing an extremely muscular body in a finely tailored jacket.

The expectations of car buyers increased. Mercedes-Benz engineers met the demands for more output with V8 engines for the new Coupes, which had also been thoroughly revised to achieve lower fuel consumption and exhaust emissions as part of the "Mercedes-Benz Energy Concept". The output of the 380 SEC Coupe was 150 kW/204 hp, that of the 500 SEC Coupe 170 kW/231 hp. As a motoring magazine wrote at the time: "The feeling of spaciousness and visibility are quite excellent, the SEC appears to drive itself."

The excitement generated by the new, large Coupe was not least confirmed by the sales figures, with 74,060 units of the W 126 series produced. These Coupes, which many aficionados regard as "the ultimate touring car", are now among the most sought-after young classics produced by Mercedes-Benz. They combine technical progress in performance and handling safety with the traditional standards of exclusivity and comfort.

1992: building on tradition and success

In 1992 Mercedes-Benz chose major international events as the stage for a new launch: the world debut of the new SEC Coupe in the W 140 model series took place in January, at the North American International Auto Show in Detroit, and the European debut followed two months later at the Geneva Motor Show.


 

Although the SEC Coupes adopted certain technical features from the
S-Class Saloon presented in 1991, their design was definitely distinctive. What is more, they illustrated the tradition of coupe design and engineering at Mercedes-Benz in a quite remarkable way. Clear, calm shapes with discreet, powerful lines exuded dynamism, elegance and unpretentious sportiness. This was an unbeatable combination for coupe enthusiasts, and it once again underlined the unique status of Mercedes Coupes on the world market. Two variants were initially available: the
500 SEC with a V8 engine and the 600 SEC with a V12 unit, generating an output of 235 kW/320 hp and 290 kW/394 hp respectively to match the Saloons. Both were equipped with numerous extras ex factory, and represented the pinnacle of the passenger car range.

Demand for the exclusive coupes by Mercedes-Benz remained unbroken in 1992, however the expectations of customers seemed to be rising in parallel with the general level of car ownership - in 1992 this reached the unheard-of figure of 502 per 1000 inhabitants. Theoretically it would be possible to seat the entire population on the front seats of the German car fleet. In order to meet the great demand for luxury coupes, the Mercedes Coupe family was reinforced with the 205 kW/279 hp
S 420 in March 1994. In May 1995 the Electronic Stability Program was first introduced in the S 600 Coupe. Once again Mercedes-Benz had confirmed its pioneering role in the field of handling safety. The response by the market was emphatic, as 26,022 units of the C 140 series were produced.

1999: into the new millennium with the CL-Class

World debut at the Geneva Motor Show in March 1999, where the innovative Mercedes-Benz CL-Class Coupe (C 215 series) was first presented to the public. In terms of design, engines and appointments this model impressively demonstrated the undiminished innovative strength of the Stuttgart-based manufacturer. The new design lines were unmistakable from the start: the long, flat bonnet, the dynamically arched roofline, the striking rear end and the expressive reinterpretation of the now familiar twin-headlamp face produced a form which exuded both sporty performance and elegance. Athleticism was incomparably combined with suppleness. Continuous side windows and the lack of B-pillars made the vehicle body appear light. This highly acclaimed coupe immediately claimed the throne in this elite market, and was soon among the world's most desirable luxury coupes.

The engines Mercedes-Benz offered with this extraordinary coupe did it full justice: the top-of-the-line CL 600 was equipped with a newly developed, smooth-running twelve-cylinder power unit developing 270 kW/367 hp and a torque of 530 Nm. The "smaller" CL 500 featured the 225 kW/306 hp V8 engine. The new Mercedes coupe also featured innovations as standard which no other car in the world could boast at the time of its presentation, first and foremost the innovative Active Body Control (ABC) suspension system. Other standard features included an extensive safety package, with front airbags, sidebags and windowbags.

In the autumn of 2002 the V12 engine in the CL 600 was upgraded by the addition of biturbo supercharging and related measures which brought its output up to 368 kW/500 hp; at a boost pressure of one bar it delivered a maximum torque of 800 Newton metres from an engine speed of just 1800 rpm - 36 percent more output and 51 percent more torque than the previous 12-cylinder unit. This meant that the Coupe could accelerate from zero to 100 km/h in 4.8 seconds, and on up to an (electronically governed) top speed of 250 km/h.

As of autumn 2002, Active Body Control (ABC) was modified for all versions: the system now took the overall weight of the car at any given moment into account when computing the suspension control forces required. The result was that handling characteristics remained more or less the same no matter how the car was laden. Among other product enhancement measures at the time was even more sophisticated safety equipment, including what are known as up-front sensors in the front end of the bodywork, which can detect the severity of a crash early on in the process and thereby control front passenger airbag deployment in two stages, as the situation requires. Moreover, the sensors make it possible for the belt tensioners to be activated even sooner.

The production volume of these C 215-series Coupes shows that Mercedes-Benz is firmly on the right track with this continuation of the coupe tradition, as 46,800 units had been produced by May 2006.

The tradition of modern coupes by Mercedes-Benz, with their visionary symbiosis of perfectionism and emotion, will also continue into the future. Development will continue to be based on innovative strength and a future-oriented approach which are both visible and tangible. Perfected design, exclusive appointments and state-of-the-art vehicle technology will also combine to produce a seminal stylistic unit and a class of its own in the future.

 

 

At a glance

Equipment and technical highlights of the new

CL-Class*

7G-TRONIC seven-speed automatic transmission: The world's only automatic car transmission with seven gears works in tandem with DIRECT SELECT, the electronic control system.

 

Standard

in the CL 500

 

Active Body Control: The active suspension is even more sophisticated than before, delivering superb comfort and dynamic handling.

 

Standard

 

Active light function: The headlamps in the Intelligent Light System follow the driver's steering movements.

 

Standard

 

Adaptive brake lights: Flashing brake lights warn drivers behind in emergency braking situations.

Standard

 

 

ADAPTIVE BRAKE: The newly developed braking system provides driver assistance functions to make hill-starts and driving in heavy traffic easier.

 

Standard

Adaptive front airbags: The front airbags are deployed in two stages depending on impact severity.

 

Standard

Automatic climate control: The newly developed system operates with four temperatures zones and provides numerous settings for individual climate control.

 

Standard

Belt force limiters: This technology reduces the belt forces acting on the occupants during a crash.

 

Standard for all seats

 

Belt tensioners: Any slack in the seat belt is instantly taken up in a crash.

 

Standard for all seats

 

Bi-xenon headlamps: Gas-discharge lamps for main and low beam improve safety when driving at night.

 

Standard

Brake Assist PLUS: The radar-based system identifies critical situations involving a rear-end collision and calculates the required braking power to prevent a possible accident. The optimum braking pressure is available immediately when braking.

Optional in conjunction with DISTRONIC PLUS

 

Child seat recognition: A transponder system automatically detects whether a rear-facing child seat is installed and deactivates the front passenger airbag if this is the case.

 

Standard

COMAND APS: The navigation system data is stored on a hard disc -- making it even faster to plan the route.

 

Optional,

standard in the CL 600

COMAND: This system integrates the radio, DVD player and telephone operation.

 

Standard

Cornering light function: This lighting function in the Intelligent Light System provides enhanced safety at junctions or when driving slowly around tight bends.

 

Standard

 

Country road mode: This function in the Intelligent Light System replaces the low-beam headlamps and illuminates the driver's-side edge of the road more brightly and widely.

 

Standard

DISTRONIC PLUS: The enhanced proximity cruise control brakes the CL-Class in stop-and-go traffic down to a standstill.

 

Optional

Dynamic multicontour seat: Thanks to new piezoelectric valves the seat responds even faster to steering movements and provides superb lateral support.

 

Optional,

standard in the CL 600

Electric parking brake: Thanks to the electric motor, the parking brake can be activated comfortably and conveniently.

 

Standard

Enhanced fog lamps: This function in the Intelligent Light System means the external headlamp swivels outwards to provide better illumination of the edge of the road.

 

Standard

ESP: This driver safety system can reduce the risk of skidding when cornering and alerts the driver to any loss of tyre pressure.

 

Standard

Headlamp Assist: A sensor on the windscreen detects low light conditions and automatically switches on the vehicle lights.

 

Standard

Integral seats: The seat-belt system along with the pneumatic lumbar supports are integrated into the front seats.

 

Standard


 

 

Intelligent Light System: The new headlamp technology provides five lighting functions that are activated to match the driving and weather conditions (see also cornering light function, country road mode, motorway mode, active light function and enhanced fog lamps).

 

Standard

 

 

 

 

 

KEYLESS-GO: The doors and tailgate can be opened without using a key.

 

Optional,

standard in the CL 600

LINGUATRONIC: The voice control system can be used to operate the radio, navigation system and telephone.

 

Optional, standard in the CL 600

 

Massage function: Seven air chambers in the backrest, which fill and empty alternately, massage the back muscles.

 

Optional in conjunction with dynamic multicontour seat, standard in the CL 600

 

Memory function: Three different settings can be saved for the driver and front passenger seat respectively. The settings for steering wheel and exterior mirrors are also saved.

 

Standard

Motorway mode: From a speed of 90 km/h the entire width of the road is illuminated and the driver's range of vision is increased by around 50 metres.

 

Standard


 

Multicontour seat: Air cushions enable the seat contours to be individually adjusted to suit the occupant's body.

 

Optional for the CL 500; standard in the

CL 600 

 

Multifunction steering wheel: The radio, telephone, navigation system and other units can be operated from the steering wheel.

 

Standard

Night view assist: Infrared headlamps and a display in the cockpit significantly increase the driver's range of vision in the dark.

Optional

 

Paintwork: Nano-technology makes the standard metallic paint finish more scratch-resistant and ensures a higher sheen.

 

Standard


 

 

Parking Assist system: The system assists with parking and warns if there is a risk of a collision when reversing.

Optional in conjunction with DISTRONIC PLUS

 

Parking guidance system: Radar sensors measure the size of a parking space when driving past and a cockpit display helps the driver park in it.

 

Optional

PARKTRONIC: Ultrasound sensors assist the driver when parking.

 

Standard

Pedestrian protection: Mercedes-Benz has designed the bonnet, wings, bumpers and other components so they absorb the impact energy in the event of an accident involving a pedestrian.

 

Standard

PRE-SAFE brakes: The system initiates automatic partial braking when a rear-end collision appears imminent.

 

Optional in conjunction with DISTRONIC PLUS

 

PRE-SAFE: Anticipatory occupant protection measures are taken before an impending collision.

 

Standard

Reversing camera: The area behind the car can be seen on the display to aid reversing.

 

Optional

Seat ventilation: The further improved technology is based on six mini fans in the seat cushion and backrest.

Optional, standard in the CL 600

 

Sidebags: The side-mounted airbags (front and rear) reduce the risk of injury in a lateral collision.

 

Standard

 




 

Sound system: Multi-channel system with innovative digital technology provides surround sound on every seat.

 

Optional, standard in the CL 600

 

TV reception: The tuner receives both terrestrial digital TV (DVB-T) and analogue programmes.

Optional

 

Windowbags: The large curtain-type airbags drop down from the A-pillar to the C-pillar in the event of a side impact.

Standard

*Selected items only

Mercedes-Benz CL 500

Engine

No. of cylinders/arrangement

 

8/V, 4 valves per cylinder

Total displacement

cc

5461

Bore x stroke

mm

98.0 x 90.5

Rated output

kW/hp

285/388 at 6000 rpm

Rated torque

Nm

530 at 2800-4800 rpm

Compression ratio

 

10.7 : 1

Mixture preparation

 

Microprocessor-controlled petrol injection with hot-film mass airflow sensor

Power transfer

Drive system

 

Standard drive

Transmission

 

Seven-speed automatic transmission

Ratios

Final drive

1st gear

2nd gear

3rd gear

4th gear

5th gear

6th gear

7th gear

Reverse

2.65

4.377

2.859

1.921

1.368

1.000

0.820

0.728

-3.416/-2.231

Suspension

Front axle

Four-link axle, Active Body Control suspension system

Rear axle

Multi-link independent suspension, Active Body Control suspension system

Braking system

Disc brakes all-round, internally ventilated, perforated at the front, electrically operated drum-type parking brake at rear, ABS, Brake Assist, ESP

Steering

Speed-sensitive rack-and-pinion power steering, steering damper

Wheels

8 J x 17 ET 43

Tyres

235/55 R 17

Dimensions and weights

Wheelbase

mm

2955

Track front/rear

mm

1601/1607

Overall length

mm

5065

Overall width

mm

1871

Overall height

mm

1418

Turning circle

m

11.6

Boot capacity*

l

490

Kerb weight acc. to EC**

kg

1995

Payload (basis kerb wt. acc.
 to EC)

kg

515

Gross vehicle weight

kg

2510

Tank capacity/reserve

l

90/11

Performance and fuel consumption

Acceleration 0-100 km/h

Acceleration 60-120 km/h

s

s

5.4

5.9

Max. speed

km/h

250

Fuel consumption***

l/100 km

12.1

 

*Acc. to VDA measuring method; **Incl. 75 kg for driver and luggage; ***Combined

 

 

Mercedes-Benz CL 600

Engine

No. of cylinders/arrangement

 

12/V, 3 valves per cylinder

Total displacement

cc

5513

Bore x stroke

mm

82 x 87

Rated output

kW/hp

380/517 at 5000 rpm

Rated torque

Nm

830 at 1900-3500 rpm

Compression ratio

 

9.0 : 1

Mixture preparation

 

Microprocessor-controlled petrol injection with hot-film mass airflow sensor, biturbo system

Power transfer

Drive system

 

Standard drive

Transmission

 

Five-speed automatic transmission

Ratios

Final drive

1st gear

2nd gear

3rd gear

4th gear

5th gear

Reverse

2.65

3.60

2.19

1.41

1.0

0.83

-3.17/-1.93

Suspension

Front axle

Four-link axle, Active Body Control suspension system

Rear axle

Multi-link independent suspension, Active Body Control suspension system

Braking system

Disc brakes all-round, internally ventilated, perforated at the front, electrically operated drum-type parking brake at rear, ABS, Brake Assist, ESP

Steering

Speed-sensitive rack-and-pinion power steering, steering damper

Wheels

front: 8.5 J x 18 ET 43; rear: 9.5 J x 18 ET 43

Tyres

front: 255/45 R 18; rear: 275/45 R 18

Dimensions and weights

Wheelbase

mm

2955

Track front/rear

mm

1601/1607

Overall length

mm

5065

Overall width

mm

1871

Overall height

mm

1419

Turning circle

m

11.6

Boot capacity*

l

490

Kerb weight acc. to EC**

kg

2185

Payload (basis kerb wt. acc.
to EC)

kg

435

Gross vehicle weight

kg

2620

Tank capacity/reserve

l

90/11

Performance and fuel consumption

Acceleration 0-100 km/h

Acceleration 60-120 km/h

s

s

4.6

4.8

Max. speed

km/h

250 (limited)

Fuel consumption***

l/100 km

14.3

 

*Acc. to VDA measuring method; **Incl. 75 kg for driver and luggage; ***Combined

 

 

Model chronology

The great Mercedes Coupes

Period

Models

Engines

Total number

 

1952 - 1958

W 188

300 S (1952 - 1955)       

300 Sc (1955 - 1958)

6 in-line, 110 kW/150 hp

6 in-line, 128 kW/175 hp     

 

 

314

1956 - 1960

W 180/W 128

 

220 S (1956 - 1959)         

 

220 SE (1958 - 1960)        

6 in-line, 74 kW/100 hp;

from 8/1957: 78 kW/106 hp                                        6 in-line, 85 kW/115 hp;

from 8/1959: 88 kW/120 hp     

               

 

2081

 

1961 - 1971

W 111/112

 

220 SEb (1961 - 1965)     

250 SE (1965 - 1967)        

280 SE (1968 - 1971)      

300 SE (1962 - 1967) 

280 SE 3.5 (1969 - 1971)

6 in-line, 88 kW/120 hp

6 in-line, 110 kW/150 hp

6 in-line, 118 kW/160 hp

6 in-line, 118 kW/160 hp

V8, 148 kW/200 hp

 

 

 

 

 

28,918

1981 - 1991

C 126

380 SEC (1981 - 1985)

500 SEC (1981 - 1991)      

                                             

 

 

420 SEC (1985 - 1991)

 

 

560 SEC (1985 - 1991)

 

V8, 150 kW/204 hp

V8, 170 kW/231 hp; from 1985: 180 kW/

245 hp (with cat. conv. 164 kW/223 hp); from 9/1987: 195 kW/265 hp (with cat. conv. 185 kW/252 hp)

V8, 160 kW/218 hp (with cat. conv. 150 kW/

204 hp); from 9/1987: 170 kW/231 hp

(with cat. conv. 165 kW/224 hp)                                       

V8, 200 kW/272 hp; (with cat. conv. 178 kW/ 242 hp); from 9/1987: 220 kW/300 hp

(with cat. conv. 205 kW/279 hp)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

74,060

1992 - 1998

C 140

S 420* (1994 - 1998)

500 SEC* (1992 - 1998)

600 SEC*(1992 - 1996)       

V8, 205 kW/279 hp

V8, 235 kW/320 hp

V12, 290 kW/394 hp

 

 

 

26,022

1999 - 2006 

C 215

CL 500 (since 1999)         

CL 600 (since 2000)      

 

CL 55 AMG (since 2000) 

 

CL 63 AMG (2001-2003)

CL 65 AMG (since 2003)

V8, 225 kW/306 hp

V12, 270 kW/367 hp;

from 9/2002: 368 kW/500 hp

V8, 265 kW/360 hp

from 9/2002: 368 kW/500 hp

V8, 326 kW/444 hp

V12, 450 kW/612 hp            

 

 

 

 

 46,800

 

From 2006

C 216

 

CL 500                             

CL 600                                  

V8, 285 kW/388 hp

V12, 380 kW/517 hp

 

 

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