Luxury cars wouldn’t be the first place to look for economy, but as one of carbon tax’s prime targets they certainly could benefit from savings – so the news that Mercedes-Benz’s new CLS four-door coupé cuts fuel consumption by as much as 25 per cent compared with the old model should raise a cheer for the big guys.
And that’s been achieved despite higher power and torque outputs. The 6-cylinder CLS 350 develops 225 kW and 370 N.m, Band the V8 CLS 500 with Eco Stop-Start (both models are BlueEfficiency specification) develops 300 kW and 600 N.m.
A big chunk of the economy improvement is down to lightweight construction and better aerodynamics; drag factor has been cut to 0,26, a 13 per cent improvement.
The CLS is the first Mercedes to have frameless, all-aluminium doors, made from deep-drawn aluminium panels with extruded sections. They’re about 24 kg lighter than steel doors. The bonnet, front wings, boot lid, parcel shelf, various support profiles and much of the suspension and engines are made of aluminium.
Technological upgrades such as electromechanical power steering also help. In addition to making it easier for the steering’s dynamics to be optimised, the system only uses energy when the vehicle is actually being steered, cutting fuel consumption by up to 0,3 litres/ 100 km and CO2 by 7 g/km compared with the previous model.
Speaking of tech, the CLS is packed with driver assistance systems to prevent and reduce the severity of accidents. These include Active Blind Spot Assist and Active Lane Keeping Assist, which is linked to the car’s electronic stability control for the first time. If the car drifts over a solid line to the right or left of a lane, Active Lane Keeping Assist uses the ESP to gently brake the far-side wheels to bring it back on course.
Externally, the bold new nose is an obvious differentiating facet of the new car. According to Mercedes-Benz, the sloping line that starts at the front edge above the wings and slopes off towards the rear, called the dropping line, represents a new interpretation of a design element recalling the brand’s sports car history.
Price: R793 000 (CLS 350); R996 000 (CLS 500), including standard maintenance package of 6 years/120 000 km.