LA 2017: Mercedes-Benz CLS

29 November 2017 | by Joe Simpson

Conceptually, this new CLS feels much closer to CLS generation I than generation II.  That’s a good thing. The side profile heralds ‘the return of the banana’, with a clean body side and overall profile that’s much closer to the first generation than the second – the rear end particularly; the C pillar and rear deck, is far more elegantly resolved than before. In the metal it doesn’t portray the scaled-up-CLA feeling that the first pictures, which leaked yesterday, seemed to suggest it might have.

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Nonetheless, it’s unusual to see a new Mercedes with a slightly uncomfortable stance. There’s a lot of volume in the body side section, which makes the wheels look too inboard, and overall they don’t sit in their openings happily.

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But we’ve spoken to several designers here in LA and the question on everyone’s lips is, why are Mercedes messing around with their DRG — particularly the grille form? Of course, the massive 3-pointed star covers a multitude of sins, and will sell the car to customers immediately. But as a set of forms? Head-on, there’s a hint of Ford Mustang about this front graphic.

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Take a couple of steps to the side and look at things from a three-quarters angle, and the new upswept lamp shape is reminiscent of Opel/Vauxhall’s new Insignia Gran Sport.

Many OEMs have struggled and continue to struggle with creating a distinctive, unique down road graphic. It wasn’t a struggle Mercedes needed to throw themselves into.

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