New 2018 Mercedes CLS confirmed for LA Motor Show

After months of spy shots, Merc’s new BMW 6 Series GranCoupe rival will be officially unveiled in Los Angeles next month.

The next-generation Mercedes CLS has been confirmed as one of the German manufacturer’s display models at this year’s Los Angeles Motor Show, which takes place between 1-10 December.

On the motor show’s website, the upcoming Audi A7 Sportback and BMW 6 Series Gran Coupe rival is listed as one of the confirmed vehicles on display. Another unnamed Mercedes will also be unveiled at the exhibition at the Los Angeles Convention Center.

While there have been no official photographs released just yet, there have been plenty of spy shots of the next-gen four-door coupe doing the rounds. Auto Express reader Martyn Peal snapped up the above photo of a camouflaged CLS in the UK, although it doesn’t reveal anything new compared to our previous spy shots of the new car undergoing assessment before its 2018 market release.

However, we do know that Mercedes will push its saloon styling to extremes for the next generation of its CLS four-door coupe – the company’s chief designer revealed so earlier this year. Underneath It will be based on the recently new E-Class and share the executive model’s engines and transmissions.

The CLS will now form part of a two-car appendix to the E-Class line-up, focusing on style and luxury. The other car, the production version of the Mercedes-AMG GT Concept – AMG’s second bespoke model – will major on performance.

Speaking at the New York Motor Show earlier this year, Mercedes chief design officer Gorden Wagener told us: “The CLS is for James Bond, and the GT Concept is for Jason Bourne. That describes the different approaches to those vehicles.

“The GT Concept is more of a four-door race car; for me the CLS is more the stylish car, the designer car – the design icon. The next generation will be even more. It’ll be a completely reduced car, with an aggressive roofline and stunning proportions, like a designer’s sketch. We thought about how to get these cars apart.”

Wagener promised that the CLS will still have space for adults in the rear. “Head clearance will stay pretty much the same,” he said. “We get bigger wheels on it, too, so we can push them up into the body. The side window profile is like a designer’s line drawing – very slim.”

Our exclusive images preview how the CLS could look in AMG trim, with the Panamericana front grille treatment. But Mercedes is so keen to promote the performance attributes of the upcoming AMG GT Concept that it is likely to keep V8 engines out of the CLS. UK models are expected to be offered with four-cylinder diesels and six-cylinder petrols and diesels; the AMG variant could then use a twin-turbocharged version of Mercedes’ all-new straight-six petrol. The AMG GT four-door, meanwhile, is likely to stick close to the show car, and to be offered in four and five-seat layouts. That model won’t arrive until 2019.

Mercedes CLS 2018 spy pictures
We’ve already seen Mercedes’ Audi A7 Sportback and BMW 6 Series Gran Coupe rival out on the road with spy shots giving a clear indication of the bold design direction that the new CLS is heading in.

At the front we can clearly see the new, slimmer headlights and revised front grille, while the front end slopes down into a flatter nose.

The car’s beltline appears to rise more towards the rear than before and at the rear is the most obvious design change – the taillights. Unlike the diagonal, tear shaped ones fitted to the current model they’re horizontal, similar to the taillights on the S-Class coupe.

Introduced in 2005, the CLS stood out thanks to its svelte, sleek looks and low, sloping roofline combined with four doors and a 2+2 seating layout. The current model was introduced in 2011 and received a facelift in 2014. We know it is on its way out given Mercedes has already said its goodbyes with a Final Edition special, but we’re still a few years away from the new version’s release.

After its LA Motor Show reveal, we expect the car to arrive in showrooms at some point in 2018. We might not see a Shooting Brake version of the new CLS appear, however, given that sales of the current estate bodied CLS have been slow.

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