L.A. Auto Show 2017: Mercedes-Benz CLS gets its first big upgrade since 2011


In the luxury car segment, Mercedes-Benz aims to address every niche. That most certainly includes cars for customers in search of smooth good looks, sporty performance and high-end comfort.

What is it?

The German automaker’s luxury-sport four-door coupe.

Why it matters

Under Chief Executive Dieter Zetsche — a.k.a. Dr. Z — Mercedes-Benz has been revived, outpacing BMW as the world’s No. 1 luxury car maker in 2016 for the first time in 10 years with major advances in performance, technology and design. But the current version of the CLS has been around since 2011, so it’s about time for some refreshing.

What's new?

A four-door coupe, with its sloping rear roofline, is meant to offer a sportier look and higher performance than a comparable but more stodgy sedan. Designers have sculpted the new CLS to look more sleek and slippery, with a forward-canted grille and reshaped headlights giving it an aggressive shark-like stance.

What’s inside is more to the automaker’s future. Mercedes is introducing a line of new in-line six-cylinder diesel and gasoline engines that are both more powerful and more fuel-efficient, partly through the use of so-called mild-hybrid technology.

The details

For the U.S., in-line six-cylinder diesel and gasoline engines with 281 and 335 horsepower. The mild hybrid supplements the regular 12-volt battery system with a 48-volt lithium ion battery attached to an electric motor. That provides more torque, more horsepower (362) and a start-stop function that turns the combustion engine off when coasting or when stopped, to be started again instantly with the electric motor’s help. It smooths out the RPMs for quieter idling as well.

The competition

Audi S7, BMW 4-series Gran Coupe, the new Volkswagen Arteon and, for a little more coin, the Porsche Panamera.

The L.A. Auto Show runs Dec. 1-10 at the Los Angeles Convention Center. Times coverage begins Nov. 25 at