The third-generation Mercedes-Benz CLS goes on sale this fall — raising the red mist for irrational sales behavior

2022 Mercedes-Benz CLS coupe-sedan side view.

The new CLS 450 4Matic will go on sale in the U.S. this fall, 2021. (Photos courtesy of Mercedes-Benz)


The debut of the shapely Mercedes-Benz CLS “coupe” sedan supercharged the luxury segment in 2004. Fans and followers paid up to get one and when the rear end had those three little initials — AMG — it was a pheromone of red mist for irrational sales behavior.

The second-generation, 2012 CLS had its first major redesign, mostly meet newly mandated European pedestrian crash safety standards. The sleek slope of its nose was bobbed to blunt the seriousness of injuries to wayward people in crosswalks.

2022 Mercedes-Benz CLS coupe-sedan driver area.

The CLS was technologically updated last summer.

Its original, overarching sleekness came from the Vision CLS concept. The exterior styling now is more abrupt, but its overall fastback stance delivers a clear message of a style icon.

To date, more than 4 million Mercedes-Benz CLS models have been sold all over the world, including more than 450,000 CLS models since the first-generation launch. China was the largest sales market for the CLS Coupe in 2020, followed by South Korea, the U.S., and Germany.

Its design and sportiness were the top reasons most frequently cited by customers for buying the CLS, says Mercedes-Benz.

2022 Mercedes-Benz CLS coupe-sedan front seats.

Choices of leather seat upholstery have two new color combinations.

Third Generation

The new Mercedes-Benz CLS 450 4Matic will go on sale in the U.S. in the fall of 2021. It brings sharpened and sportier design, Mercedes-Benz says.

2022 Mercedes-Benz CLS coupe-sedan front passenger seat.

The interior will have two new trim finishes.

AMG-Line styling components are standard elements of the interior and the cabin was upgraded with more leather and trim combinations. A new-generation steering wheel has a two-zone sensor pad in the steering-wheel rim. Sensors on the front and back sides of the rim register whether the driver’s hands are on the wheel.

The optional Driver Assistance Package includes Active Distance Assist DISTRONIC and Active Steering Assist. The new-generation steering wheel uses capacitive touch to detect the driver’s hands.

the new-generation steering wheel.

The new-generation steering wheel in the ercedes-Benz CLS.

A comprehensive refresh last summer updated the MBUX (Mercedes-Benz User Experience) multimedia system and enhanced driver assistance systems.

AMG style elements include a specific front bumper with an A-wing in black, AMG sill trim on the side, a front splitter in silver chrome, sporty, air intakes with vertical bars, and aerodynamically shaped “flics” in high-gloss black.

The mild-hybrid engine.

At launch, the CLS 450 4Matic will have a mild-hybrid powertrain.

The 19-inch light-alloy wheels have two new designs: 5 twin-spoke or multi-spoke rims. The 20-inch, high-gloss AMG multi-spoke light-alloy wheels have two new bi-color choices of  Tremolite Grey or High-Gloss Black.

The new radiator grille with Mercedes star has a three-dimensional star pattern and a high-gloss black louver with chrome inlay. Starling Blue Metallic is a new paint color.

The rear end view

Starling Blue Metallic (shown) is a new paint color.

The Mercedes-Benz CLS interior will have two new trim finishes, including an optional Open Pore Brown Walnut and High-Gloss Grey Wood. New choices of leather seat upholstery are Neva Grey and Magma Grey and Sienna Brown and Black.

Mercedes-Benz CLS Powertrain

At launch, the Mercedes-Benz CLS 450 4Matic will have the mild-hybrid powertrain of a 362-horsepower, 3.0-liter inline six-cylinder gasoline engine. It integrates a second-generation starter-generator and a 48-volt electrical system. Power ratings are up by 21 hp with up to 184 foot-pounds of electric boost. Peak torque of 369 lb.-ft. spans 1,600-4,000 rpm. Engine efficiencies include energy recovery and “glide,” which allows the engine to switch off at highway speeds to save fuel and emissions.

A sleek side view.

China was the largest sales market for the CLS Coupe in 2020.

Driver-Assist Features

  • Active Brake Assist: Using autonomous braking, this standard safety feature can prevent a collision or reduce its severity in many situations. At typical city speeds, the system is able to brake for stationary vehicles and pedestrians in crosswalks and can even prevent collisions, depending on the situation. With the Cross-Traffic function (part of the Driver Assistance Package), Active Brake Assist also functions when making a turn across the oncoming lane.
  • Active Speed Limit Assist: Among the Driver Assistance Package, Active Speed Limit Assist reacts to speed limit changes using map data and input from Traffic Sign Assist. A route-based speed adjustment can reduce the vehicle speed before detected curves, roundabouts and toll booths, as well as before turning or exiting the highway. If the driver activates Active Distance Assist DISTRONIC with distance-based speed adaptation, the CLS can even respond to data from Live Traffic Information.
CLS front view.

Design is the most frequently cited reason that customers buy the CLS.

  • Active Stop-and-Go Assist: Maintains car-length distances up to approximately 37 mph, helpful in highway traffic jams when lane markings are detected. The vehicle can restart automatically up to one minute after coming to a stop. On highways, at speeds less than 37 mph, the vehicle monitors detected lane markings and applies “swarm intelligence” to take its bearings from vehicles in the surrounding area.
  • Automatic parking and exiting: A 360-degree camera makes it possible to enter and leave parking spaces automatically. When activated, the system will search for and select a parking space. And the system can now function autonomously to parallel and end-on park. The camera was enhanced to transmits a more realistic image to the media display, which includes an expanded side view.

Check current Mercedes-Benz CLS pricing and incentives here.

Read more