Goodbye Mercedes CLS: production end after 19 years

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Mercedes stopped production of the Mercedes CLS on August 31, 2023, and there will be no successor for this model.

After three generations, Mercedes has stopped production of the four-door coupe for good. Launched in 2004, the Mercedes CLS was the world’s first four-door coupe, ushering in a new market segment.

Mercedes CLS (C219), first generation (2004-2010): pioneer of the 4-door coupe

The first generation was based on the MRA platform of the E-Class W211 and was positioned between the E-Class and S-Class. Codenamed C219, the design was based on the Vision CLS concept presented at the Frankfurt Motor Show in autumn 2003. The production version debuted at the New York Motor Show in spring 2004.

The Mercedes CLS had the same wheelbase as the E-Class, at 2,854 mm, and the same engine range. It was available in numerous versions: two with a V6 engine (CLS 350/272 PS, CLS 350 CGI/292 PS, one with a V8 engine (CLS 500/306 PS in 2005-2006, CLS 500/388 PS in 2007-2009), and an AMG version (CLS 55 AMG/476 PS in 2004-2006, later CLS 63 AMG/507 PS). There was also a diesel version CLS 320 CDI/224 PS. A new entry-level version, CLS 280, was introduced at the 2008 facelift, with a 3-liter V6 engine and 231 PS, which changed its name to CLS 300 in 2009.

More expensive than the E-Class, the Mercedes CLS was available in a four-seater configuration, and the boot was smaller than the E-Class. The dashboard differed from the E-Class by being recessed on the front passenger side, similar to the Bentley Continental.

170,000 units were sold for the first generation between 2004 and 2010.

Mercedes CLS (C218), second generation (2011-2018): Shooting Brake added to the range

The second generation, the C218, was unveiled at the Paris Motor Show in autumn 2010 and has been sold since January 2011. For the first time, Mercedes developed a shooting brake version based on the CLS, which was available from October 2012, and with it came the 4Matic versions. The wheelbase and platform were identical to the E-Class. The engine line-up consisted of two diesels, including a 4-cylinder (CLS 250 CDI/204 PS) and a 265 PS 3-litre V6 in the CLS 350 CDI, which was available with 4Matic all-wheel drive.

The range of petrol engines included a 3.5-liter V6 with 306 PS (CLS 350) and a 4.7-liter V8 with 408 PS (CLS500/CLS 500 4Matic), plus the CLS 63 AMG version with a 5.4-liter V8 engine that initially developed 525 PS and later 557 PS and 585 PS in the S version.

Mercedes CLS (C257), third generation (2018-2023): 5-seater configuration and new multilink front suspension

The third generation Mercedes CLS, the C257, was unveiled at the Detroit Motor Show in January 2018 and received the new evolution of the MRA platform used in the C and S-Class with a four-link multilink front axle. It was also the first Mercedes CLS available in a five-seat configuration.

Mercedes dropped the shooting brake version but increased the number of diesel versions: two versions with the 2-liter 4-cylinder engine (CLS 220d/194 PS, CLS 300d/245 PS) and two with the new inline 6-cylinder engine (CLS 350d 4Matic/286 PS, CLS 400d 4Matic/330 PS). Two petrol versions were also available: CLS 350 (2-litre turbocharged 4-cylinder, 299 PS) and CLS 450 4Matic with the new inline 6-cylinder (3-litre turbocharged 6-cylinder, 367 PS). The top version was the AMG CLS 53 4Matic with 435 PS, 48V mild hybrid system, and fully variable all-wheel drive.

In April 2021, Mercedes operated the last facelift before the production stop at the end of August 2023. The 6-cylinder CLS 350d 4Matic version was replaced by the CLS 300 d 4Matic, with a 4-cylinder engine and 265 PS. All other versions remain unchanged. In autumn 2022, Mercedes discontinued the AMG version.

The career of the Mercedes CLS has been affected since 2018 when the AMG division launched the new Mercedes-AMG GT 4-door coupe. It cannibalized the sales of the top versions of the CLS, which is why the last generation had only one AMG version with 435 PS and dropped the CLS 63 AMG version.

Subsequently, Mercedes decided to drop the niche models and invest more in the luxury electric EQE/EQS range.