Mercedes Unveils Facelifted CLS (and CLS Shooting Brake for Europe)

Facelift

Four-door coupe upgraded for 2015.

Mercedes-Benz has revealed the refreshed CLS and CLS Shooting Brake ahead of its public debut at the upcoming Goodwood Festival of Speed. The cars’ mid-life changes are subtle in the extreme. A modified front bumper sports larger air ducts and the grille has been delicately reshaped with a diamond pattern plastic insert and revised headlamps with LED operation. An extended list of options includes the new Multibeam LED headlamps, which are said to outperform the laser lights heralded by Audi and BMW.

Using a windscreen-mounted stereo camera to detect oncoming traffic, 24 individual LED projectors are automatically adjusted so other motorists aren’t dazzled. Each LED can be dimmed in 255 stages, offering unrivalled broad and bright illumination of the road. However, this technology is unlikely to make it to the US. Nor is the raft of efficient diesel engines and stunning Shooting Brake variant Europeans will lap up. Instead, US buyers will continue to be offered the CLS550, powered by the same 4.6-liter twin-turbo V8 unaltered at 402 hp and 443 lb-ft of torque, but with a new transmission; a nine-speed auto replacing the current seven-speed box.

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An all-wheel-drive CLS550 4MATIC maintains the seven-speed, while the 550-hp CLS63 AMG 4MATIC and 577-hp CLS63 S-model 4MATIC remain. New to the lineup is an entry-level engine in the form of the CLS400 and CLS400 4MATIC powered by a 3.0-liter twin-turbo V6 rated at 328 hp and 354 lb-ft, both mated to seven speeds. Interior changes are as understated as the exterior enhancements, including a new free-standing 8-inch monitor, a redesigned three-spoke steering wheel and reorganized center console controls. Telematics and assistance systems have also been upgraded for 2015. Expect prices to remain close to the 2014 model, with the CLS400 to be significantly lower than the CLS550.

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