Four-door will be based on E-Class underpinnings; it'll likely be topped by a straight-six AMG version
Sam Sheehan
7 September 2017

A 2018 Mercedes-Benz CLS development car has been spotted testing in Europe again, around 18 months before the model is due to go on sale.

The future model has been referred to as the CLE, sticking with Mercedes' latest naming structure, with the E highlighting the car's mechanical and strucural links to the E-Class. But new information suggests it will retain the CLS moniker to signify its longer length.

The CLS four-door will share its engines with the E-Class, with a selection of turbocharged four-cylinder units forming the bulk of the line-up. Six-cylinder petrol and diesels will come in more powerful models.

Top of the range will likely be an AMG version running with a new turbocharged 3.0-litre straight-six, shared with the future E50 Coupé and expected to produce 450bhp. If this is the case, it means there will be no replacement for the V8-engined AMG CLS 63.

This will leave space for the arrival of an AMG GT four-door, which is an entirely different model that is inspired by the GT Concept at the Geneva motor show. The GT four-door will use a twin-turbocharged V8 engine - borrowed from either the AMG GT or E63.

The CLS and AMG GT four-door both get the same number of doors but, as the spotted development car shows, the CLS will have a less aggressive exterior and more defined boot lid. Body proportions look near-identical to those of the current car, meaning the CLS will also be smaller than the GT four-door.


The changes will be evolutionary both outside and in, with the new E-Class offering the best insight into how the CLS’s details will look.

Some of the semi-autonomous driving technology of the E-Class will be carried over to the CLS, possibly including Speed Limit Pilot, which automatically adjusts the speed of the vehicle in relation to posted speed limits, and Active Lane Change Assist, which is able to autonomously perform a lane change.

Mercedes has refrained from confirming the CLS's arrival date, although the life cycle of the current model suggests it will go on sale in 2018. Unlike the current CLS, the future CLE will likely drop its Shooting Brake estate bodyshape due to low demand. Only 750 CLS Shooting Brakes were sold in the UK last year.

Our Verdict

Mercedes-Benz CLS

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2 December 2016
I'm looking forward to seeing what this CLE looks like in the coming months. It does seem to have enormous overhangs that seem disproportionate to the general silhouette. Not sure how they'll deal with that.

24 March 2017
I'm betting that the new CLS and AMG 4 door won't be 'entirely different' but in fact very closely related. Time will tell.

25 March 2017
I think Mercedes have missed a trick with the styling which should echo the superb AMG 4 door. They CLS seems to be getting blander with every new generation.

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