“The time of creases is definitely over.” So says Mercedes-Benz design chief Gordon Wagener talking me around the new, third-generation CLS (that's just been revealed in LA) and I suspect, talking more broadly about the modern era of car design.

Comparing the outgoing model and the new one, you can see Wagener’s point. It still looks like a CLS, yet Mercedes has managed to get rid of all of its crease lines and it looks dramatically more modern as a result.

The rear shape still looks awkward to me from some angles – that’s coming from someone who was never convinced by the original CLS design (other than the Shooting Brake, which sadly has been canned due to poor sales for this new car) - but the cleaner surfacing definitely helps its cause.

Wagener explains the evolution of the car’s design: “The first-generation CLS was allowed to look like a design sketch. We kept that essence but cleaned it up, took lines out.”

As a result, Wagener and his team used positive and negative surfacing – a technique which looks at how light reacts to the car’s surface. He does acknowledge, however, that a lack of lines makes his job a lot harder. “It’s so much more difficult without lines. It’s easy to mess it up when you’re not basing it on lines.”