Interesting chat with BMW i and M design boss Domagoj Dukec at the preview for the new BMW i8 Roadster last night.
He said the i8 was a car for a moment in time, and not always one that had to be in the BMW range being replaced for generation after generation. To that end, he compared it to the BMW M1: “It worked at the time, but why do it more than once?”
It was such an icon in its first generation, before turning into just another car the second time round. A lovely car, but a car, not an icon. The CLS was a car suited to a moment in time, one that showed Mercedes could make beautiful, exciting cars. And when it became no longer a beautiful, exciting car, the point of it was rather lost.
The new one, revealed at the LA motor show today, looks nice enough, and I’m sure it will find many happy homes. But it’s essentially the same size as the E-Class, which is also a lovely looking thing, and the CLS is more pertinently a sister car to the upcoming AMG GT4, which is something genuinely new and exciting, and for a moment in time. Much like the original CLS to that end.
Mercedes won’t be replacing the top-end Mercedes-AMG CLS 63 version of the new CLS, to avoid overlap with the upcoming AMG GT4. When you’re having to limit the appeal of one car to enhance the appeal of another, surely you have too many similar cars in the range.
The CLS’s place in history is secured, but maybe that’s where it should remain: in history, with the M1 and the i8 which will join it in the future. Because there really doesn’t need to be another i8, its job is done – as was the CLS’s.