The coupe version of Mercedes Benz C class is out. Now why would Mercedes Benz India Limited think of launching the Mercedes Benz CLS 500 in India? Think about it, it is on a resurgent path to getting its numero uno position in India. The one which has been claimed by BMW India and with Audi India also closely snapping at its heels. Both the companies have a motto of getting in cars which were unheard of in India. This happens mostly with the cars been simultaneously launched both in India as well as foreign markets. So that we don’t get staid products in India. Now, Mercedes Benz India Limited always launched their products first in foreign markets and then after maybe 2-3 years, percolate the products down to India. Now, the top brass have realized that they need to change this and so they are also going the BMW and AUDI way of launching new products at the same time for foreign and Indian markets.
The latest car which is to be simultaneously launched is the Mercedes Benz CLS 500. It is a coupe form of the ever successful bread and butter model, the Mercedes Benz C-class. Now, why a coupe form when we know that those aren’t that successful in the Indian market. This car signals the quality levels that any Mercedes Benz car came to be known for however was lost somewhere down the plot. This is a good sign for the car buying public. The nose of the car signifies the corporate look of the company and has a mesh air dam just beneath it. This car looks more like the AMG version of some other car rather than the C class. It actually represents the SL AMG fighter car that was a craze in the late 80s. The fog lamps are fully LED. Speaking of LEDs, the Mercedes Benz CLS 500 in India would come with full LEDs for even the head lamps. Don’t believe it? Even more shocking is the fact that there are 71 LEDs in the head lamp assembly. And more so that 37 engineers from the company had to work on it to get it right. The company says that this is to improve night time driving and also for increased safety. Even the tail lamps are full LEDs. The bonnet is highly raked. The 17 inch bispoke alloy wheels add an element of cool quotient. Unlike BMW, Mercedes Benz prefers to go with high profile tubeless tyres. Anways, run flats aren’t suited for the Indian roads and it is high time that BMW India understood that.
The rear features Mexican wrestling mask type rear lamps. There are twin tail pipes and a LED stop lamp between them. Come to think of this, this car is a design revolution. Moving onto the interiors, it seems to be built more on the chassis of the E class rather than the C class. The interiors reek of quality from the much expensive S class. A new upholstery trim namely the Aubergine finds its way in. It is a sort of dark chocolaty. The steering wheel seems to be derived from the Volkswagen family since it has a chrome insert at the third spoke. It however is more artistically made than the Volkswagen unit. The positioning of the audio controls and other parnphelia is very clever. The multi media system is taken care by the latest generation COMAND system. The analogue dials are made to a good effect and the digital display in the speedo has a color variation to it and provides with much more info, so much so that it can be safely called as a second COMAND system. On to of the dash is an immaculately stitched leather. Also classily laid out is the matt silver inlays which can be found around the aircon vents. The Mercedes Benz special, Harman Kardon Logic 7 audio system has 14 speakers and sounds very good. The seats themselves are way too comfortable and the front ones have the massaging and pulse function in them. The rear two seats unfortunately make do without them. We would have preferred them at the rear, the most. There is an increased sense of space inside since this is a 4 seater. There is a huge central column running across and which features the controls for the rear passengers as well.
There is no skimping on equipment or even on the options list. This car has everything imaginable and some more.The Tronic and Assist suffix has been used for almost every feature in the cabin. It features distance control, traction control, lane departure, blind spot detection, night view, parking, climate control and ESP. There is a system that combines with ESP to brake the outside rear wheels. Speaking of the safety aspect, there is more safety equipment than others in its class and similar to a Volvo. On the short spin that we had on the car, we were assured of its chassis competency and the way it steers around corners. To keep the fun pure, this car is offered only in rear wheel drive. There is no option of 4 wheel drive. There are 4 engine options available on the Mercedes Benz CLS 500 in India. Starting the range is the 3.0 liter diesel which pumps out 264 Bhp and 620 Nm of torque. The 3.5 liter petrol V6 makes 300 bhp and 700 Nm of torque. The 4.6 liter V8 petrol makes 406 Bhp and a super car rivaling 720 Nm of torque. Wait, there is one more potent motor under the hood of this car and it is the 5.5 liter V8 AMG which makes 537 Bhp of power and 763 Nm of torque. The best thing is that all these motors, with the exception of the AMG version are quite fuel efficient than the others in their class. It literally translates to having your cake and eating it too.
To put words into figures, the Mercedes Benz CLS 500 in India with the base diesel engine would give 19.4 kmpl on the highway. The others would follow with figures of 16.3 kmpl, 14.5 kmpl and 10.6 kmpl respectively. Considering the performance on tap, these are more than acceptable figures. For all these engines, there is a 7 speed auto transmission with paddle shifts. The transmission worked well however was a bit lacking in the kickdown department. This was something which is can be easily overcome by the use of paddle shifts. This car also comes with springs as well as electric air suspension. Only outside the cabin would one find the engine singing. Inside the cabin, these was absent. Such is the kind of noise dampener used that not even wind noise percolates in. Cross country trips can also be undertaken without any kind of fatigue creeping in at the end. Truly a wonderful experience and we are awaiting for this car eagerly in India. Expect it to be launched by mid of May 2011 and Mercedes Benz CLS 500 price would hover around the Rs.53 lakhs mark for the base diesel version. A dose of exclusivity, definitely.
Technical specifications of the Mercedes Benz CLS 500 in India
Kerb weight: 2177 (kg)
Overall Height: 1821 (mm)
Overall Length: 4634 (mm)
Overall Width: 1876 (mm)
Rear track: 1525 (mm)
Wheelbase: 2830 (mm)
Boot space: 505 (Litre)
Front Track: 1517 (mm)
Fuel Tank capacity: 83 liters
Gross Vehicle Weight: 2870 (kg)
Ground Clearance: 207 (mm)
Front suspension: Semi-active air-suspension with ADS II, Integral support anti-dive control. automatic level control and stabilizer, 4-link suspension.
Rear suspension: Suspension, Semi-active air-suspension with ADS II, anti-squat / anti-lift, automatic level control,MB-Multi-Link independent rear and stabilizer.