Mercedes-Benz CLS-Class Wins Golden Steering Wheel Award

The Mercedes-Benz CLS has been voted the best new product in the executive and luxury class segment

by  Jim Davis  | 

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More than a quarter of a million readers and a top-class jury comprising 40 automotive experts and prominent figures have voted the new Mercedes-Benz CLS the best new product in the executive and luxury class segment. As a result, “Bild am Sonntag”, “Auto Bild” and 26 associated European publications have awarded the new four-door coupé model the “Golden Steering Wheel” – one of the most important automotive awards in Europe. This coveted award was officially presented to Dr. Dieter Zetsche, Chairman of Daimler AG and CEO of Mercedes-Benz Cars, in Berlin yesterday evening.

Ten new products in the executive and luxury class were put to the extensive reader vote for the “Golden Steering Wheel”, which was announced across the whole of Europe. The jury for the “Golden Steering Wheel” is the largest and most international in the world. In the first round, readers of “Auto Bild”, “Bild am Sonntag” and 26 European “Auto Bild” sister publications cast votes for their favourites. From Finland to Spain, and from England to Estonia, some 40 million readers decided which cars were worthy of winning the golden trophies. In the executive and luxury class, the Audi A7, BMW 5 Series, Mercedes-Benz CLS, Suzuki Kizashi and Volvo S 60 made it into the final. At the beginning of October, no less than 40 testers then put the vehicles through their paces on a test track in Balocco (Italy) over a period of three days. This is where the new Mercedes-Benz CLS emerged victorious to bring the “Golden Steering Wheel” back to Stuttgart for the 19th time.

With the CLS, Mercedes-Benz created a new vehicle category in 2003 which for the first time combined the elegance and dynamism of a coupé with the comfort and functionality of a saloon. The customers were delighted, the competition taken aback: for many years the CLS remained the only four-door coupé in its class.

The new CLS builds on the pioneering role of its predecessor yet at the same time is an entirely new edition. What immediately strikes the eye is the innovative front design, which is reminiscent of the Mercedes-Benz SLS AMG. In addition, the CLS is the first passenger car in the world to offer LED High Performance headlamps as an option, which combine the exciting colour elements of LED technology – similar to those of daylight – with the performance, functionality and energy efficiency of today’s bi-xenon generation. For the first time ever, this new light system provides the Intelligent Light System already proven in Mercedes models fitted with bi-xenon headlamps in combination with LED technology.

Viewed from the side, the typical CLS outline, with its elegantly long proportions, is the dominating feature. The front edge of the structure above the wings slopes off towards the rear. This design feature, called the dropping line by designers, represents a new interpretation of a formal design element harking back to the uniquely rich wealth of forms present in historic Mercedes sports cars. A distinctive and muscular sports car-like shoulder line above the rear axle highlights the athletic character of the new CLS.

Performance: efficiency at the highest level

Efficiency at the highest level: this is the common characteristic shared by all four engines used in the new CLS. All of the engines feature increased performance and torque compared with previous models, while at the same time boasting a level of fuel consumption which has been significantly reduced by up to 25 percent. At the time of the European market launch in January 2011, two six-cylinder models will initially be available: the CLS 350 CDI BlueEFFICIENCY producing 195 kW (265 hp), and the CLS 350 BlueEFFICIENCY producing 225 kW (306 hp) and also featuring an ECO start/stop function.

Lightweight construction and aerodynamics: important contributions to efficiency

Intelligent lightweight construction plays a decisive role in bridging the classic conflict of objectives between low weight and high strength in the new CLS. The CLS is thus the first vehicle from Mercedes-Benz to have frameless, all-aluminium doors. In addition, the bonnet, front wings, boot lid, parcel shelf, various support sections as well as major parts of the chassis and engine are all made from aluminium too.

Aerodynamics also make an important contribution to the outstanding efficiency of the Mercedes-Benz CLS. It has been possible to reduce wind resistance by up to ten percent. This is thanks to the Cd value of 0.26, which has been improved by 13 percent.

Supreme driving dynamics coupled with superlative ride comfort on long journeys

Making its world premiere in the new CLS is the vehicle’s electromechanical Direct-Steer system. This pioneering innovation is a radical step forward in the relationship between driver, car and road. This is because for the first time engineers have the freedom to freely choose and program a wide variety of parameters which can influence steering perception. More than a dozen driving assistance systems on the new CLS help to prevent traffic accidents and reduce the severity of an accident. The Active Blind Spot Assist and the Active Lane Keeping Assist are new.

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