Greener, lighter and a tax saver

PUBLISHED : Friday, 18 March, 2011, 12:00am
UPDATED : Friday, 18 March, 2011, 12:00am


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The Mercedes-Benz CLS has always been popular in Hong Kong. Launched in 2003, the coupes were soon snapped up by the local rich because they looked so sleek. Now, the latest S-Class and E-Class seem to have copied the original CLS's profile.

The new incarnation is more than just another pretty face. In November, the four-door coupe won Germany's coveted Golden Steering Wheel award in an Italian test track drive-off against the Audi A7, BMW 5 Series, Suzuki Kizashi and Volvo S 60.

Launched at October's Paris Motor Show and unveiled in Hong Kong on Tuesday, the latest model retains its predecessor's long bonnet, narrow-look windows and sweeping, angled roof. The front has been redesigned, however, with a Mercedes-Benz SLS AMG-like grille - large, elongated air inlets and a lighting design the marque says is the 'world's first to offer all of the regular dynamic light functions using LED technology'.

The new CLS's 71 LED lights are set in three layers, with the indicators at the top and side lights performing low-beam functions in the middle. The main beam and night view functions are on the lowest level.

The marque has updated the CLS's elegance with a new front edge above the mudguards, more flare to the wheel arches and a chunkier shoulder line to evoke more class and speed. Wrap-round tail lights beautify the back.

The new model's interior can be finished in any of five colours, five trim designs and three qualities of leather for the dashboard cover and seats. The car's smartest electronics include Attention Assist drowsiness detection gear, improved headlights and night view tech, and Active Parking Assist with side mounted sensors to help manoeuvres.

The CSL 500 (HK$1,153,500) has a 408-horsepower, V8 engine that can belt through a 7G-Tronic Plus 7-speed automatic gearbox to 100km/h in 5.2 seconds and reach a top speed of 250km/h. The 306hp, six-cylinder CSL 350 also tops at 250km/h, but is almost a second slower to 100km/h. It is also the first Mercedes-Benz model certified as an environment-friendly petrol private car in Hong Kong, earning local owners a tax incentive of 'up to HK$50,000'. The car costs HK$899,000 after the incentive, the marque says. There is also a 5.5-litre, 525hp CLS 63 AMG version (HK$1.73 million).

The new range is greener, too. The CLS 350 BlueEfficiency petrol engine consumes 6.8 litres of fuel per 100km, compared with its predecessor's 10.1 l/100km, Mercedes-Benz says, adding that 56 of the CLS's components are made from natural materials. The car is lighter, with the bonnet, front wings, boot lid, doors and many suspension and engine parts in aluminium.