five cool cls models mercedes-benz should definitely build

Would you buy a CLS Cabriolet or Pickup?
by Ciprian Florea, on December 7, 2017, 18:00

The third-generation Mercedes-Benz CLS is here and it cooler than ever. It’s sleeker, sportier, and stands out alongside any other Mercedes car thanks to its unique styling cues. It has a brand-new engine too, making it the first time when Mercedes debuts such a feature through the CLS. With the four-door coupe now official, there’s a lot of talk as to what versions will follow. Will there be a high-performance AMG model? How about a shooting brake in both standard and AMG guises?

We’ve seen these variants before, so it’s only natural to think that Mercedes-Benz will keep them alive for the third-generation. But are we getting new versions too? Like a coupe, or maybe a convertible? How about a pickup-style version with a big bed behind the cabin? Sounds pretty crazy, right? Okay, the Germans probably won’t go that far, but a new batch of renderings suggests that the CLS would look awesome in various body styles. The pictures come from X-Tomi Design and include five different CLS-based models. Let’s have a closer look at them below.

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Mercedes-AMG CLS63

This is an obvious one and the CLS version that’s most likely to be launched in the near future. We might see it in the metal in less than a year at one of the major auto shows in 2018. We have a rendering of our own of this model, but this one is a bit cooler since it’s finished in Merc’s bonkers bright, metallic green color. There are no surprises here design-wise. Up front, we can see a more aggressive bumper borrowed from the AMG GT sports car and minor changes to the grille. The sides sport the usual AMG upgrades, including bi-color rims, a lowered ride height, carbon-fiber mirror caps, and front fender badges. Around back, we should see a more menacing diffuser.

But the really big change will happen under the hood. The 3.0-liter inline-six engine will make way for the already familiar 4.0-liter V-8 from the AMG division. Output will probably be similar to the E63 model, so expect the CLS63 to arrive with 563 horsepower and 550 pound-feet of torque. Hitting 60 mph in this model should take around 3.5 seconds, to go with a top speed of 155 mph. The range-topping AMG CLS63 S will get even more oomph, with the twin-turbo V-8 likely rated at 604 horses and 630 pound-feet. With a 0-to-60 mph sprint of only 3.4 clicks and a top speed limited to 186 mph, this version will be the most exciting CLS out there.

Does if fit on the market?

Definitely! While BMW doesn’t offer such a powerful version of the 6 Series Gran Coupe, the AMG CLS63 has big battles to fight with the Audi RS7 and the Porsche Panamera Turbo.

Will it go into production?

Absolutely! All previous generations of the CLS had AMG versions and this model will be no exception this rule. The AMG CLS63 will break cover sometime in 2018. A Detroit launch isn’t very likely, but we could see it break cover in Geneva or at the Paris Motor Show next autumn.

CLS Shooting Brake

Although the CLS was introduced in 2004, the Shooting Brake version wasn’t offered until 2012, during the second-generation model. It’s among the very few modern shooting brakes available out there, and it would be great news if the third-gen CLS gained a similar version. Much like the previous variant, the new CLS Shooting Brake would be identical to the sedan from the nose to the B-pillars. The most notable change would be the longer roof, the revised rear doors, and the quarter window. Around back, it would gain a tailgate and a bigger trunk. Despite the wagon-like body, the Shooting Brake will look sleeker and feel sportier than the E-Class Wagon. And much like its predecessor, it would have a unique place among station wagons.

Will it fit on the market?

The CLS Shooting Brake is pretty much a lone ranger. There are no other shooting brakes in the midsize market and we won’t see new models anytime soon. Automakers have been replacing most wagons with crossovers in recent years and very few of them still have any interest in long-roofed cars. But this hasn’t stopped the CLS Shooting Brake from making an impression and posting decent sales figures for what it is. The third-gen model would likely benefit from similar enthusiasm, especially if Mercedes will also make an AMG version.

Will it go into production?

Word has it that Merc doesn’t want a new CLS Shooting Brake, due to slow sales and customers losing interest in wagon cars. This doesn’t necessarily mean that the Germans will shelve the shooting brake, but until further notice it’s safe to assume that we won’t get one very soon. Should Mercedes decide it wants one, expect the CLS Shooting to arrive in late 2018 or early 2019, most likely alongside an AMG variant.

CLS Coupe

I know, the "CLS Coupe" name feels a bit redundant since the CLS is described as a four-door coupe, but we’re talking about a two-door version here. Yeah, it’s basically identical to the four-door front and rear, with the rear doors removed. Instead, we can see a slightly shorter wheelbase and a quarter window that helps the car maintain the sleek roof of the four-door version. It looks downright gorgeous with those sexy CLS features and that aggressive front end!

Will it fit on the market?

Given that the CLS is built on the same platform as the E-Class and that the latter already has a coupe version, the CLS Coupe would be a redundant model. Mercedes will basically have the coupe of the same size and with similar drivetrain in showrooms. Cannibalism at its best! However, the current market has a lot of strange trends going around. With the CLS having survived alongside the E-Class sedan for so many years, the coupes could get along as well. But is Mercedes willing to take the risk?

Will it go into production?

Most certainly not! Mercedes may be open to experimentation but the CLS Coupe isn’t a car that it needs right now. The E-Class Coupe is about the same size and a two-door version of the CLS would split sales to the point where both models would be pointless. Perhaps the CLS Coupe would be a great replacement for the E-Class Coupe since the former doesn’t look like a shrunken S-Class Coupe, but the midsize is virtually brand-new and replacing it this soon is out of the question. What’s more, the E-Class Coupe is an established nameplate and the CLS Coupe would need some serious marketing to get up there.

CLS Cabriolet

Where there’s a coupe, there must be a convertible model. It’s probably what X-Tomi thought when designing the CLS Coupe, so we also got a topless model. Needless to say, it’s downright gorgeous with the CLS’ sleek design features, but I’m not really sure about that rear end. The flat but sloping decklid might not be suitable for a convertible design and this is pretty noticeable in the rendering. But I could be done with a significant alteration of the rear end and I’m sure Mercedes has the means to come up with a solid look.

Will it fit on the market?

It’s the same story as with the CLS Coupe. Will it looks appealing and would get a fan base, the CLS Cabriolet would compete in the same market as the E-Class Cabriolet. So there’s not much room for such a model.

Will it go into production?

It won’t go into production unless Mercedes decides to build the CLS Coupe. And as I argued above, that’s not something that will happen anytime soon. I’d very much like to see a two-door CLS replace the E-Class, but as I mentioned before, it’s all about having a traditional badge. A four-door CLS Cabriolet would be cool though.

CLS Pickup (Ute)

A small pickup based on the CLS? Insane, right? It certainly seems so, but I must admit it’s a pretty cool idea. There are couple of things in this rendering that I don’t like, such as the short doors and the quarter rear cabin that’s too round for my taste, but everything else looks alright. And needless to say, this thing would look even better with an AMG package.

Will it fit on the market?

Well, the CLS Pickup would be a brand-new type of vehicle so it will start yet another new niche for Mercedes-Benz. Granted, it’s not the kind of vehicle that would become very popular, but you can’t buy anything like it at the moment, especially since Holden ended all Australian production and discontinued the Commodore Ute. Speaking of which, the CLS Pickup will most likely become popular in Australia and New Zealand, where it could be sold as the CLS Ute. An AMG version would make things that much better. The latter could also become a hit in the United States, where enthusiasts have been clamoring for a modern Chevrolet El Camino for decades now. So yeah, as silly as it may sound, a pickup version of the CLS would be popular on at least two major markets, albeit still in a low-volume segment.

Will it go into production?

Unfortunately, it won’t. It would be very cool, but no automaker is willing to make pickups based on cars nowadays. The Chevy El Camino, Ford Ranchero, and the Holden Commodore Ute belong in the past, and they will remain there for years to come, if not for eternity.

References

Mercedes-Benz CLS

Read our full review on the 2019 Mercedes-Benz CLS.

Read more Mercedes-Benz news.