Mercedes-Benz have some pretty pretty cars on sale. Just about every model has been refreshed, updated or replaced to reflect their new design language. Everything from the S-Class to the V now have some premium styling to show off.
But where did all of this start? Well, we believe these two cars are the culprits:
The original CLS and the CLA (we only had access to the facelift, but the pre-facelift is not that far off in terms of appearance).
These are the two models that helped pave the way for modern Benz design by merging coupe styling with 4 door practicality.
First, let’s look at the CLS. This was an all-new model for Benz at the time, and they effectively created a new segment of car with it in 2004 – the four-door mid-sized coupe sedan.
Audi only caught on to it with the A7 in 2010 but BMW’s response came a whole generation later with the 6-Series Gran Coupe in 2012.
A quicker response came from Jaguar, who lowered the roofline of their XJ and XJL before launching it in 2009.
The Volkswagen Passat CC was perhaps the car most inspired by the CLS. It was launched in 2008 and gave a larger audience access to the coupe-inspired 4-door format.
While the effect of the CLS was felt externally, internally it changed things too. But by the time the 2nd generation CLS rolled up, it had lost its charm.
Why? Who knows why exactly. Some say it wasn’t as good looking. Our guess is that by 2011 the shock value of a four door coupe had diminished. The first CLS broke the mould, the second one did not. It was just as simple as that.
That’s where the CLA comes in. In 2012, Mercedes-Benz showed the ‘Concept Style Coupe’. It was a concept car with all the lines you’d find in the production model CLA. It took what worked on the 2nd generation CLS and boiled it down to a much smaller scale. The interior also previewed what we now expect from a modern Benz.
And this new CLA ended up being the template for the S-Class, which informed the design of the new C- and E-Class models. The leap was pretty immense.
Up to that point you had 3 box sedans and 2 box coupe-inspired sedans. Now, the S-, E- and C-Class cars are all coupe-inspired.
And it was mostly thanks to the CLS for starting the trend and the CLA for setting a more modern tone.