With its all-new exterior shape, the new Mercedes-Benz CL is the only two-door pillarless hardtop coupe in production and certainly one of the most beautiful cars in the company’s history. It’s also the first purpose-built coupe in the company’s history, built on its own platform in its own production facility, and sibling, rather than a descendant, of the S-Class sedan.
It is quite a bit smaller and more coupelike than the two previous big coupes were. It’s 196.6 inches long overall, 2.8 inches shorter than the previous model, 73.1 inches wide or 2.2 inches narrower, and 54.8 inches high, or 2.3 inches shorter. The 113.6-inch wheelbase is 2.3 inches shorter, and the front and rear track measure 62 inches — 1.5 and 0.5 inches narrower, respectively, than the old CL Coupe — but there’s more room inside in nearly every direction.
The CL Coupe carries more on-board electronic systems than any other car, period. For in addition to ABS, electronic brake force distribution, ESP yaw control, traction control, and GPS navigation, the CL is the first car in the world with true active suspension, the system called Automatic Body Control, or ABC.
ABC uses a system of sensors, pumps, valves and hydraulic servos to adjust the four-wheel independent suspension system to constantly changing road conditions. It’s used to cancel out almost all the pitch, dive, and roll of the body, working in milliseconds to adapt the CL to every driving situation and every road surface. Unlike the AIRmatic suspension system introduced on the S-Class last year, ABC uses conventional steel coil springs with the adaptive shock absorber units.
The CL carries forward a number of the technologies introduced in the S-Class, including the new GPS navigation system, the COMAND control system for audio, navigation, telephone and environment, the Distronic radar-commanded cruise control system, the Keyless Go pass card entry system, and the TeleAid emergency communications system.