Wednesday, March 22, 2006

Mercedes CLS: the 4-door coupé, the most influential car for the next years

This beauty is a homerun for Mercedes. A very successful car and a huge profit-maker. It is closely based on the E-class (itself a very profitable machine) but then look at the price, it’s almost S-class level. It sells because it‘s gorgeous, elegant, timeless, expensive looking. And it will be the most influential car for the next years. IT WILL BE A CLASSIC!
We have to think of the CLS not only for what it is but also in the way it will change the 4 door saloon segment, at least in Europe. This particular segment (Vectra/Laguna/Passat/Mondeo etc.) has been loosing market due to several factors: pressure from compact minivans (Scénic/C-max/Zafira/Touran etc.), pressure from SUV’s and pressure from big minivans. The CLS is the answer to this, although it started in a totally different price segment. Its concept will be embraced by several manufacturers in future generations of their bread and butter salons: future Laguna, Passat 4dr. coupe, future Vectra and future Mondeo (just check the Iosis concept). Of course, this new cars will be strong in design and weak in space. But if you want space you can have the minivans and the SUV’s.
Remember Mercedes slogan? “The future of automobile” They are right!

The 4-door saloon segment and the 4-door coupé
Beautiful and influential as it is, however the CLS is not alone. Another successful 4- door saloon has marked its influence although in a much lower price range. The Peugeot 407 adopted a sleek coupe-like profile and a supercar-like front design. Although some detailing is atrocious (the rearview mirrors, the door-type used, the absurd front overhang) the overall impression is excellent and in particular the road presence of the car. Another design success for Peugeot. The CLS and the 407 should serve as inspiration for other manufacturers: cars in this class need to be desirable because excellent alternatives exist for space and practicality. Thus emotional design is of paramount importance.
Peugeot 407: less legroom than a BMW E46 and only 407L luggage
space, but a great success for Peugeot

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