The successor to the Mercedes-Benz CLS, a four-door sedan with coupelike styling, will arrive in 2018 on a new platform that's lighter, longer and roomier.
The next-generation CLS is expected to ride on the company's Modular Rear Architecture, or MRA, which also underpins the redesigned E-class sedan that went on sale this year. It is expected to arrive in U.S. dealerships in the summer of 2018. Recent spy shots of the disguised vehicle undergoing testing show that the car's styling will evolve but won't wildly depart from the outgoing design.
The next generation will likely get the kind of updates the E-class sedan received with its redesign. A wide array of semiautonomous driving features will be added to the car.
New engines also are possible. In October, Mercedes introduced a new inline 6-cylinder engine that will launch in 2017 in the updated S-class sedan. Mercedes officials say it's too early to talk about powertrains for the CLS successor, but that the new inline 6-cylinder could replace the V-6 that is the base engine in the CLS lineup.
Some expect Mercedes to drop the wagon, or shooting-brake, body style with the next generation. That variant never was sold in the U.S.
There is some speculation that Mercedes could split the CLS for the next generation. Under this scenario, the CLS name could move to a four-door sedan being developed for AMG. A sports sedan, designed to take on the Porsche Panamera and other competitors, has been rumored as part of the AMG GT family. The more basic Mercedes-Benz entry would then use the CLE name. But there is no confirmation of such a split or a renaming to the CLE name from Mercedes officials.