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2003 Mercedes-Benz Vision CLS Coupe Concept

2003 Mercedes-Benz Vision CLS Coupe Concept

2003 Mercedes-Benz Vision CLS Coupe Concept

A unique synthesis between a coupe and a saloon has produced the Vision CLS, a car whose elegant lines arouse instant enthusiasm and which exhibits all the typical Mercedes characteristics in terms of safety, innovation and comfort – a perfect combination of enthralment and good sense. The same applies to the powerful diesel engine, whose 195 kW/265 hp provides excellent conditions for a dynamic driving experience. It accelerates the Vision CLS from zero to 100 km/h in only 6.4 seconds, the maximum speed being electronically limited to 250 km/h. Despite this impressive performance the six-cylinder engine is happy with 7.5 litres of fuel per 100 kilometres (NEDC overall consumption) and meets the stringent EU-4 exhaust emission limits.

As in the case of other studies and show cars with which Mercedes-Benz has repeatedly presented new and interesting vehicle concepts for open discussion – and which have usually entered series production – the project planners are once again using the Frankfurt Motor Show to gauge the opinions of visitors to the show, and will reach their decision for this unique vehicle concept according to the public response.

With four doors and a generously dimensioned interior the Vision CLS offers a significant improvement in comfort and functionality compared to other coupés. The distance between the front and rear seats is 829 millimetres, and therefore at the level of a saloon. The 470-litre boot capacity (VDA measuring method) of the Mercedes study also considerably exceeds the figures for other coupes and many a saloon.

The coupe study is equipped with pioneering Mercedes innovations such as adaptive front airbags, windowbags and sidebags, as well as belt tensioners and belt force limiters for all seats, giving it the same high safety standard as the Mercedes luxury class. Active headlamps, cornering lights and the electrohydraulic braking system Sensotronic Brake Control (SBC) are other special technical features of the Vision CLS.


The aim of the designers developing the Vision CLS concept was to awaken enthusiasm at first glance and make full use of the scope provided by the lines of a coupé in order to lend a very emotive emphasis to the formal language. Large overhangs at the front and rear elegantly stretch the bodywork and form a contrast with the sleek, slightly curved roof of a coupe. In the same way the side aspect with the large, calm surfaces of the doors and rear wing creates a formal contrast to the frameless side windows and low silhouette typical of a coupe.

The front-end design of the Vision CLS is new and yet somehow familiar, with headlamps forming a different and interesting Mercedes face. The louvred radiator grille and the centrally located star are however two familiar and typical features of a Mercedes-Benz.

When viewed from the side the Vision CLS shows a perfect interaction between continuous, defined lines and the soft, naturally rounded surfaces that characterise modern Mercedes design. One example is the high upper body edge at window level, which is accentuated by a prominent waistline. This extends from the front wheel arch along the entire flank, culminating in the attractively formed rear light cluster which continues the general line and gently directs it into the rear bumper.

The roof line of this four-door coupe is even more pronounced. It extends over the muscular bodyshell in a slight but nonetheless evocative curve and blends into an attractively formed C-pillar configuration, which gently dips towards the rear end and ensures a softly contoured bodyline.

Diesel power and 7G-TRONIC

Like the powerful biturbo engine, a sporty suspension configuration, AIRMATIC DC air suspension, speed-sensitive power steering and 19-inch wide-base tyres (255/35 R 19 at the front, 285/30 R 19 at the rear) guarantee superb handling characteristics and highly enjoyable driving in the Vision CLS.

With an output of 195 kW/265 hp and a maximum torque of 560 Newton metres, which is already available from 2000 rpm, the six-cylinder CDI engine demonstrates the highly advanced state of diesel technology at Mercedes-Benz. Despite having a fuel consumption of 7.5 litres per 100 kilometres (NEDC overall consumption) the Vision CLS matches the performance of large-displacement V8 petrol models: acceleration from standstill to 100 km/h in 6.4 seconds, sprint from 60 to 120 km/h in 5.7 seconds and a maximum speed of 250 km/h (electronically limited).

This high-torque six-cylinder CDI engine harmonises with the world’s first seven-speed automatic transmission for passenger cars, which Mercedes-Benz is installing in the V8-models of the E, S, SL and CL-Classes as standard from autumn 2003.

The four-door coupe also sets standards in terms of safety features, thanks to pioneering Mercedes innovations such as adaptive front airbags, two-stage belt force limiters, high-performance belt tensioners, sidebags and windowbags. Bi-xenon headlamps, active headlamps, automatic cornering lights and the electrohydraulic braking system Sensotronic Brake Control (SBC) are further innovations in the Vision CLS which make driving safer and can help to prevent accidents.

Story by DaimlerChrysler

In Detail

submitted by Richard Owen
engine 6-Cylinder CDI Diesel
power 197.6 kw / 265 bhp
torque 560 nm / 413.0 ft lbs @ 2000 rpm
front tires 255/35 R 19
rear tires 285/30 R 19
f brake size mm / in
r brake size mm / in
f suspension AIRMATIC DC air suspension
r suspension AIRMATIC DC air suspension
transmission 7G-TRONIC 7-Speed Auto
gear ratios :1
0 – 60 mph ~6.3 seconds