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Monday, January 28, 2008

New Mercedes-Benz CLC-Class Revealed

Driving pleasure as standard

  • Engines: fuel consumption reduced by up to 10.8 percent
  • Direct-steer system: variable steering ratio for even more agile handling
  • Infotainment: new units with Europe-wide navigation
  • Voice control: whole-word input for audio, navigation and telephone

The sports-car-like experience begins from the moment you turn the ignition in the new CLC fitted with the sports package: the needles of the speedometer and rev counter spin once around the dial from their "six o'clock" rest position to the maximum, then return to their start positions. That is the signal for the driver: "Start your engine."

Six engines are available for the CLC: four four-cylinder and two six-cylinder units, four petrol and two turbodiesel units. Power outputs range from 90 kW/122 hp to 200 kW/272 hp; the torque scale starts at 230 and goes up to 350 Nm; fuel consumption ranges between 5.8 and 9.5 litres per 100 kilometres depending on the engine model and output class, and has been reduced by up to 10.8 percent compared with the outgoing Sports Coupé.

More output or less fuel consumption? The new CLC 200 KOMPRESSOR delivers on both counts. The engineers in Stuttgart-Untertürkheim have given the four-cylinder unit a more dynamic turbocharger, optimised pistons and a modified engine management system. The powerplant now develops 135 kW/184 hp instead of the previous 120 kW/164 hp, producing 250 Nm of peak torque from 2800 rpm instead of the previous 240 Nm. As a result, the Sports Coupé is even livelier during acceleration - both in-gear and though-gear: the CLC 200 KOMPRESSOR accelerates from zero to 100 km/h in 8.6 seconds, i.e. 0.5 seconds faster than its predecessor.

The second development aim was to reduce fuel consumption and the results are no less impressive in this respect. The CLC 200 KOMPRESSOR consumes just 7.8 8.2 litres of premium petrol per 100 kilometres in the NEDC cycle, 0.6 – 0.7 litres or some eight percent more economical than the previous Sports Coupé with this engine.

The new CLC has adopted the high-torque six-cylinder units virtually unchanged from the outgoing model. There is a choice of two V6 engines, whose outstanding features include variable camshaft timing on the intake and exhaust sides, a variable intake module and intake ducts with tumble flaps. This technology enhances both power and torque output while reducing fuel consumption.

Key data for the CLC engine line-up at a glance:

*electronically limited

The six-speed manual transmission with its sporty, precise action and short gearshift travel comes as standard on all CLC models. As an option, Mercedes-Benz can supply a five-speed automatic transmission for the four-cylinder models and the 7G-TRONIC seven-speed automatic transmission for the V6 models. In combination with the sports package, the driver can use gearshift paddles on the steering wheel to select the gears of the automatic transmission manually and make optimum use of the engines’ high power reserves when the driving situation calls for it.

Direct-steer system: turning every corner into an experience

The athletic character of the CLC is due in part to a new development in the field of steering technology. Mercedes-Benz calls it the direct-steer system, leaving no doubt what this technology has to offer: a more direct response on bends, more agile handling - in short, more driving pleasure.

The direct-steer system is based on the previous speed-sensitive power steering and is part of the standard specification with the sports package. The retained speed-sensitive power steering function assists drivers particularly at low speed, when manoeuvring or parking, by substantially reducing the steering effort. However, the previous system has been enhanced with a variable rack ratio rack ratio which changes as a function of the steering angle. This ratio increases sharply from a steering angle of five degrees so that the driver only has to move the steering wheel slightly when cornering: the CLC responds more spontaneously than with a constant-ratio steering set-up, giving the driver even better control of the vehicle.

The new direct-steer system has been set up precisely so that its sporty, dynamic rack ratio makes itself positively felt particularly when handling and agility are most called for: on winding country roads, in other words at medium speed and medium steering angle.

By contrast, the benefits of the tried-and-trusted speed-sensitive power steering are retained in other handling situations and are even augmented in certain cases: for instance, the new Mercedes steering can be set up with an even more indirect ratio in the centre position than previous steering systems, providing the driver with a very assured steering feel at high speed, while improving straight-line and directional stability. At low speed or while parking, the new technology in conjunction with the speed-sensitive servo assistance is even more convenient than before because the steering effort is reduced further thanks to the large ratio.

Enhanced safety in critical handling situations

Comfort and agility are not the only benefits of the new direct-steer system. In a series of on-road tests involving 26 drivers, Mercedes engineers noted a substantial increase in safety in critical handling situations. Thanks to the direct response of the newly developed steering, the test subjects responded more confidently and competently to sudden evasive action at 60 km/h than with conventional systems. The maximum steering wheel angles - an indicator of steering effort - were reduced during the obstacle-avoidance test by 22 percent on average; steering wheel angles of more than 180 degrees, which force the driver to move their hands on the steering wheel, were eliminated.

Conclusion: enhanced driving pleasure, greater convenience and increased safety - the new direct-steer system offers benefits across the board.

Suspension: tried-and-trusted technology for agile handling and a high level of safety

The suspension on the new CLC is based on tried-and-trusted technology. The front axle is a three-link suspension design with aluminium torque struts and McPherson spring struts offering outstanding precise wheel location and a high level of ride comfort. The standard-fit anti-roll bar is attached to the spring struts by means of a linkage. Rebound buffer springs on the front shock absorbers boost the effect of the stabiliser during dynamic cornering, thus improving the Sports Coupé's agile handling.

Springing and damping on the multi-link independent-suspension rear axle is provided by coil springs and single-tube gas-filled shock absorbers with large rubber bearings. Here too, the anti-roll bars improve handling stability. Front and rear disc brakes (front: internally ventilated) with a diameter of up to 330 millimetres and a thickness of up to 28 millimetres (CLC 350) provide reliable deceleration.

Wheels and tyres: spoilt for choice

A wide range of wheels and tyres is available ex factory for the new Sports Coupé. Customers have a choice of ten different wheel types featuring different tyre sizes - from the 16-inch 5-spoke light-alloy wheel to the 18-inch AMG wheel. The six-cylinder CLC 230 and CLC 350 models already come with standard-fit 16-inch and 17-inch light-alloy wheels respectively. The standard-fit wheel and tyre combinations at a glance:

Models Standard equipment
CLC 200 CDI, CLC 220 CDI, CLC 180 KOMPRESSOR, CLC 200 KOMPRESSOR Steel wheels with wheel trim 7 J x 16 ET 31; 205/55 R 16
CLC 230 5-spoke light-alloy wheels 7 J x 16 ET 31, 205/55 R 16
CLC 350 5-twin-spoke light-alloy wheels 7.5 J x 17 ET 36, 225/45 R 17
Sports package 5-twin-spoke light-alloy wheels 7.5/8.5 J x 18 ET 36/30, 225/40 R 18 (front), 245/35 R 18 (rear)

The dynamic, powerful appearance of the CLC with sports package is accentuated by the standard-fit 18-inch 5-twin-spoke light-alloy wheels and 225/40 R 18 (front) and 245/35 R 18 (rear) tyres. Optional extras available for this model variant include multi-spoke light-alloy wheels (18 inch) and AMG light-alloy wheels (18 inch).

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Mercedes CLC Spied: C Class Sportcoupe to be renamed
Mercedes CLC to Debut at Fashion Week Berlin 2008


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