Mercedes-Benz CLC: Sports Coupé with fun factor

Apr 14, 2008
  • New model series as entry route into the world of Mercedes-Benz Coupés
  • Some 1100 new and improved components inside and out
  • Fuel consumption reduced by up to 10.8 percent
  • Direct steering with variable steering ratio for agile handling
  • New infotainment units with Europe-wide navigation
CLC - a new addition to the Mercedes alphabet which stands for a new stand-alone model series - the new member of the successful Mercedes-Benz Coupé family. The CLC is the "youngster" in this coupé line-up - a thoroughly sporty model, lively, self-assured and exciting. A compelling blend of attractive design, reliable safety, tried-and-trusted technology and everyday multipurpose functionality. In short, a genuine Mercedes-Benz whose price tag of less than EUR 30,000 offers an entry route into the coupé line-up of this renowned brand.
The CLCopens up a new chapter in the success story of the C-Class Sports Coupé, which has enthralled some 320,000 drivers around the world since 2001. It was a conquest model, not least because 70 percent of its buyers had never before
opted for a Mercedes-Benz. The two-door model took them by storm, primarily attracting new customers for the brand bearing the famous star. With this virtually unrivalled conquest rate, the Sports Coupé is one of the star performers of the Mercedes strategic product initiative.
It is one thing to conquer new customers, but maintaining their enthusiasm for the brand over the long term is another challenge. The Mercedes Sports Coupé has managed to do both: more than two thirds of buyers of the predecessor to the CLCwere very satisfied with their car and remained loyal to the brand. Better still, some 43 percent of these loyal customers actually opted for a larger Mercedes-Benz after the Sports Coupé and are currently driving an E-Class, CLK or an SLK.
In the spring of 2008 the new Mercedes Sports Coupé will take to the road, bringing with it even more winning attributes so it can continue to secure new conquests like its predecessor.
Standard equipment: typical Mercedes-Benz
The designers and engineers have enhanced or newly developed over 1100 parts, creating a contemporary Sports Coupé, whose all-new front and rear design, along with its even more agile handling in particular, all testify to its metamorphosis, achieved without compromising the proven Mercedes standards in terms of safety and comfort.
Even with just its standard equipment, the new CLC offers a wealth of attractive and practical features. Take for instance the sports seats with better lateral support than ever, THERMATIC automatic climate control system, six-speed transmission, three-spoke multifunction steering wheel, six airbags, belt tensioners and belt-force limiters for all seats as well as the new projection-beam headlamps. A selection of the extensive range of standard equipment:
  • Stowage compartment with cup holder in tunnel covering
  • Adaptive airbags for driver and front passenger
  • Acceleration skid control (ASR)
  • Electrically adjustable and heated exterior mirrors
  • Outside temperature display
  • Brake Assist
  • Diesel particulate filter (for CDI models)
  • ESP®
  • Headlamp Assist
  • Front power windows
  • 1/3 : 2/3 split-folding rear seats
  • Luggage net in front-passenger footwell
  • Belt tensioner and belt-force limiter for driver, front passenger and rear passengers
  • THERMATIC automatic climate control with dust and activated charcoal filter
  • Instrument cluster with white needles
  • Light-alloy wheels (from CLC 230)
  • Steering column adjustable for reach and height
  • Three-spoke multifunction steering wheel with eight buttons
  • Fog lamps
  • Head restraints adjustable for fore-aft position and height, front and rear
  • Halogen projection-beam headlamps
  • ELCODE locking system with infrared/radio remote control
  • Power steering
  • Sidebags for driver and front passenger
  • Front sports seats with EASY-ENTRY system
  • Diffusor-look rear bumper
  • Heat-insulating glass
  • Windowbags
  • Central locking with crash sensor
  • Trim elements in brushed aluminium
Optional extras: factory-fitted individuality and innovations
Individuality is a key component in any coupé. Mercedes-Benz offers its customers a wide range of factory-fitted options so they can tailor the CLC to their own tastes and lifestyle. For instance, customers have a choice of three different upholstery fabrics, three leather colours and many optional extras – ranging from the panoramic sliding sunroof to the dark-tinted rear window and rear side windows, the newly developed infotainment system with colour display and voice control to the bi-xenon headlamps with additional cornering light function. CLC customers also have the option of ten different light-alloy wheels and tyre sizes.
Selected optional extras include:
  • Bi-xenon headlamps with cornering light function and cleaning system
  • Five-speed automatic transmission
  • Direct-steer system
  • Latest-generation infotainment units
  • Leather appointments
  • Leather steering wheel and gear lever
  • Light-alloy wheels (standard from CLC 230)
  • Media interface for external MP3 players and other audio devices
  • Panoramic sliding sunroof
  • PARKTRONIC with new sensors and reprogrammed control logic
  • Rain sensor
  • Rear sidebags
  • Seven-speed automatic transmission (for CLC 230 and CLC 350)
  • Heated front seats
  • Voice control with whole-word recognition capability
  • Surround sound system
  • THERMOTRONIC luxury automatic climate control system (in the Exclusive package)
  • Trim elements in bird's-eye maple
Sports package: even more agility
The sports package further underlines the sporty credentials of the new Mercedes-Benz CLC. Take for instance the headlamps with the dark-tinted surround, darkened tail lights, special aluminium trim elements in the interior, a black roof liner and 18-inch light-alloy wheels. The message from this exclusive model variant is unmistakable: get in and experience a heightened sense of driving enjoyment.
Sports package equipment (selection) at a glance:
  • Cognac brown highlight colour (with leather appointments)
  • Direct-steer system with variable, sporty, dynamic rack ratio
  • Black roof liner
  • Front design: headlamps with black inner surround; radiator grille with black louvres and chrome highlights
  • Instrument cluster with chequered flag pattern dial and red needles; rev counter and speedometer with needles in "6 o'clock position"
  • Rear design: darkened tail lights; third brake light in smoked glass look; oval stainless-steel exhaust silencers
  • Leather sports steering wheel
  • 5-twin-spoke light-alloy wheels (18‑inch) with wide-base tyres 225/40 R 18 (front) and 245/35 R 18 (rear)
  • ARTICO man-made leather upholstery in black or alpaca grey
  • Sports suspension
  • Aluminium-look gear lever with leather gaiter
  • Sporty engine sound (with petrol engines)
  • Brushed stainless steel sports pedals with rubber studs
  • Sports air filter for the V6 models
  • Gearshift paddles on sports steering wheel (with automatic transmission)
  • Dark brushed aluminium trim elements
Technology: driving pleasure as standard
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 through-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 CLC200 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:
CLC 230
CLC 350
2148 cc
2148 cc
1796 cc
1796 cc
2496 cc
3498 cc
Rated output
90 kW/ 122 hp
110 kW/ 150 hp
105 kW/
143 hp
135 kW/
184 hp
150 kW/
204 hp
200 kW/
272 hp
Max. torque
270 Nm
at 1600- 2800 rpm
340 Nm
at 2000 rpm
220 Nm
at 2500 -
4200 rpm
250 Nm
at 2800 -
5000 rpm
245 Nm
at 2900 - 5500 rpm
350 Nm
at 2400- 5000 rpm
0 – 100 km/h
11.3 s
9.7 s
9.7 s
8.6 s
8.4 s
6.3 s
Max. speed
206 km/h
224 km/h
220 km/h
235 km/h
240 km/h
250* km/h
consumption, NEDC comb.
5.8 - 6.1 l/100 km
5.9 - 6.3 l/100 km
7.7 - 8.1 l/100 km
7.8 - 8.2
l/100 km
9.2 - 9.5
l/100 km
9.5 - 9.8
l/100 km
*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 CLC 350 already comes with standard-fit 17-inch light-alloy wheels. The standard-fit wheel and tyre combinations at a glance:
Standard equipment
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).
Headlamps: projection-beam technology for greater visibility after dark
The Mercedes engineers have developed halogen projection-beam headlamps for the new CLC model series, which provide a major boost to driving safety after dark thanks to their long range and uniform beam distribution. Fog lamps are also included in the standard specification. Even more powerful bi-xenon headlamps are available as an option, which Mercedes-Benz combines as standard with the cornering light function and a headlamp cleaning system.
The cornering light function is integrated into the fog lamps and is automatically activated if the driver turns the steering wheel and/or operates the indicator at a speed below 40 km/h. This illuminates the frontal area beside the car to an angle of up to 65 degrees, with a range of approx. 30 metres. As such, this lighting function not only enhances safety when negotiating junctions or turnings but is also active even when taking bends slowly, more effectively illuminating the sides of the road that would otherwise remain in the dark.
PARKTRONIC: parking aid with new control logic
The optional PARKTRONIC parking aid is just one of the many systems and details that have been newly developed or enhanced for the Sports Coupé. The ultrasonic sensors are now set flush in the front and rear bumpers; these sensors identify obstacles that appear at a distance of 100 (front) or 80 centimetres (rear) in front of or behind the CLC. The system response during straight-line reversing has been reprogrammed: in this situation, the visual and acoustic warning for the driver is suppressed if the front end of the Sports Coupé passes a stationary obstacle. This means in practice that if the CLC, for instance, is backed out of the garage, a warning is no longer given if the ultrasonic sensors have identified the garage walls or the door frame. The driver can concentrate fully on reversing. The system then only responds if the driver turns the steering wheel and an obstacle appears in the area covered by PARKTRONIC.
Infotainment: new generation of units provides digital music experience
Information, communication, navigation, entertainment - four components that are currently just as important when driving as, say, agile handling, a high level of comfort or powerful engines. Nobody wants to be without news, telephone, navigation or music in the car. That is why these topics feature at the top of our list of priorities when developing new Mercedes models, including the CLC: the Sindelfingen engineers have developed a new generation of units for the Sports Coupé that bring luxury-class cutting-edge technology to the two-door model.
There is a choice of three units, all of them with a colour display, a twin tuner for improved radio reception, speed-sensitive volume control, a keypad for entering telephone numbers and radio frequencies and a Bluetooth interface which enables a mobile phone to be wirelessly linked to the hands-free system.
  • Audio 20 with CD player
The car radio with integrated CD player (MP3-compatible) features an FM/MW, SW and LW tuner with automatic station search, RDS function (with FM reception), direct frequency selection via the keypad in the centre console and a five-inch colour display.
  • Audio 50 APS with DVD navigation
This infotainment system combines car radio, telephone exchange and Europe-wide DVD navigation system in a single unit. Navigation instructions – including a junction zoom function - are indicated using arrows on a colour display (five inch). The integrated DVD drive can be used for navigation or audio data. If the (optional) six-disc DVD changer is fitted, Audio 50 APS also comes as standard with the enhanced LINGUATRONIC voice-operated control system with whole-word recognition capability.
  • COMAND APS with hard disc for navigation and music library
The multimedia system includes a Europe-wide navigation system with the associated data stored on a hard disc (40 gigabytes). This provides lightning-fast access to navigation data and enables route information to be processed even faster. The roadmap is shown on a high-resolution 6.5-inch colour display. COMAND APS also includes a music library with capacity for four gigabytes of music. Here the driver can store around 1000 tracks in MP3 format from CD, DVD or memory card. The system automatically recognises the tracks and artists and posts this information on the colour display . Above the colour display the unit has a slot for SD memory cards that can also be used as music storage media. COMAND APS is available from Mercedes-Benz with a six-disc DVD changer and voice-operated control system as an option .
Interactive interface for iPod & Co.
The music library and memory card slot included with COMAND APSdemonstrate that entertainment was an important issue when developing the new audio units: Mercedes customers can put together their individual music selection and take it with them on an SD card. For the first time an iPod, USB stick or other external audio devices can be connected up to the infotainment system in the CLC courtesy of a newly developed universal interface; this interface is available ex factory for all infotainment systems in the new CLC. Customers then simply need to obtain a compatible cable that is available from the Mercedes accessories range.
The media interface is much more than just an electronic socket in the glove compartment. The UCIinterface also includes a control unit that connects the external music storage media to the on-board electronics and the Sports Coupé's control system. This has the advantage that the iPod tracks are displayed in the instrument cluster and on the colour screen in the centre console and can be conveniently selected using the buttons on the multifunction steering wheel. The audio device's battery is charged for as long as the portable music player
is connected to the car via the UCI.
The (optional) "Logic7" surround sound system delivers consummate listening pleasure when fitted in the Sports Coupé, providing a natural 360‑degree musical experience on all seats and transforming the CLC into a concert hall on wheels. Regardless of whether the music comes from a DVD or CD, whether it was recorded to Dolby 5.1 surround standard or simply comprises regular stereo recordings, the experience is unsurpassed. A 450 W amplifier distributes the music output.
Voice control with whole-word recognition capability
The voice-operated control system is part of the standard specification for the CLC if Mercedes customers specify the Audio 50 APS with six-disc DVD changer, or the COMAND APS multimedia unit. LINGUATRONIC conveniently operates the telephone, audio and navigation system using its whole-word recognition capability. So the driver no longer has to painstakingly spell everything out but can simply say each particular word when entering a destination, selecting a radio station or calling up a name included in the phone book.
Mercedes-Benz has also made a major contribution to road safety with LINGUATRONIC since the driver no longer needs to take their hands off the wheel in order to operate the phone or audio units, simplifying things for the driver workload and allowing them to concentrate fully on the traffic. In 1996, Mercedes-Benz was the first car maker to offer this kind of voice-operated control system in a car. This first-generation LINGUATRONIC required a computer with a mere 512 kilobytes of storage capacity; today that figure is well over ten megabytes.