Design: Raciness takes to the road

Muamer Hodzic January 27, 2008

Agility, vitality, performance – the characteristic attributes of the new CLC are literally written on its face. The front design encapsulates this consummately: the lines generate a powerful appearance courtesy of the wide coupe radiator grille, the centrally located Mercedes star, the projection-beam headlamps extending well into the front wings and the bumper featuring a large air inlet, symbolising at first glance what the new Sports Coupe has to offer – pure verve and dynamism.

At the same time, these expressive front design styling touches firmly position the two-door model as a member of the contemporary Mercedes family. Similarities with familiar models are anything but coincidence. The Sports Coupe bears the typical family traits of the well-known, established coupe members, including the luxury CL Coupe, the four-door CLS and the CLK. The new CLC steps forward as a self-confident newcomer, emphasising its distinctive personality.

One typical feature of the contemporary Mercedes design idiom is the arrow shape of the front end – a styling touch with a symbolic character that emphasises typical attributes such as forward motion and agility. The front design of the new Sports Coupe embraces this hallmark and takes it to new heights. For instance, the distinctive line, which adds visual emphasis to the V-shape, begins at the bottom louvre of the radiator grille and extends along the whole bonnet. It then reappears at the rear end, divides up the spoiler and chrome trim strip and finally flows downwards into the bumper. Design quality down to the last detail.
These lines, which interact harmoniously with the large, smooth surfaces, define the contemporary Mercedes design style. No extra flourishes, no superfluous embellishments and no design complexities. Instead you have clarity and calm. The design idiom concentrates on what is important, thereby emphasising the intrinsic and functional beauty of things.

Even at first glance the new Sports Coupe comes across as a striking proposition, reinforced inside and out by numerous nods to the world of motor racing, such as the subtle side air intakes in the front bumper. With the sports package this is also reflected in the black instrument cluster with its filigree chequered flag pattern used as a background: its luminous red needles are located at the “six o’clock position” when at rest and spring into action when the engine is turned on to create a very striking effect.
Dynamic wedge-shaped side view

The side view of the CLC is unmistakable with its muscular lines. The dominant upper edge of the wings underscores the wedge shape of the downward-slanting shoulder line, which combines at the rear with the upper edge of the tail lights. Taken in conjunction with the gently sloping bonnet, the sweeping silhouette of the roof and the obliquely angled rear windscreen give rise to the wedge-shaped side view which harmonises perfectly with the car’s racy temperament. The all-round chrome trim strips, which are an additional eye-catcher, particularly when combined with dark exterior paint finishes, provide the finishing touches to the coherent lines.

The message is “Ready for action” – all you have to do is get in, start the engine and press the accelerator to actively experience the verve of the Mercedes Sports Coupe.

Athletic rear end

The rear too illustrates that the new CLC is youthful and progressive. Well built and extremely fit, this is a car with an allure that’s hard to resist. The spoiler integrated in the tailgate spans the entire width of the body in a gentle curve and – along with the redesigned, two-part tail lights – it extends with these flowing lines well forwards into the sides of the body, providing a visual link between the rear end and the flanks. Spoiler, tail lights and bumper divide up the CLC rear end, emphasising its width and adding decisively to the car’s outstanding expressiveness. The row of LEDs that makes up the third brake light unit and the chrome tailgate handle add further lustre, while the diffuser-look rear bumper is equally effective, reminiscent of the Sports Coupe’s “big” brothers and their motor racing triumphs.

Sports package: exclusive appearance

The sports package brings out the very best in the CLC. The Mercedes designers have emphasised the particular character of this model variant by using different colours for certain body details: the inner surrounds of the headlamps are painted black, the radiator grille louvres are also in black, while the wide air intake in the bumper is offset with its mesh-type grille in an elegant grey. At the rear, the darkened covers on the tail lights and the third brake light unit as well as the oval stainless steel trim on the exhaust silencer catch the eye. Last but not least, the CLC with sports package is shod with stylish 18-inch 5-twin-spoke light-alloy wheels.

Colour touches in the interior

Design, feel and ergonomics – these are the characteristics that set the interior of the new Mercedes-Benz CLC apart. A harmonious three-part composition consisting of attractive shapes, high-quality materials and precision design work. Sitting down comfortably in the standard sports seat and gripping the three-spoke sports steering wheel immediately brings on a feeling of well-being, of being at home.

Everything fits like a glove; the controls are easily accessible and the instruments convey a clear message – the ideal conditions for a sporty driving experience.

Colour and trim – the right choice of colours and materials for the interior of a car – is an increasingly important aspect. More than ever before, customers attach importance to the design and appointments in the interior when making their buying decision. And no wonder – these days, drivers are spending more and more time behind the wheel, and naturally want to spend this time in the most attractive and comfortable surroundings possible. In the new CLC, Mercedes designers have set the tone by offering three different upholstery colours: black, alpaca grey and, in the case of fabric upholstery, a particularly stylish combination of black and red.

There is also a choice of black and alpaca grey for the optional leather interior. In addition, a further attractive interior colour – cognac brown – is available exclusively in conjunction with the sports package.

Mercedes customers have a choice of interior trim as well as colours. Even the standard specification for the CLC features light brushed aluminium trim elements, while the sporty interior atmosphere provided by the sports package is accentuated with trim in darker aluminium. The interior is lent even more elegance by the optional fine wood trim in black bird’s-eye maple.
A closer look at the aluminium trim in the Sports Coupe reveals a small detail that adds a particularly elegant touch, namely a fine chrome strip surrounding the aluminium surface. The two materials – chrome and aluminium – are formed and finished together. To ensure the bright sheen of the chrome surround comes to the fore as it should, great care must be taken during painting to prevent the paint destined for the aluminium surface from getting onto the chrome. A painstaking process that requires great precision, and one that underlines a typical strength of Mercedes designers – attention to detail.

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