Technology: Driving pleasure as standard

Muamer Hodzic January 27, 2008
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 Coupe.
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 Coupe 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 Coupe
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
Key data for the CLC engine line-up at a glance:
CLC 180 K
CLC 200 K
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
230 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
Max. speed
Fuel consumption,
NEDC comb.
5.8 – 6.1
5.9 – 6.3
7.7 – 8.1
7.8 – 8.2
9.2 – 9.5
9.5 – 9.8
*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 Coupe’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
Coupe. 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:
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
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 Coupe. 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 Coupe 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.
Sports seats: enhanced lateral support with the familiar Mercedes
The interior of the new Mercedes-Benz CLC is akin to a tailor-made suit. A
sporty cut with its perfect fit and top-quality comfort. The standard-fit
sports seats with their enhanced lateral support and contemporary material
combination add decisively to this all-round feeling of comfort. The side
bolsters are made out of ARTICO man-made leather, while the centre sections of
the seat and backrest are lined with fabric. A foam cushion with multiple
ventilation holes trimmed in a breathable fabric provides the hallmark
Mercedes “springing and damping” qualities.
Both the fore-aft setting and the seat height are continuously adjustable. The
seat cushion can also be adjusted individually. First-class comfort for seat,
head restraint and steering wheel settings comes courtesy of the optional
Exclusive package for the new Sports Coupe. Simply by pressing a button in the
door trim, the electric motors adjust the seat, head restraint and steering
wheel to the desired positions that are stored together with the settings for
the electrically adjustable exterior mirrors. This practical memory function
works on the driver and front passenger seat.
The Exclusive package for the new CLC also includes the THERMOTRONIC luxury
automatic climate control system that offers even more functions and more
sophisticated sensors than the standard-fit THERMATIC. The unit automatically
controls temperature and air distribution separately for the driver and front
passenger side by analysing sensor signals relating to exterior and interior
temperature, sun position, humidity and level of pollution in the outside air.
THERMOTRONIC also includes an activated charcoal filter.
Infotainment: new generation of units provides digital music
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 Coupe that bring luxury-class cutting-edge technology
to the two-door model.
Three units are available; all include a colour display, a twin tuner for
enhanced radio reception, speed-sensitive volume control, a keypad for
entering telephone numbers and radio frequencies as well as a Bluetooth
interface that wirelessly links a mobile phone 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 identifies the
tracks and performers and shows the 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. As an option, COMAND APS is available from
Mercedes-Benz with a six-disc DVD changer and voice-operated control system.
Interactive interface for iPod & Co.
The music library and memory card slot included with COMAND APS demonstrate
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.
This new interface is dubbed Universal Consumer Electronic Interface – UCI for
short. Yet there is more to it than just an electronic socket in the glove
compartment. The UCI interface also includes a control unit that connects the
external music storage media to the on-board electronics and the Sports
Coupe’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. Moreover, the audio device’s battery is also
charged up as long as the portable music storage media is connected to the car
via the UCI interface.
The (optional) "Logic7" surround sound system delivers consummate listening
pleasure when fitted in the Sports Coupe, 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.
The sound output is digitised during the brief dialogue, converted into a
frequency spectrum and finally analysed. Within a matter of milliseconds the
computer extracts various features from the voice input and identifies the
phonemes – the distinct sound units that make up speech. The software
instantly verifies each sound, combines the various phonemes, compares them
against the contents of a stored phoneme dictionary and also calculates the
acoustic probability of the word. Consequently, the system can recognise even
minute differences in pronunciation; for instance, it can differentiate
between the words "street" and "straight". The system includes the phonemes
for six different languages.
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.

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