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OverviewActive safety: Attentive assistantsChassis and suspension: Agile steering, active suspension, adaptive brakesDesign and materials: Perfect proportionsDrive system: New dimension of efficiencyEquipment: Concert hall and conference roomMercedes-Benz S-Class with three new engines: New benchmark for efficiency in the luxury classModel range: Luxury and performancePassive safety and bodywork: Sturdy structure, sensitive sensorsThe large coupés from Mercedes-Benz: Dream cars and technical trendsettersThe new generation CL-Class – New engines in the S-Class. Highest levels of refinement: the large Mercedes-Benz luxury saloThe new generation Mercedes-Benz CL: The epitome of luxury coupés
Sep 7, 2010
- Seats: maximum comfort with memory and massage function
- Ergonomics: all controls located in the right place
- Cockpit: up-to-date display concept with brilliant colour reproduction
- Infotainment: COMAND and COMAND APS with even more functions
Along with fine materials, beautiful forms and pleasant colours, excellent seating and climate comfort, intelligent operation and state-of-the-art infotainment systems are important attributes of an automobile which is mainly at home over long distances and should offer its occupants the most in terms of luxury. With actively ventilated seats whose backrest and seat cushion contours can be adapted to the driver's individual anatomy, a powerful four-zone automatic climate control with individual setting for the footwell, and intuitively comprehensible man-machine interfaces, the CL meets these requirements in a perfect manner.
The front seats of the Mercedes-Benz luxury coupés are designed as so-called integral seats. All components of the belt system are fitted directly to the seat: the inertia reel with belt force limiter, the automatic comfort-fit feature, the belt buckle and the upper guide point for the belt. This ensures that the seat belt fits optimally in any seat position and thus can develop its full protective effect. It makes the seats important components of the occupant protection system. In a crash they resist highest loads thanks to sturdy seat rails made of extruded aluminium sections and a complex, weight-optimised welded structure made from high-strength steel sheet.
Seats: high comfort over long distances
With individually adaptable backrest and seat cushion contours, active ventilation and a massage function, the integral seats of the CL enhance the personal wellbeing of the car occupants on long journeys. A team of experts who work closely together with orthopaedists and physiotherapists is responsible for their development.
In the CL 500 BlueEFFICIENCY a twelve-way seat offers the driver and front passenger first-class comfort. The fore-and-aft position, backrest and cushion angle, seat height, head restraint and seat cushion depth are electrically adjustable – independently and variably, so that each occupant is able to choose the best individual seating position. To support the lumbar region of the spinal column these seats have pneumatic, two-way lumbar supports. With their help, driver and front passenger can adapt the backrest contour to the anatomy of their backs and so reduce muscle strain. So that the optimal seating position does not have to be changed for another driver or front passenger after being found, the CL is equipped with a memory function as part of the Memory package as standard. Three memory settings can be stored for both the driver and front passenger.
The technical design of the seats of the CL meets highest quality standards. That means: sine springs with polyurethane foam padding in the seat cushion and Pullmaflex spring mat with breathing natural-fibre rubber hair padding in the backrest. In close union with the suspension and body the sophisticated design makes it possible to offset most of the vibrations which can impair wellbeing particularly on long journeys.
The choice of materials and the structure of the CL seats ensure comfort in all weathers and at all temperatures. A perfect seat climate is ensured, for example, by the breathable composite material and the high-quality leather covers. Background: in spring and summer interior temperatures of over 30 degrees Celsius can be measured in cars after brief periods of sunshine so that the occupants quickly work up a sweat after getting in. Since a quarter of the body has contact with the car seat, the seat should be able to absorb and carry off moisture.
Active multicontour seats: lateral support to suit the driving situation
The ultimate in seating comfort is offered by the active multicontour seats in the CL 500 4MATIC BlueEFFICIENCY and CL 600: the occupants can adapt the shape of the seat to their anatomy or their personal comfort needs. This is ensured by nine inflatable air chambers under the upholstery padding, including two for the lumbar region and two for the shoulder area.
In addition, distributed piezo valves on the air chambers which respond quickly to steering movements make the dynamic function of the active multicontour seat possible. The pressure and volume of the air chambers in the side bolsters of the seat backrests are adjusted according to the steering angle, lateral acceleration and speed of the car in order to offer the driver and front passenger even better lateral support. The chambers respond to the driving situation in hand, the system pumping more air into the chambers on the right-hand side of the backrest in left-hand corners, for example, while the left-hand chambers are given extra air through right-hand bends. This active function relieves stress on muscles and thus enhances wellbeing and safety.
Sheer relaxation: special air cushions to massage the back
The Mercedes-Benz luxury coupé is made the ultimate measure of seating comfort in its class by the massage cushion in the backrest of the active multicontour seats: a microcomputer inflates and deflates the cushions in seven separate air chambers in such a way that the passengers sense a pleasant rolling movement across their backs. It stimulates the muscles, improves circulation and counteracts premature fatigue. Four programs can be selected for the purpose. They can be restarted any time after completing a cycle. Four massage programs are available: from "slow and weak" to "fast and powerful". For their regenerating action the active multicontour seats with massage function have been awarded the quality seal of the German "Healthy Back Campaign".
But with that we still haven't reached the end of the line in matters of comfort. The active multicontour seats additionally are actively ventilated: four mini ventilators in the seat cushion and two fans in the backrest extract cool air from the floor area of the interior and distribute it evenly through a ventilation tissue beneath the seat surface. The mild airflow cools the seat surface within minutes and can prevent the car's occupants from sweating, even when it is extremely hot outside.
The pneumatics of the active multicontour seats work quietly, quickly and precisely thanks to high-performance piezo valves, such that the seats can be integrated into the PRE-SAFE® anticipatory occupant protection system: if the PRE-SAFE® system identifies a critical driving situation, it activates the air cushions of the seat backrests in a split second. They embrace the vehicle occupants and support them in such a way that in the event of an accident the dangerous whiplash forces of the upper body can be reduced. The protective action of the sidebag can be even stronger because of this.
Climate control: four temperature zones ensure individual comfort.
Maximum individual adaptation of the vehicle to the different comfort requirements of occupants also is made possible by the standard-fit automatic climate control, which has four separately regulated temperature zones for driver and front passenger.
- The two lower zones correspond to the air vents in the front and rear footwells and the two central vents in the rear.
- The upper temperature zones include the vents in the centre of the dashboard and the defroster outlets on the driver's and front passenger side of the car.
Whereas conventional air conditioning systems work according to pre-programmed stratification of head and footwell temperatures, the zone concept in the CL now allows continuous adjustment of the temperature stratification inside the car. Flaps in the climate control unit are responsible for regulating the temperature in the four zones, ensuring a mixture of cold and warm air and thus controlling the desired outlet air temperatures. A total of 15 electric motors control these cold and warm-air flaps in the mixture zones and the air outlet flaps for the vents.
In addition, the automatic climate control offers a number of other possible individual settings which the driver and front passenger can select with the aid of the COMAND Controller and the COMAND display. Example footwell temperature: the system offers five stages whose settings specifically alter the temperature of the air flowing into the footwells. Since climate-related wellbeing very strongly depends on personal perceptions, the CL's system operates according to individual specifications and wishes, even in automatic mode. And so in addition to the separately adjustable footwell heating there are three different ventilation modes to choose from; the driver and front passenger set them with the COMAND Controller.
- The setting "Diffuse" is designed to deliver the lightest possible airflow. The cooled or warmed air is not channelled directly towards the passengers, but flows predominantly out of the defroster vents in the dashboard, the air outlets in the footwells and from the direct ventilation level.
- In "Focus" mode, meanwhile, the air outlets in the centre area of the dashboard are used for the most part, meeting the need for a direct flow
of a larger quantity of air.
- "Medium" mode is equivalent to the standard automatic mode on a Mercedes air conditioning system.
To further enhance individual comfort, apart from temperature and air distribution the air conditioner of the CL affords the possibility of separate settings for air volume on the left and right side. All it takes is the push of a button on the operating panel on the dashboard or an input into the permanent climate menu line on the COMAND display.
Effective control: eight networked climate sensors
The automatic climate control system of the CL is controlled by a total of eight climate sensors: as well as outlet air temperature sensors, the central temperature sensor, the solar sensor and the evaporator sensor, the system uses a dew point sensor. Working in conjunction with the fully variable refrigerant compressor, this humidity sensor allows the system to respond as required. Intake air is first cooled according to its humidity, then dried and heated to the desired temperature. The air conditioning system works far more efficiently than conventional systems and offers higher levels of comfort.
A demisting sensor detects the beginning formation of moisture on the inside of the windscreen and regulates the automatic climate control accordingly. The sensor is interlinked with the engine management and, when required, prevents undesirable shutdown of the engine by the ECO start/stop function in the eight-cylinder models. So the air conditioner compressor always runs for a sufficiently long time during stop-and-go operation to ensure clear vision. In addition, in wintry conditions the demisting sensor also recognises the increased need for air drying – for instance when four persons in wet skiwear are sitting in the car – and adjusts the automatic climate control accordingly.
In addition, the automatic climate control of the CL is fitted with a pollutant sensor, which measures the amount of carbon monoxide and nitrogen oxide in the outside air. If pollutant concentrations rise beyond a certain level, the air conditioning system switches automatically to recirculation mode. In fresh-air and recirculation modes, two combined filters arranged in a "V" are permanently in use. These absorb pollutants, separate out plant pollen and dust particles and reduce irritation for the passengers caused by odours.
To ensure a consistently smooth flow of air and avoid increasing the atmospheric pressure in the interior, the fan of the automatic climate control is automatically throttled at road speeds higher than 160 km/h. Also, if the intelligently networked sensors register the closing of a car door by the driver or front passenger, the blower speed is reduced by as much as 60 percent. The air pressure in the interior falls and the large coupé doors close more easily. For the same reason the recirculation air flap of the automatic climate control remains open for 90 seconds after the doors are opened. Another clever detail: the rear window heater is not activated until the interior temperature reaches five degrees Celsius so that at extremely cold temperatures the luxury coupé can save energy during the cold-running phase.
Control concept: everything in just the right place
Comfort is also a question of the control concept. In the CL the Mercedes developers have clearly and logically grouped the controls. One major characteristic is the rapid access to frequently used functions. Accordingly, the control system is designed for redundancy: the radio, CD/DVD changer, telephone and navigation system can be accessed either via the new COMAND Controller and its menu structure, or directly using keys. The relevant control keys are ergonomically located in front of the controller, so that the driver can operate them by feel without taking his eyes off the road. The "Return" key takes the driver back to the next-higher menu level; pressing this key longer provides access to the highest control level.
Operation of the automatic climate control system is also possible in two ways, i.e. on a redundancy basis: using the COMAND Controller and menu-based control via the colour display, or by means of an attractively styled switch array beneath the air vents. The COMAND system then allows further individual climate adjustments such as air distribution and footwell adjustment.
The central control of the control and display system COMAND is the COMAND Controller. This turn/push control can be moved in eight directions: turning the controller selects the main menu and submenus on the generously dimensioned COMAND display with an eight-inch (about 20 centimetres) screen, while pushing it accepts the displayed functions. The buttons marked with symbols in front of the controller are used to quit submenus quickly or delete entries.
Functions for the seat and climate settings which tend to be used less frequently in practice also are integrated into the central COMAND control system. To visualise the different display areas the Mercedes-Benz experts developed photo-realistic illustrations which clearly and very comprehensibly support the specific operations.
The Sindelfingen-based experts have grouped together other functions, for which switches and buttons are still the most effective solution, into functionally related control clusters. These control clusters can be found in the CL in the door trim, instrument panel and roof lining. The principle behind the modifications is "everything in just the right place".
The display technique: the LCD TV as model
The displays in the instrument cluster and the standard control and display system COMAND are modelled after modern LCD television screens with LED backlighting. The result is brilliant colour reproduction and crystal-clear images. As another advantage, the displays can be viewed from extreme angles with no colour distortion. The displays are black when the ignition is off. As new feature the Mercedes-Benz developers have integrated the warning and control lamps of the driver assistance systems and the display that shows current fuel consumption and operating range into the instrument cluster.
In the centre of the display a graphically animated speedometer appears as a dial-type gauge. Its needle is partly dissolved in order to emphasise the information of the central display placed in the middle. The graphics computer projects a text line onto the lower edge of the display for controlling as many as seven main menus (depending on equipment) and various submenus for individual settings, displays and operating functions.
Odometer and trip recorder, trip computer, range, fuel consumption, digital speedometer
Directional instructions (indicated by arrows) of the navigation system
Radio programme, TV programme, title display for CD player, CD changer, Video DVD, USB stick, SD card and MUSIC REGISTER …
Number dialled, caller number, telephone directory
Proximity graphics for DISTRONIC, proximity warning, Attention Assist, ESP®, setting of Speed Limit Assist, of Active Blind Spot Assist, of Active Lane Keeping Assist and PRE-SAFE® Brake,
Tyre pressure monitoring system, ASSYST PLUS, service messages
Daytime running lamps, additional digital speedometer, SPEEDTRONIC, Intelligent Light System, Adaptive Highbeam Assist, acoustic locking confirmation signal, activation of radar sensors
Circular, illuminated five-way buttons on the multifunction steering wheel which the driver operates by light thumb pressure serve the rapid selection of these settings and functions. The relevant selection or setting is confirmed by pressing the "OK" key at the centre of the disc. A separate "Return" key enables the driver to return to the next-higher menu level immediately – this too an example of the intelligent control concept of the CL.
The five-way button on the right of the multifunction steering wheel is used to regulate the sound volume and operate the car phone. Below this there is an additional button with which the driver can activate the LINGUATRONIC voice-operated control system (part of the Navigation package, standard for the CL 600). A few verbal commands are then enough to operate the car phone, audio equipment and navigation system.
SPLITVIEW: two programmes on a single screen
Mercedes-Benz also uses a new display technology for the optional SPLITVIEW system for the COMAND control and display system (part of the Front Seat Entertainment package, standard for the CL 600). This innovative display concept allows the driver and front passenger to view different content simultaneously on one and the same screen. While the driver, for example, uses the map-based navigation system, the front passenger can be watching the latest film on DVD. For this purpose the SPLITVIEW option includes a remote control unit and wireless headphones.
The COMAND screen has a backlit active matrix colour display (TFT-LCD) in combination with SPLITVIEW. This shows two different images simultaneously by placing pixels adjacent to each other. A filter masking the display divides this mixed image in such a way that depending on the seating position, only the pixels making up one or the other image can be seen. As a result, the driver and front passenger can view different programmes on the same screen at the same time.
The driver still has access to all the information from the control and display system in the display. The front passenger is able to choose his own entertainment programme with video DVDs, music videos or TV channels.
Multimedia interfaces: top-notch convenience for telephony and entertainment
Mercedes-Benz has also added additional functions to the COMAND system. The multimedia head unit with a radio, telephone operation and a CD/DVD player gets a Bluetooth® interface and a USB interface. The two make it possible for customers to transfer their personal address book from a mobile phone or organiser to the control and display system, where it can be stored for immediate access during a journey. Stored data can also be exported and imported into any other vehicles or multimedia devices.
From the S-Class Saloon, as standard the Mercedes-Benz luxury coupé additionally gets the slot for SD memory cards in the centre console.
As optional extra Mercedes-Benz integrates the Media Interface into the glove compartment – an interface for connecting mobile audio devices like the iPod® with a control unit that links the external music memory to the onboard electronics and the coupé's control systems. The advantage of this is that the titles of the tracks stored on the iPod® can be shown on the colour display in the dashboard and in the instrument cluster, allowing them to be selected almost effortlessly using the COMAND Controller or the buttons on the multifunction steering wheel. The battery in the audio device is also charged while it is connected to the car via the Media Interface.
Music Search: specific search for a favourite music track
Greatest convenience also is afforded by the new, standard-fit Music Search function, which enables drivers and passengers to search SD memory cards, USB sticks, CDs and DVDs for specific music tracks and artists. The search can be according to various criteria, for instance album, music category or composer. If a name needs to be entered, the software will also tolerate spelling mistakes. The driver is therefore able to devote his full attention to the road. As a further advantage, the occupants are able to search all the connected media and devices simultaneously
COMAND APS: HDD navigation for a swift arrival
The COMAND APS infotainment system (standard for the CL 600) offers still more high-tech electronics. The multimedia terminal includes a Europe-wide navigation system whose data are stored on a 40-gigabyte hard drive, allowing even faster route calculations compared to DVD-based navigation. The high-resolution map appears on the 8.0-inch colour display in the centre of the dashboard and provides useful additional information.
By way of example, the map shows speed limits and the outlines of prominent buildings along the route to aid orientation.
With COMAND APS, information from a personal address book also can be used for navigation purposes, giving mainly professional high-mileage drivers a decisive advantage. Depending on how the personal address list is structured, the route search is made by phone number or name.
Helpful for navigation purposes is also the new phone keypad under the armrest for the COMAND Controller, which becomes standard equipment upon the model change. It offers driver and passengers the additional option of entering personal points of interest and navigation data as well as radio frequencies.
Voice-operated control: whole-word voice input for navigation, telephone and radio
In the CL Mercedes-Benz combines COMAND APS with the voice-operated control system LINGUATRONIC and a so-called text-to-speech function as part of the Navigation package. This makes it possible for route-related traffic reports, SMS messages, address book entries or radio station names to be read out to the driver. The system automatically reads out traffic reports that are relevant to
the current route.
the current route.
Mercedes-Benz is among the inventors of modern voice control systems, and has continuously developed its LINGUATRONIC system further in recent years. The navigation system in the CL can now be operated on the basis of whole-word commands, for example: the driver no longer needs to spell out countries, towns or street names, but can simply say them as a whole word. The voice control system is equally convenient when selecting radio stations or entries from the telephone directory: all the available or stored names can be called up without previously training the voice recognition system. The system also has a stored list of synonyms. For example, the driver does not necessarily have to confirm entries or commands with "Yes", but can also say "Ok", "Right", "Good" or "Correct" instead. A special filter suppresses coughing or clearing the throat, so that a voice command does not need to be repeated. LINGUATRONIC also understands variations in tone and pronunciation due to dialects.
MUSIC REGISTER: memory for 2500 tracks
For musical entertainment the Navigation package of the new-generation CL includes a radio, a CD/DVD player with MP3 function, an equalizer with speed-dependent volume control and the MUSIC REGISTER with a 7.2 gigabyte hard disc which stores around 2500 digital music files in the MP3, AAC or WMA format that can be transferred to the Register from PC memory cards or USB sticks. The system recognises music files played on CD, DVD or from the MUSIC REGISTER using its stored Gracenote® database, and shows the title, album and performer in the colour display.
With an improved DAB tuner (DAB = Digital Audio Broadcasting) and additional aerials (optional), the occupants of the CL can also receive digital radio stations in CD quality. The system switches to analogue reception automatically when the DAB signal is too weak. In North America the Mercedes-Benz luxury coupé is equipped with a tuner for the digital HD radio as standard.
Convenience Telephony: luxury coupé becomes a conference room on wheels
Mercedes-Benz specialists have also added new functions to the Convenience Telephony option (standard for the CL 600). The driver and passengers are now able to conduct telephone conferences and send or receive SMS messages. Whereas the basic telephony system connects the mobile phone to the control and display system via Bluetooth®, Convenience Telephony connects the mobile phone to the vehicle via a telephone cradle housed in the compartment beneath the centre armrest. This interface enables the phone to be connected to the vehicle aerial, and its battery is also charged during the journey.
Surround sound system: perfect music enjoyment in 3-D quality
Music enjoyment on a high live-concert level is offered by the Harman Kardon® Discrete Logic7® surround sound system, which is perfectly adapted to the interior of the CL (standard in the CL 600). Developed by Mercedes-Benz together with the audio specialists from Harman Kardon®, this high-end system delivers a natural 360-degree musical experience for all passengers, from both DVD and CD and regardless of whether the source was recorded in 5.1 surround or normal stereo. The audio signals are distributed via a 600-watt amplifier connected to 14 high-performance loudspeakers. Mercedes-Benz offers the surround sound system together with SPLITVIEW und a 6-disc DVD changer as part of the Entertainment package (standard in the CL 600).