At the rate that things are progressing in many parts of the world, where governments are waging wars against high CO2 emissions cars and speeding, it’s inevitable that car buyers will soon trend towards lifestyle cars that are packed with the latest infotainment, powered by the smallest available engine.
We have already seen this in Hong Kong, Singapore, and Japan, where 180 series engines are the norm for Mercedes-Benz A-Class and C-Class models.
Here in Malaysia, the lowest available engine tune is still the 200 series engines - 1.3-litre turbocharged 163 PS for the A200 and 1.5-litre turbocharged 184 PS for the C200. Like all German manufactures, Mercedes-Benz uses DIN hp (PS) instead of metric hp.
Now, Mercedes-Benz China has introduced a new entry variant to the CLS range. Called the CLS 260, it’s a CLS powered by the same 1.5-litre turbocharged 184 PS engine used in the C200, which is sold in China as a long wheelbase C260 L (model code V205).
Like the C200 (and C260 L in China), the CLS 260 benefits from a 48V EQ Boost mild hybrid, which uses belt-driven starter-generator (RSG).
Output for the CLS 260 is identical to the C260 L, 184 PS and 280 Nm. The EQ Boost motor adds another 14 PS/160 Nm of assistance.
China now has one of the strictest exhaust emissions regulations in the world. The China 6 standard is equivalent to Euro 6, but its implementation is a lot stricter, extending to current models in use, as well as used cars.
Last year, car sales in several major Chinese cities plunged after local provincial governments brought forward implementation of China 6 emissions standard, itself a knee-jerk reaction after failing to bring down air pollution levels to a level that’s satisfactory to President Xi Jinping’s ‘Blue Sky’ targets. Customers steered clear from China 5 standard cars as they were unsure how much longer they could continue driving it.
In China, used cars that no longer meet current emission standards are either re-sold in lower tier cities with less strict emissions regulations, or exported to neighbouring countries in Africa or South East Asia. They cannot be resold within the same city.
Speed regulations are also strictly enforced, with cameras at every few hundred metres. The national speed limit of 120 km/h on highways, and between 60 km/h to 80 km/h in the city.
In such an environment, what’s the point of buying a six-cylinder 367 PS/500 Nm CLS 450? So the CLS 260 makes a lot of sense to Chinese buyers.
Closer to home, Mercedes-Benz Malaysia offers three variants of the Mercedes-Benz CLS, all imported from Sindelfingen, Germany.
CLS 350: RM 570,888 (2.0-litre, 4-cylinder, turbocharged, 299 PS/400 Nm)
CLS 450: RM 698,888 (3.0-litre, 6-cylinder, turbocharged 367 PS/500 Nm)
AMG CLS 53: RM 878,888 (3.0-litre, 6-cylinder, turbocharged 435 PS/520 Nm)