One of the most important premieres at this week's LA Auto Show was the all-new 2019 Mercedes-Benz CLS.
And what most people were impressed about was it's design. Not its features, not even its engine range, but its styling - which to be fair, was to be expected since it's marketed as a sportier alternative to the conventional E-Class, on which it is based.
The first-generation CLS went about doing that in spectacular fashion. It was the world's first four-door coupe, and it's because of that model that Audi followed suit with the A7 Sportback, and BMW the 6-Series Gran Coupe.
So after creating a brand new niche and impressing just about everybody with the first-generation CLS, Mercedes took some of heat for the design of the second-generation model, which all but abandoned its predecessor's sleek and uninterrupted exterior styling.
With the all-new model, Mercedes ditched the 2nd-gen's heavily styled exterior and sort of went back to its roots with this new car. The all-new 2019 CLS should actually remind you of the first-gen car. Don't believe it? Check it out:
W219 Mercedes-Benz CLS (2005-2010)
As you can see, the German automaker has again opted to let all design elements flow freely and uninterrupted, from the edge of the headlights all the way to the rear of the car. You could say the 2nd-gen was over-styled, whereas its successor is more lithe - which is definitely an improvement.
Furthermore, the 2019 CLS also looks a bit more like a proper coupe thanks to its pointy front end, whereas the previous one could have been any other Mercedes model based on its headlight, grille, bonnet and front bumper design, especially after the facelift.
The rear is probably the least impressive aspect of the new model's looks, but at least the new CLS' derriere is about as different as it gets compared to what we saw on the 2nd-gen model and, once again, not as heavily stylized.
The interior is also clearly an improvement over its predecessor's cabin, which received a new steering wheel and some new materials after its update in 2014. So if you love what Mercedes are doing with the all-new E-Class, you'll probably feel the same way about the CLS - it's even got illuminated air vents, not to mention all the safety tech that have trickled down from the flagship S-Class.
The new CLS is also more practical, as it is, for the very first time, a five-seater, although to fit three adults in the rear might need some concessions on their part. To be fair, this kind of makes it a little less exclusive than both of its predecessors, yet Mercedes might end up selling more cars because of the extra passenger room.
So there you have it. An iconic model has been redesigned to look more like the car that started it all and yet be in line with the brand's corporate styling language while still retaining its own identity. Merc's designers definitely deserve the kudos for making this happen.
To be fair, though, this is our take in comparing the two models, and taste is definitely subjective; so what do you think, is the all-new CLS an improvement or not? Feel free to chip in at the comments section below.