The driver and vehicle form a perfect team in the interior of the new CL-Class. This is made possible by a newly developed control concept adopted from the
S-Class, which is based on extensive ergonomic and perceptual psychology studies, and takes into account the findings from many months of acceptance testing conducted with Mercedes customers all over the world.
The key aims in the development of the operating system for the new S-Class were adaptation and integration, i.e. tailoring technology to the needs of people as effectively as possible (adaptation) in order to optimise safety and enhance comfort, and ensuring clearly and logically arranged controls (integration).
Mercedes engineers have moved the infrequently used seat and climate control adjustment functions, which were operated using separate switches or buttons in the outgoing model, into the central control system COMAND. 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 door trim, instrument panel and roof lining. The principle behind the modifications is "everything in its place".
Rapid access to frequently used functions is a major characteristic of the intelligent control system in the S-Class. This means that the driver is not required to relearn, is able to retain old habits and feels at home immediately. The control system is designed for redundancy: the radio, TV receiver, CD/DVD changer, telephone and navigation system can be accessed either via the new COMAND controller and its menu structure, or directly using buttons. The relevant control buttons are ergonomically located in front of the controller, so that the driver can operate them by feel without having to look down. The "Return" button takes the driver back to the next-higher menu level.
The buttons and controls on both sides of the COMAND controller are just as easily accessible. The buttons on the right switch the system on or off, regulate the sound volume or activate the mute function, while the switch array on the left allows the driver to select the transmission mode and adjust the rear head restraints. As another special feature, there is also an individually programmable button for specific functions chosen by the driver. It can be programmed to operate the rear window blind, activate the interior monitoring and tow-away protection system or repeat the route recommendations given by the navigation system, for example.
Operation of the standard 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 allows further individual climate adjustments such as air distribution and footwell adjustment.
The new functions which are now also controlled via COMAND include individual adjustment of the standard lumbar supports and multicontour seats (see page 59). The display shows a photo-quality image of the seat with the different air cushions highlighted in colour. These can be individually selected using the controller, then adjusted as required. As before, all other seat adjustments and functions are grouped into clearly arranged control clusters in the doors.
Colour cockpit display with clear menu-controlled functions
The steering wheel and instrument cluster are the primary areas in the newly developed control system. These integrate all the important information and functions required by the driver. The centrepiece is an eight-inch (16 : 9) high-resolution colour display with the latest TFT (Thin Film Transistor) technology for an impressively clear image. There is a graphically animated dial speedometer whose needle is partially overlapped to highlight the information presented by the central display. The graphics computer generates a text bar on the lower edge of the TFT display, where up to seven main menus – depending on the equipment levels specified and – and various sub-menus governing individual settings, displays and control functions can be accessed:
Odometer and trip recorder, trip computer, range, digital speedometer.
Directional instructions (indicated by arrows) by the navigation system.
Radio programme, TV programme, title display for CD player, CD-changer and
Number dialled, caller number, telephone directory.
Distance display for DISTRONIC, proximity warning, settings for reversing
Tyre pressure control, ASSYST PLUS, messages.
Daytime driving lights, digital secondary speedometer, SPEEDTRONIC, activation
of radar sensors.
Five-way buttons on the steering wheel
For rapid selection of these functions Mercedes-Benz has developed the controls on the standard multifunction steering wheel further, using circular, illuminated five-way buttons which the driver operates by light thumb pressure. The relevant selection or setting is confirmed by pressing the "OK" button at the centre of the disc. A separate "Return" button enables the driver to return to the next-higher menu level immediately.
The five-way button on the right of the multifunction steering wheel is used to regulate the sound volume (vertical) and operate the car phone (horizontal). Below this there is an additional button with which the driver can activate the LINGUATRONIC voice control system (optional). A few verbal commands are then enough to operate the car phone, audio equipment and navigation system.
COMAND: screen in the driver’s line of vision
The successful Cockpit Management and Data System – COMAND for short – has undergone further technical development with enhanced styling. The result is a considerable increase in its capabilities. In addition to the familiar telematics and audio units, Mercedes engineers have now integrated various vehicle functions which previously required individual controls. Two new features are immediately obvious:
- The large eight-inch 16:9 colour display, which is now positioned at the same level as the instrument cluster and is therefore even more visible to the driver and front passenger. The display can also be electrically pivoted to the left or right by ten degrees.
The new aluminium COMAND controller with the handrest trimmed in fine wood (CL 600) or leather (CL 500), which serves as the mechanical and electronic interface between the front occupants and COMAND. The main and sub-menus for the control system are selected by rotating or nudging the controller, which is then pressed to confirm the relevant function. A geared electric motor assists the movements of the controller and provides tactile feedback. The rotary function is automatically locked when the end of a display sequence has been reached, for example. If a car phone is fitted ex factory, the handrest can be flipped up to reveal the telephone keypad.
A new operating structure, up-to-date colours and clear, photo-quality graphics also make the COMAND menu selection procedure a gratifying visual experience. The screen content is horizontally divided into separate areas which are easily accessed using the controller. As in the central display in the instrument cluster, the system is accessed via a menu bar which contains up to five main functions:
Road map, destination input, destination memory.
Radio, CD player or changer, DVD audio, MP3, rear entertainment (optional),
Telephone, address book, news.
TV reception, DVD video, auxiliary port.
Rear blind, exterior mirrors (convenience settings), easy entry and exit
(steering wheel), headlamp switch-off delay, ambient lighting (optional),
locator lighting, automatic locking, interior monitoring, tow-away protection,
boot lid stop.
Calling up one of the menus activates further menu bars on the lower edge of the COMAND display. When the radio is switched on, for example, these allow additional settings to be accessed, including sound, balance/fader, waveband and a list of stations. The newly designed radio dial clearly displays radio stations, which the driver or front passenger can change by rotating the controller. The usage principle behind the menus is straightforward and easy to get to grips with: functions or lists arranged under the sub-menus are called up by pressing the controller, while elements within the lists are activated by turning the controller or nudging it up or down, then pressing it. To close one of the lists, it is sufficient to move the controller to the side or press the "Return" button in front of the controller.
A radio, CD player and PC card player in one
The COMAND system in the CL-Class combines the latest audio, video and navigation technology. The following functions are included in the standard configuration:
SW, MW, LW and FM reception. Twin FM tuner with RDS/TMC. Automatic station
memory for all receivable radio programmes. 20 station memory presets per
Four x 25 watts. Ten loudspeakers.
Single deck for music CDs and for audio or video DVDs. Also for MP3 formats.
Slot for PCMCIA cards below the CD/DVD player.
Navigation data on a computer hard disc
COMAND can be ordered with a navigation system as an option (standard for CL 600). In addition to the satellite receiver (Global Positioning System) and yaw-rate sensor, this system also contains a 20-gigabyte hard drive, which allows impressively high-speed access to navigation data and even quicker route planning than with a DVD-based navigation system. During the route guidance procedure, the navigation system provides even more precise information than ever and recommends which lane the driver should get into on a motorway, for example. Audible traffic congestion reports are also an option, meaning that the driver no longer has to read this information on the display and can therefore focus more effectively on what's happening on the road ahead.
Sound experience based on the latest digital audio technology
The sound system developed specially for the new Mercedes-Benz S-Class is also available as an option for the luxury Coupé. It offers a live-concert-quality musical experience. Mercedes-Benz sound engineers joined forces with audio experts harman/kardon® to introduce technology never before seen in a car and create a whole new three-dimensional sound experience. The system delivers a previously inconceivable, natural 360-degree musical experience for all passengers, whether from a DVD or CD source and from 5.1 surround or normal stereo recordings. The musical signals are distributed via a 600-watt amplifier located in the rear of the Coupé.
Among the factors influencing sound quality are not only signal processing and transmission, but also special, innovative metal matrix loudspeakers. The rigidity-to-weight ratio of their sophisticated membranes is three times greater than conventional loudspeakers. This gives them extra sensitivity.
Dimensional concept: comfort made to measure
As with the control system, Mercedes engineers followed a clear principle when developing the dimensional concept for the interior: the car had to adapt to the people inside it, rather than vice versa. With this aim in mind, they developed an interior whose spaciousness and ergonomics are rooted in scientific research findings. The result for the occupants is an outstanding feeling of space, freedom of movement and long-distance comfort. The new flagship Coupé by Mercedes-Benz is slightly larger than its predecessor: with a length of 5065 millimetres, a width of 1871 millimetres and a height of 1418 millimetres, the body is 75 millimetres longer, 14 millimetres wider and 20 millimetres higher than before. The boot capacity has increased by 40 litres to 490 litres (acc. to VDA measuring method).
Passengers in the new CL-Class thus benefit from even greater spaciousness: elbow room for the driver and front passenger has increased by 54 millimetres, and shoulder room in the rear by 16 millimetres.
Seats: wellness on wheels
With individually adaptable backrest and cushion contours, active ventilation and an innovative massage function, the integral seats of the new Mercedes-Benz CL-Class increase the personal wellbeing of the occupants on long journeys. The seal of approval by an independent jury representing "Aktion Gesunder Rücken", a German organisation which tests products for spine-friendly design, confirms the high quality of the newly developed multicontour seat and its health-promoting effects.
The front seats of the CL-Class are designed as so-called integral seats. All the components of the seat belt system are mounted directly on the seat: the inertia-reel mechanism with belt force limiter, automatic comfort-fit, belt buckle and the upper reversing point for the belt. This ensures that the seat belt is in the best possible position for any seat adjustment, and can therefore carry out its protective function to best effect. Accordingly the seats are important components of the occupant protection system. Thanks to robust seat rails of extruded aluminium sections and their sophisticated, weight-optimised welded construction using high-strength steel, they are able to withstand even the most extreme forces during a crash.
Even the newly developed standard seat provides the driver and front passenger with 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. This also applies to comfort and support for the lower back, as pneumatic lumbar supports are also standard equipment for the front seats. These enable the driver and front passenger to adapt the backrest contours to their own anatomy, relieving stress on the back muscles.
The technical construction of the newly developed seats for the CL-Class meets the traditionally high standards of quality maintained by the Mercedes-Benz brand in this area. This means sinus springs with a polyurethane foam pad in the seat cushion and Pullmaflex suspension padding with a breathable natural fibre/rubberised mat in the backrest.
Active seat ventilation even more effective
The seat development specialists at Mercedes are not only concerned with classic comfort characteristics such as the springs and padding, but also with the all-round wellbeing of the car’s occupants. The materials and structure of a Mercedes seat must ensure comfort in all weather and temperature conditions. This is ensured by breathable materials and the high-quality leather upholstery used for CL-Class seats.
Even more climatic comfort is provided by actively ventilated luxury seats, which are standard equipment in the CL 600: miniature fans in the seat cushion and backrest take in cool air at floor level and evenly distribute this via an air-permeable fabric under the surface of the seat. This gentle airflow ensures that the occupants remain cool and comfortable even at high outside temperatures.
Specialists have now improved this technology even further. The heated, actively ventilated luxury seats in the new CL-Class are equipped with even more efficient fan controllers, which regulate likewise improved mini-fans in the seat cushion (4) and backrest (2) of each front seat. The upholstery materials have also been modified to improve the efficiency of the heating and ventilation functions even further. The heating elements are now located directly beneath the seat covers.
New multicontour seat with two additional air chambers
Like active seat ventilation, the multicontour seat is a very successful Mercedes invention which greatly contributes to the high level of long-distance comfort in cars bearing the Mercedes star. Multicontour means that the occupants are able to adapt the contours of the seat to their individual anatomical or comfort requirements. This is made possible by air chambers within the seat padding.
A new-generation multicontour seat is used in the CL-Class. This has even more functions – and therefore provides even greater comfort. While the previous multicontour seat featured seven air chambers, the driver and front passenger are now able to adjust four zones in their seats with the help of nine air chambers. These are ...
- the two side bolsters of the seat cushion;
- the lumbar support, which is also height-adjustable;
- the two side bolsters of the seat backrest;
- the shoulder support.
Thanks to new piezo valves, the pneumatics of the multicontour system operate even more quietly and precisely than before. Moreover, the valves are now in a decentralised configuration and therefore respond more rapidly, which means that for the first time, the multicontour seats can also be integrated into the PRE-SAFE® anticipatory occupant protection system: if PRE-SAFE® detects the risk of a collision, it not only tensions the front seat belts but also inflates the air chambers in the side bolsters of the seat cushions and backrests as a precaution. These bolsters enclose and support the occupants, also increasing the distance to the interior door panels during an impact and enabling the sidebag to fulfil its protective function more effectively.
Lateral support tailored to the driving situation
Customers can enjoy the ultimate in seat comfort by specifying the dynamic variant of the multicontour seat for the new CL-Class (standard in the CL 600). The new, decentralised piezo valves for the air chambers noticeably improve the dynamic function of the multicontour seat by responding more rapidly to steering movements. The pressure and volume of the side air chambers in the seat backrests are adjusted in a matter of seconds 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 dynamic multicontour function relieves stress on the muscles and thus promotes physical wellbeing.
Separate air chambers for a relaxing back massage
The massage function for the dynamic multicontour seat is also a completely new development by Mercedes specialists. This no longer makes use of the air chambers with which the seat contours are adjusted, but rather a separate package of air chambers which is directly integrated into the seat padding. This means that the individual comfort settings are retained.
A micro-computer controls the seven separate massage air chambers. This inflates and empties the air chambers according to a fixed programme, which passengers in the new CL-Class perceive as a pleasant, pulsing motion across the entire back. This stimulates the muscles, improves the circulation and helps to prevent early fatigue.
The massage programme lasts for five minutes and can be restarted at any time once the cycle has finished. The intensity and speed of the massage function can also be individually adjusted, from "slow and gentle" to "fast and powerful".
Climate control: four temperature zones for individual comfort
The numerous series of tests conducted by the passenger car development department at Mercedes-Benz and DaimlerChrysler Research provide clear evidence that a high-performance air conditioning system is one of the most important elements in keeping a driver alert and focused during long journeys. A driver's powers of concentration and reactions are influenced critically by the climate inside the vehicle.
The automatic climate control system of the new CL-Class is based on the system used in the S-Class since autumn 2005, and meets the highest standards. Each passenger can adjust the temperature in their area of the car individually, the system working according to a new concept based on four independently controlled temperature zones. The engineers refer to upper and lower temperature zones:
- 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 sides of the car.
Whereas conventional air conditioning systems work according to pre-programmed stratification of head and footwell temperatures, the new zone concept in the new CL-Class 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 airflow 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.
Personalised settings are also possible in automatic mode
The automatic climate control system also offers a range of other individual adjustment options, which the driver and front passenger can select using the COMAND controller and the COMAND display. One example is the footwell temperature. The system features five settings which can be selected to raise the outflow temperature specifically in the footwell area.
Since the definition of what constitutes climatic comfort is highly subjective, even in automatic mode the system in the new CL-Class works according to individual settings and preferences. In addition to individually adjustable footwell heating, there are three different types of ventilation to choose from, which the driver and front passenger can select using the COMAND controller:
- Medium airflow: This setting is equivalent to the previous automatic mode in a Mercedes air conditioning system.
Diffuse airflow: This mode delivers 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.
Focused airflow: In this setting, the automatic climate control pushes out larger quantities of air and channels it mainly through the vents in the direct ventilation level.
In the interests of raising individual comfort levels still further, the air conditioning system in the new CL-Class now allows the driver and passengers to adjust the quantity of air separately for the left and right-hand sides of the car, as well as the temperature and air distribution. They can do this at the touch of a button on the attractively styled dashboard control panel, or by going into the climate control menu bar on the COMAND display.
Sensors for temperature, humidity, solar radiation and pollutants
The system is controlled by a total of eight climate control sensors. As well as outflow temperature sensors in the four temperature zones, the central temperature sensor next to the ignition switch, the solar sensor and the evaporator sensor, the automatic climate control system also uses a special dew point sensor to respond to changes in humidity. 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.
In addition, the automatic climate control in the new CL-Class 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 mode, 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.
Interior lighting: pleasant ambient lighting during the journey
Light is synonymous with safety, but it also influences comfort. The Mercedes engineers took both aspects into account in the development of the interior lighting system for the new CL-Class. In order to ensure that the occupants feel as comfortable in darkness as during the day, the switches and controls benefit from indirect lighting, and the footwells and door handle recesses feature lamps which give off a pleasant amber light. This helps to create a pleasant ambience during the journey. An LED in the rear-view mirror casing also contributes to the interior lighting and is directed towards the centre console.
The diffuse light for the front of the car has five dimmer settings and can be adjusted individually using the buttons on the multifunction steering wheel and the central display in the instrument cluster. The brightness of the front and rear footwell lighting automatically dims when the doors are closed.
Mercedes-Benz is offering a special optional extra (standard in the CL 600) which makes night driving in the CL-Class even more of a special experience: indirectly illuminated wood trim elements in the doors and dashboard. Thin optical fibres located behind the trim strips and illuminated by LEDs generate a harmonious and continuous band of light below the waistline, improving orientation for the passengers and at the same time enhancing comfort and the feeling of spaciousness. The brightness of this ambient lighting can be individually adjusted and is automatically activated as soon as the doors are closed.