The suspension: Excellent dynamics without compromising on comfort

Supreme driving dynamics coupled with superlative ride comfort on long journeys were the terms of reference in developing the chassis for the new Coupé, whose design and functions are geared towards a stylish sportiness. To this end the chassis concept, which has already been excellently received by the trade press and the public in the new E-Class, has undergone a thorough revamp, adding a central new component: electromechanical power steering features in the new CLS as a world first in the upper vehicle segment. This pioneering innovation offers the engineers broad scope for new tuning options and will be introduced in a large number of Mercedes-Benz models in the coming years. In addition, this steering technology also makes an important contribution to the overall efficiency of the CLS: the steering assist function only requires energy when steering actually takes place, cutting fuel consumption by up to 0.3 litres/7 g compared to the previous model.

In the new steering system the steering gear and the supporting servo-motor form a single compact unit and are mounted as previously on an extremely rigid and low-weight integral support frame made of high-strength steel which is positioned in front of the wheel's centre line. As previously, the steering gear is designed as a direct-steer system, which means that the steering ratio becomes noticeably more direct over the steering angle. This enhances the vehicle's handling and agility substantially.

In combination with the sensors and the control unit the new steering system allows substantially greater degrees of freedom in configuring the forces which the driver is required to apply at the steering wheel in different driving situations - from parking to fast motorway driving. Active damping enhances the feeling of safety when driving straight ahead at high speed. The desired steering feel has been defined on the basis of an extensive study conducted by Mercedes' driving dynamics engineers (see section "Under the microscope: the Mercedes-Benz steering feel").

In addition to more precise steering and a more comfortable feel at the wheel, the new electric power steering - whose production costs are markedly higher than those for the hydraulic systems employed to date - offers a range of additional advantages. Power assistance remains available when the engine is stationary, for example - whereby a control algorithm ensures that the combustion engine is not prompted to start up in ECO start/stop mode when the driver merely plays with the steering wheel while the vehicle is at a standstill. The new steering system has also enabled implementation of the "Active Park Assist" automatic parking function (see section "Active safety") and relieves the strain on the driver on road surfaces which slope away towards the kerb.

The new steering system also assists with braking on a surface with vastly varying grip (split friction surface). Sensors recognise the impending yaw (the vehicle starts to turn towards the side of the lane with more grip). Through the superposition of steering moment the driver receives an impulse to countersteer. If he or she acts on this signal, the steering moment is withdrawn. Series of tests conducted with drivers have shown that deploying the Steering Assist on split friction surfaces has improved the directional stability and shortened the braking time.

The new CLS Coupé comes with a mechanically length- and height-adjustable steering column as standard. A variant featuring electric length and height adjustment with easy entry function is optionally available as part of the Memory package. The mechanical and electric versions of the steering column are height-adjustable by +/- 25 mm from the steering wheel's home position and length-adjustable by 15 mm towards the front and 35 mm towards the rear.

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