Rebranding isn’t as annoying when it means more horsepower.
The Mercedes CLS and Porsche Panamera have more in common than four doors and German pedigree. Both are also attempts at making the sedan body style more coupe-like, although the Panamera has always gone the performance route while the CLS sticks to its good looks to distinguish itself. In fact it looks so good that no one would ever guess that it’s already five years old and in need of a redo. Automotive News claims that a refresh will come in 2018 and could change the model line forever.
Fervent fans of the new E-Class will be happy to know that the next generation of CLS will share the same Modular Rear Architecture with the midrange sedan and will adopt many of its semi-autonomous driving features. While Mercedes won’t prematurely disclose new engine options, it’s likely that the new CLS will replace its V6 engine with Mercedes’ latest and greatest lineup of inline-six units. E-Class lovers will also be happy about one other change Mercedes might make: altering the last letter of the car’s name so that it’s badge would bear the letters “CLE” and saving the “CLS” moniker for an AMG model. The reason for this is the Porsche Panamera.
While Stuttgart’s finest is nowhere near Mercedes in terms of raw sales numbers, Porsche has been playing the field well lately and the Tri-Star wants to take action before its rival catches up. Even so, AMG is now so large that it sells as many cars as Porsche did prior to the Macan, and that lead may be all but ensured once Mercedes brings out a four-door AMG GT model. As you may have guessed, that four-door AMG GT would be the one getting the CLS name while its CLE cousin would collect cash from those who only buy a car for its looks. This rumor has yet to be confirmed, as do the whispers that Mercedes might drop the CLS Shooting Brake, a not-for-America hatchback that bears some resemblance to the old Panamera.