The Mercedes-Benz CLS will pick up a new MBUX infotainment system next year in Australia. Meanwhile, spy photos have confirmed it’s due for a minor mid-cycle update shortly afterwards.

    Mercedes-Benz Australia has confirmed CLS models will start arriving in March 2021 with the new generation of infotainment. The change was revealed by the company’s American arm in June of last year.

    The CLS will continue to use two 12.3-inch screens like the current car, which runs Mercedes’ older COMAND system.

    CLS buyers will also get the option of selecting the Innovation Package. This adds augmented reality for the satellite navigation plus the MBUX Interior Assistant, which changes what appears on the touchscreen based on front seat occupants’ hand and arm movements.

    These spy photos appear to be of an early prototype of the facelifted model, which will likely debut later next year.

    While it looks like it’s quite literally a facelift, with no changes visible at the rear, we’ve seen with spy photographs before that some prototypes are tested without all updates applied.

    The new front bumper visible on this tester, therefore, could be joined by a restyled rear bumper and tail light graphics. We could also see restyled headlights.

    The third-generation CLS only touched down in Australia late in 2018 and is available in both turbocharged four-cylinder CLS350 and turbocharged inline six-cylinder CLS450 and CLS53 AMG variants.

    All feature Mercedes-Benz’s EQ Boost 48V mild-hybrid technology.

    Mercedes dropped the utterly gorgeous Shooting Brake body style for the third generation, while Mercedes-Benz Australia also switched to a petrol-only CLS range.

    Despite its recent redesign, CLS sales are well off the heights seen in the first- and second-generation models.

    Mercedes-Benz sold 220 examples of its CLS here last year, enough to outsell everything in its segment besides the BMW 5 Series and Mercedes’ own E-Class.

    That figure was down from the second-generation model’s peak of 456 sales in 2013, though the decline has been more pronounced in other markets.

    Last year, Mercedes-Benz sold 8428 examples in Europe and 941 in the US according to CarSalesBase. That was down from its predecessor’s heights of 17,414 sales in Europe in 2011 and 8066 in the US in 2012.

    The heavily revised E-Class and new S-Class now wear sleeker styling, including horizontally-oriented tail lights similar to those on the CLS, making the sleek CLS slightly less of a statement car than when the line debuted back in 2004.

    The CLS is rumoured to be on the chopping block in at least one market – the US – per a report from Automotive News.

    Mercedes-Benz will soon introduce another large car with sweeping, fastback-style looks – the all-electric EQS. The production version is expected to be revealed next year.

    William Stopford

    William Stopford is an automotive journalist based in Brisbane, Australia. William is a Business/Journalism graduate from the Queensland University of Technology who loves to travel, briefly lived in the US, and has a particular interest in the American car industry.

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