The Mercedes CLS will get a facelift this Summer. A great effort was put forth by the Mercedes-Benz lighting organisation including chief Uwe Kostanzer, research boss Markus Mai, and head of functionality Florian Herold. They say the corporate strategy of Mercedes is to take the control of the system, and assign responsibility for the components to the suppliers—AL, in the case of the CLS. This strategy, they say, facilitates the creation of a differentiation from their competitors. A hundred night drives were conducted to define the CLS lighting system out of 500 possible parameters.
The rear lights will remain unchanged from the former model, with no variable-intensity stop and turn signal lamps as found on the S-Class. But up front, big changes are afoot. The Mercedes "Active Multibeam LED" concept is used: several modules for low beam and for high beam, and two additional modules for the ADB (glare free high beam).
The main headlamps contain six light modules each. The three lowermost modules are LED reflectors to contribute the width/spread elements of the low beam pattern, with a horizontal cutoff. The upper outboard module—same as in the E-Class' optional LED headlamp setup—contributes the low beam hot spot and the cutoff kink, and also contributes to the high beam, as well as providing glare-free high beam functionality with dynamic shadowing. It also provides camera-driven bending (swivelling) light, though it is not linked in with GPS—Mercedes say camera drive was selected rather than GPS to avoid improper beam direction due to incorrect information arising from road modification or driving on roads not included in the map database. The high beam peak intensity from this module alone is 75,000 candela (120 lux).
The upper inboard module is a new module dedicated for high beam service. It also provides glare-free high beam functionality, but with matrix technology rather than dynamic shadowing. 24 LEDs produce the matrix beam; there are 16 vertical segments with two LEDs in each of the four central segments to increase the range. Peak intensity from this module is 90Lx (56,250 candela). All in all, the composite high beam intensity adds up to 200Lx (125,000 candela). It is not yet known what modifications will be made for the American markets where high beam axial intensity is limited to 75,000 candela per side of the car and glare-free high beam is not yet permitted.