Mercedes-Benz’s eye-catching new four-door “coupé”, the CLS, will make its first local appearance at the Auto Africa motor show in October.

Mercedes-Benz’s eye-catching new four-door “coupé”, the CLS, will make its first local appearance at the Auto Africa motor show in October.

The flagship of the range, the supercharged 5,5-litre V8 will make its international début at this year's Paris Motor Show after strong feedback for the Vision CLS concept last year prompted DaimlerChrysler to put the range into production.

On Wednesday, DaimlerChrysler group media manager Deon Ebersohn confirmed that the CLS was based on the E-Class – not the C-Class platform as previously suggested - and will slot into the Stuttgart-based manufacturer’s model range between the E- and S-Classes.

Ebersohn said: "The CLS 55 AMG provides an alternative to the E55 AMG in a sleeker, more stylish package and should appeal to buyers desiring quality and style with a good dose of performance.

"The standard edition of the CLS will be displayed at Auto Africa and should be available here in 2005. Since the AMG has just been released overseas, no date has yet been set for its local launch."

The CLS 55 AMG produces 350 kW and 700 N.m and accelerates from zero to 100 km/h in 4,7 seconds. Though the speedometer reads to 320 km/h, top speed is electronically limited to 250 km/h.

Boasting AMG sports suspension, this CLS has Airmatic DC semi-active air suspension with an adaptive damping system. To complement the car's speed, a high-performance braking system with large internally ventilated and perforated brake discs has been fitted.

Power is transmitted via the five-speed AMG Speedshift automatic transmission. This allows the driver to choose between fully automatic or manual gear changes by using either the gearshift or buttons on the sports steering wheel.

The CLS 55 has an imposing front apron with large air inlets and fog lamps, side skirts and a characteristic rear apron. Another menacing feature at the car's rear end is the set of chromed, twin oval tail pipes while the AMG boot spoiler adds the final sporty touch.

The radiator grille with its three slats and "V8 Kompressor" lettering on the front wings provides further differentiation.

On the inside, the CLS 55 AMG comes with a wide selection of finishes, including Nappa leather in a choice of three colours and chromed door sill panels displaying the AMG logo.