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Mercedes CLA by Vilner

Even more Coupe than the factory car


It was back in 2003 IAA Frankfurt Motor Show when Mercedes-Benz surprised the public by unveiling the Vision CLS. A concept that made such a strong impact that a year later Mercedes was ready with the production W219 CLS. And it’s no secret that because of that car BMW made the 6 Series Gran Coupe and Audi their own A7 Sportback. It also can be said that the success of that ‘coupe-ish’ silhouette influenced another segments of the industry as well. Some molecules of that formula can be found even in the concept of BMW’s X6 (2007) for example, the Bavarian SUV-Coupe оr SAC (Sports Activity Coupe) as they call it. A car because of which Mercedes made the GLE Coupe in 2015.

We started with this history analysis because the latest project by Vilner is based on the newest implementation of that ‘saloon-coupe’ idea – the ‘baby CLS’ or the CLA Coupe.

A project that is different from the past works of Vilner because of two main reasons. First is that the owner brought almost a base model to the Vilner’s atelier. His plan was to spent around 20% of the purchasing value of his new Benz for customizing. The second reason is that those customizations were made entirely according not by the owner’s taste but according to Vilner. Full freedom of work.

So this sounds like a dream order? Not quite because that project had to be a showcase of Vilner’s ideas, to stay within the budget and last but not least – the final result should have much more ‘added value’ compare no the near standard base car. The client should be also happy of course.

Mission #1: even more ‘coupe’ effect for the passengers. Vilner has managed that by carefully applying Alcantara in two different colors from the ‘greenhouse’ line above. The whole ceiling plus the A- and C-pillars is wrapped in high quality ‘Caramel’ Alcantara but the B-pillars, the sun visors and the surroundings of the panoramic glass sunroof are wrapped in black. That makes a floating effect and the sense for more room above the heads on the rear seat.

Mission #2: applying a never used before by Vilner technique for the upholstery – a fine perforation with 3D effect, which was the most expensive part of the customization. The result is pretty nice both visually and for the comfort because of the ventilation effect. Actually Vilner changed only the middle sections of the seats and the door panels, but the result is stunning. The same Caramel color is applied on the central console too. The flat bottomed steering wheel is wrapped in brown leather hand stitched together with a blue string, the same blue as the new seat belts.

Traditionally made of hard plastic, the side covers of the bottom of the front seats are covered in brown leather/black Alcantara. Than combination spreads to the whole backs of the seats. If you look closely you’ll see that the seams on the black Alcantara are brown and black string is used for the brown leather which is a nice touch. The end result is a first class cockpit with a personal feeling. Also nice details are the ‘Honey Bronze’ X center sections of the air vents.

Outside? The car’s basic appearance is also leveled up and significantly personalized. Now only the base headlamps hints that this CLA 250 left the factory in Hungary with almost standard trim. Darkened tail lights, gloss black for the Benz star and diffuser’s lip painted in ‘Honey Bronze’. On the sides Vilner applied a foil stripes in the same color, as well on the previously chromed horizontal element of the front grill. The front emblem is also painted in gloss black. ‘Gunmetal Light Graphite’/‘Honey Bronze’ combination for the 17-inch wheels and Vilner’s signature on the boot lid finishes the car.

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