Coupe-like Mercedes-Benz CLS saloon feels as special as it looks
The latest incarnation of Mercedes-Benz’s CLS four-door coupe promises better quality and equipment levels. Jack Evans finds out what it’s like.
The third-generation Mercedes-Benz CLS, a swooping, elegant saloon with coupe styling, is for people who want to stand out and don’t fancy a ‘conventional’ saloon.
The exterior uses the latest design language but the biggest changes are under the skin – new engines giving better performance and more efficiency.
Under the bonnet
The two diesel and two petrol powertrains all have six cylinders.
The 350d model will be one of the most popular, producing 286hp and 600Nm of torque with 4Matic technology so drive is sent through the nine-speed gearbox to all four wheels. A more powerful 400d produces 340hp and 700Nm of torque.
There’s also an all-new 435hp 3.0-litre petrol engine in the Mercedes-AMG CLS 53 and a 367hp CLS 450 biturbo petrol engine and mild hybrid system.
How it drives
The CLS has solid steering – if lacking in feedback – and the engine is punchy enough from low speeds, and refined at higher ones.
The suspension is supple and composed, and the cabin impressively quiet at speed.
Looks and image
The new CLS certainly moves things forward and, look at images of the next A-Class, it’s easy to see where the CLS got a lot of its looks.
Flatter headlights give a more aggressive front end, the long, rakish roofline famed from the original remains but the rear looks a little less punchy than the front.
Space and comfort
The interior takes a lot of design cues from the E-Class and S-Class. The steering wheel is straight from the flagship S-Class – buttons for cruise control are now found here, rather than a stalk on the steering column.
The CLS now seats five, rather than four, which is far more practical although it makes the rear feel a little less luxurious than when it had two dedicated rear seats. Everything feels exceptionally well made.
UK buyers will only be able to choose AMG-Line vehicles, featuring a more dynamic exterior look. For a base price of £57,510, you’d hope that there was plenty of standard kit. The CLS delivers with a full leather interior, 19in alloy wheels, reversing camera, agility control suspension, multi-beam intelligent lighting and 12.3in cockpit display and 12.3in infotainment screen, the latter helping to make the cabin feel particularly upmarket.
The CLS is an attractive option compared to more run-of-the-mill saloons. It looks different, feels special inside and has impressive standard equipment making it appear one of the most attractive cars in the Mercedes line-up.
SPEC AND TECH
Price: Mercedes-Benz CLS 350d 4Matic, £57,510
Engine: 2,925cc, 286hp, six-cylinder turbo diesel with nine-speed automatic transmission
Performance: 0-62mph 5.7 seconds; top speed 155mph
MPG: 48.7 combined
CO2 emissions: 156g/km