The CLS400 comes with a 3-liter bi-turbocharged six-cylinder pumping out 329hp. You can have the CLS400 with or without 4matic all-wheel-drive. Same case for the CLS550 but you get a more potent 4.7-liter bi-turbocharged eight-cylinder pumping out 402hp. Top of the range CLS63 AMG comes with a 5.5-liter AMG bi-turbocharged eight-cylinder pumping out 577hp. Pick of the is the most logical choose of them all, the CLS400 4matic. It still isn’t cheap no matter how you look at it, but it seems to be the better value compared to the other trims.
The CLS isn’t as sharp to drive as a BMW 6-series. It is however much more comfortable to drive and while the steering offers decent feedback, we are still much more impressed with the overall driving experience. It manages to be both comfortable and offer decent agility at the same time. The AMG version offers a firmer suspension set up which isn’t bad but over some surfaces the ride gets overly firm and borderline unforgiving. Refinement is what you’d expect from a Mercedes; all the engines operate smoothly and sound lovely when revved. The engine stop/start technology all trims come equipped with doesn’t really operate as smoothly as we’d like.
The front driver and passengers will be greeted with an opulent interior. The materials used are high quality and are very eye appealing. The infotainment system is much less fiddly in the previous generations, although the single stalk used for most of the controls is still quite annoying. While those in the front enjoy space of plenty, passengers in the rear will have very limited headroom. Ingress and egress is also an issue due to the slopping roofline. The boot space is decent too for a couple of golf bags.
Our tester CLS400 4matic came equipped with full-LED headlights, leather trimmed interior and climate control. We didn’t get to test drive a version with standard suspension. The air suspension our tester car came with was well worth the premium. However, to our surprise our tester car didn’t come with keyless ignition; also blind spot warning and lane keep assist weren’t even standard either. There are plenty of indirect options out there that are cheaper and offer more bang for your money.
The Mercedes CLS is all style and not much in between.
Likes: Sleek coupe-like profile, interior is much improved. AMG version has blistering fast acceleration.
Dislikes: It’s an expensive and pointless way to be different.
Devon’s choice: CLS400 4matic makes the most sense. It’s still not cheap but at least you get decent (if somewhat lacking) standard kit. But if you have to have one this is the way to go.