Mercedes-Benz CLS-class

The embodiment of elegance.

The Mercedes-Benz CLS established the four-door coupe genre in 2006. Although the sleek shape erodes some of the practicality associated with a typical four-door, the success of the CLS reinforces a simple truth: people want beautiful cars. Mechanically, the CLS is a reskinned E-class with high-end equipment. But it is about three inches longer and two inches lower than the E-class, and the sweeping roofline creates a more intimate cabin. The top of the windshield sits closer to passengers, and the center console stretches between the rear seats, making the CLS strictly a four-seater. Optional active parking assist steers the CLS into parallel-parking spots as the driver controls the throttle and brakes. A twin-turbo 4.7-liter V-8 good for 402 hp powers the base CLS550. Rear-wheel drive is standard, and all-wheel drive is standard in the CLS550 4Matic. The CLS63 AMG uses the 5.5-liter twin-turbo V-8 to produce 518 hp and 4.4-second runs to 60 mph. The AMG car incorporates stop/start technology to eliminate fuel consumption when stopped at traffic lights. Every CLS is equipped with Mercedes’ Airmatic suspension and a well-mannered seven-speed automatic transmission. Factor in the beautiful body of this posh cruiser, and it’s easy to see why the CLS sells for $12,000 more than the E-class that it’s based on.

COMPETITORS

Audi A7

BMW 6-series Gran Coupe

Jaguar XJ

Maserati Quattroporte

new for 2013

In 2012, Mercedes-Benz introduced the second-generation CLS with more masculine styling, electric power steering, optional all-wheel drive, and two new eight-cylinder engines. For 2013, the CLS adopts Mercedes’ second-generation onboard telematics system, called Mbrace2. In addition to concierge service and emergency crash notification, Mbrace2 can notify parents if the car exceeds a certain speed or drives outside a predefined geographical area.

SAFETY EQUIPMENT

ABS; front, side, front pelvis and knee, and side curtain air bags; tire-pressure monitoring; drowsiness alert; and traction and stability control are standard. Adaptive cruise control with collision mitigation, a rearview camera, night vision, blind-spot monitoring, lane-keep assist, and rear side air bags are optional.

MPG

CITY 16–17

HWY 25–26

PRO

Sensuous looks

Pleasant yet powerful

Loads of technology available

CON

Smallish rear seats

No six-cylinder option

Strictly a four-seater

Base Price Range: $72,905–$96,805

SPECIFICATIONS

DRIVE: Rear-wheel, 4-wheel

TRIM LEVELS: CLS550, CLS550 4Matic, CLS63 AMG

BODY STYLE: Sedan, 4-passenger

ENGINES: 4.7L twin-turbo V-8, 402 hp, 443 lb-ft

5.5L twin-turbo V-8, 518/550 hp, 516/590 lb-ft

TRANSMISSION: 7-speed automatic

PASSENGER VOLUME: 104.3 cu ft

CARGO SPACE: 15.3 cu ft