What is this?
The Mercedes CLS is an E-Class that tries to reconcile the lines of a coupé with the class of a limousine. And the first generation was especially good at that. We are now almost 20 years later, a period in which this spectacular piece faded into the wallflower. Today, the Mercedes is seen as a less practical E-Class that is less sporty than the AMG GT 4-Door Coupé.
Of course there are extenuating circumstances. The success of the SUV models, for example. Or the lack of a plug-in hybrid powertrain. Still, it is striking how the Mercedes CLS seems completely lost, especially if you compare the sales with that of the smaller CLA. Now Stuttgart does not give up hope (yet): the CLS is getting a facelift that should make this star shine again.
You can take that facelift literally, because the main changes can be found at the front. The front gets new bumpers with sportier-looking air scoops, the radiator grille has a stylish star pattern. At the rear, changes are limited to a new trim at the bottom of the bumper. Well, the sleek silhouette of the Mercedes CLS is still rock solid.
Inside, the renewed Mercedes CLS welcomes the technological updates that the German manufacturer made during the facelift of the E-Class. This includes the Mbux infotainment system, control modules with touch-sensitive surfaces and the multifunction steering wheel. Mercedes is also adding additional dressing options, with new inlays and multiple leather choices. It will not depend on his appearance.
What is changing?
The range of the Mercedes CLS still does without a plug-in hybrid variant, but the sales toppers in the E-Class. Petrol drivers can choose between the CLS 350, the CLS 450 and the CLS 53 AMG, diesel enthusiasts can choose between the CLS 220 d, the CLS 300 d and the 400 d. We went on the road with the entry-level diesel, the CLS 220 d hung on a nine-speed automatic. Between the front wheels is a 2 liter power source that combines a power of 194 hp with a maximum torque of 400 Nm. The sprint from 0 to 100 km/h takes 7.5 seconds and the top speed is 237 km/h, the average standard consumption remains at 5.5 liters per 100 kilometers.
A silky smooth six-cylinder engine fits better with the standing of the Mercedes CLS, yet the dieseling 2 liter power source does little wrong. The four-cylinder performs well, turns smoothly and resumes briskly, as long as you don’t pop the whip too hard. The body’s excellent sound insulation and low air resistance ensure that ambient noise is kept to a minimum, so you can comfortably grind and keep grinding for miles. The standard suspension keeps the heavy body nicely under control and offers a surprising amount of driving pleasure, but don’t make it a sports fan. In better cornering, the Mercedes CLS feels a bit clumsy, while the setting prefers stability over liveliness. For the sporty drivers there is the Mercedes-AMG 4-Door Coupé, isn’t it?
The Mercedes CLS is a less practical E-Class. The swooping roofline offers significantly less headroom to the rear seat and the short boot lid conceals a smaller luggage compartment with a tight loading opening. But actually that is irrelevant, because the Mercedes CLS is also a much nicer E-Class.
Only the beauty of the Mercedes CLS is no longer validated, because the former customers are now driving around in an SUV-Coupé that you can order with a plug-in hybrid powertrain. Unfortunately, this facelift won’t change that.
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