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Mercedes-Benz CLS Review

Mercedes-Benz CLS
Mercedes-Benz CLS
Mercedes-Benz CLS
Mercedes-Benz CLS
Mercedes-Benz CLS
Mercedes-Benz CLS
Mercedes-Benz CLS
Mercedes-Benz CLS
Mercedes-Benz CLS
Mercedes-Benz CLS

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Mercedes-Benz CLS

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Mercedes-Benz CLS

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Mercedes-Benz CLS

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Mercedes-Benz CLS

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Mercedes-Benz CLS

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Mercedes-Benz CLS

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Mercedes-Benz CLS

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Mercedes-Benz CLS

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  • Launched in 2018
  • Luxury
  • Petrol, Diesel
  • Launch year
    2018
  • Body type
    Luxury
  • Fuel type
    Petrol, Diesel

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heycar editorial team

Written by

heycar editorial team

00/10
heycar rating
Executive with swoopy coupe style

Best bits

  • Velvety ride
  • Hushed engines
  • AMG model’s pace

Not so great

  • Boot not as practical as rivals
  • Rear headroom
  • Cost of Premium Plus versions

Read by

Mercedes CLS (2018) frontright exterior

Overall verdict

Mercedes CLS (2018) front interior

On the inside

Mercedes CLS (2018) front exterior

Driving

Mercedes CLS (2018) backright exterior

How much does it cost to run

Mercedes CLS (2018) rear

Prices, versions and specification

Overall verdict

"The swoopy Mercedes-Benz CLS was quite the trailblazer when the model was first launched in 2004. But now in its third generation, it faces a lot more competition for your affections from all of Mercedes usual rivals and more."

Mercedes CLS (2018) frontright exterior

There's the likes of the Audi A7 and BMW 6 Series Gran Turismo if you want something a bit more stylish and sleek than the bog-standard big saloon. You could also look at the Jaguar XF or even the Maserati Ghibli. So does the 2018 CLS still have what it takes?


Looks-wise, it's perhaps not as distinctive as the original, but we think it's still a handsome design. There’s also enough of a difference between the CLS and the E-Class saloon it shares so much of its mechanical base for there to be some clear air between the two. The interior echoes the E-Class and S-Class, though, with the same huge single screen which dominates the dash.


The finish is excellent, as you'd expect, and there's more room than before all round. The back now has three seats rather than two and there's lots of legroom while the seats themselves are very comfortable. That said, six-footers will find headroom tight in the back and you also have to accept a compromise with luggage space to enjoy the CLS’s coupe looks over the more practical E-Class saloon.


The standout feature of the CLS, however, is the ride. It's incredibly forgiving and controlled, making the CLS more comfortable to travel in than the A7 or 6 Series GT. There's little trade-off in handling either and the Mercedes is very capable on the twisty stuff, feeling far more agile than the aforementioned BMW. The only let-down is more road noise on motorways than you'd expect.


Most models are the 300 d and 400 d - both powered by the same six-cylinder 3.0-litre diesel, just in different states of tune. The former should provide more than enough power for most with 500Nm of torque. If you don't do the miles to need a diesel, there's an entry-level CLS 350 which is actually a turbocharged 2.0-litre petrol and also the cheapest model.


If you want more oomph, there’s the CLS 450 with its turbocharged 3.0-litre six-cylinder petrol engine. Or, you could go the whole hog with the AMG-tuned CLS 53 that bristles with 435PS to see off 0-62mph in just 4.5 seconds.


As an alternative to your usual saloon, the CLS has lots of appeal. It's not as cumbersome as an S-Class and feels more special than an E-Class, and is a much rarer sight too. We really like its blend of comfortable ride and handling ability, while the standard-fit 9G-Tronic gearbox works really well, especially compared to the S tronic in the Audi A7. If you're in the market for a premium coupe-style four-door, this is the one to go for.


Ready to get your top quality Mercedes-Benz CLS?

  • All cars come with a warranty
  • Selected dealers only
  • All quality checked

Mercedes-Benz CLS

CLS 300d AMG Line 4dr 9G-Tronic

  • 2021
  • 4,999 miles
  • Mercedes-Benz of Stoke
  • Staffordshire, ST15JP
Price:£43,999
PCP: £656.36/mo

Representative example: Contract Length: 36 months, 35 Monthly Payments: £656.36, Customer Deposit: £6,599.00, Total Deposit: £6,599.85, Optional Final Payment: £20,256.36, Total Charge For Credit: £5,829.81, Total Amount Payable: £49,828.81, Representative APR: 6.9%, Interest Rate (Fixed): 6.69%, Excess Mileage Charge: 18ppm, Mileage Per Annum: 10,000

Mercedes-Benz CLS

CLS 450 4Matic AMG Line Premium Plus 4dr 9G-Tronic

  • 2018
  • 11,787 miles

Manufacturer Approved

  • Mercedes-Benz Loughton
  • Essex, IG103SD
Price:£38,699
PCP: £647.51/mo

Representative example: Contract Length: 36 months, 35 Monthly Payments: £647.51, Customer Deposit: £5,804.00, Total Deposit: £5,804.85, Optional Final Payment: £18,297.51, Total Charge For Credit: £8,066.21, Total Amount Payable: £46,765.21, Representative APR: 10.9%, Interest Rate (Fixed): 10.39%, Excess Mileage Charge: 24ppm, Mileage Per Annum: 10,000

Is the Mercedes CLS right for you?

The Mercedes CLS single-handedly created the four-door executive coupe market and has won many fans since it was introduced in 2004. This third-generation model’s looks might be a little toned down compared to the original’s, but that has as much to do with familiarity as anything else. Be in no doubt, this is still a standout and good looking car.


The latest CLS is also a much more comfortable proposition thanks to greater cabin space than its predecessor. There’s space for three in the rear bench and a bigger boot than before. You will also find this CLS rides rough roads with a panache that none of its rivals, or indeed many executive saloons, can get close to.


All of this combines to make the CLS feel very special from the moment you clap eyes on it, to setting off on a drive and even long after it’s parked up. It’s a car that imparts a sensation of pride of ownership, helped in no small measure by it being much rarer on the road than the E-Class.


What’s the best Mercedes CLS model/engine to choose?

If you only cover relatively few miles per year, the petrol-powered Mercedes CLS models are dandy-oh. Lovers of fast cars will relish the prospect of the CLS 53 AMG model thanks to its copious power and prodigious speed, but when all’s said and done most people will be more than happy with the diesel models.


Yes, the 400 d is more powerful, but it’s the 300 d we’d plump for as it still makes the CLS plenty quick enough for most situations and it returns excellent fuel economy. The four-cylinder engine may not be quite as easy on the ear under full acceleration, but it’s refined at all times and works easily through the nine-speed automatic gearbox.


As for trims, we’d stick with the standard AMG Line version and picks some choice upgrades from the extras list rather than spend more for the AMG Line Premium Plus with its sunroof and other extras.


What other cars are similar to the Mercedes CLS?

The most obvious rivals for the Mercedes CLS are another pair of four-door coupes. They are the Audi A7 Sportback and the BMW 6 Series Gran Turismo. The Audi offers a superb build and strong engine range, as well as a good drive. However, it’s not as sporting or comfortable as the Mercedes over lumpy roads.


The BMW is, a little surprisingly, even less sporting and more comfort-oriented. It’s more practical than the CLS, though, as it has a hatchback tailgate similar to the Audi’s instead of the Mercedes’ saloon-like boot.


Learn more

Mercedes CLS (2018) front interior

On the inside

Mercedes CLS (2018) front exterior

Driving

Mercedes CLS (2018) backright exterior

How much does it cost to run

Mercedes CLS (2018) rear

Prices, versions and specification

Interested in buying a Mercedes-Benz CLS?

View Mercedes-Benz CLS cars for sale