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Mercedes-Benz CLS (2011–2018)

Last updated 22 March 2018

 
4
Kerb weight 1735–1890 kg
Warranty 3 years
Servicing 12,500–15,500 miles

Full specifications

Driving

What's likely to be the best all-round engine in the CLS - the four-cylinder 204bhp CLS 250 CDI - isn't immediately available at launch, but it does manage to chalk-up some impressive figures, chiefly when it comes to CO2. Emissions from this engine will be between 134-138g/km CO2, putting it among some superminis when it comes to road tax - staggering for a car of this size.

Low CO2 always goes hand-in-glove with decent (official at least) fuel consumption figures. The CLS 250 CDI returns a claimed 55.3mpg on the combined cycle in official government tests - little wonder that this is the most important model.

The 350 CDI doesn't lag too far behind, with 159g/km CO2 (below the important 160g/km CO2 point for company car drivers) and a combined fuel consumption figure of 47mpg. It's an incredibly smooth, responsive and refined engine plus, with torque figures to compete with the V8 in the CLS 500, it's powerful too. It produces 265bhp and 620Nm of torque, which shows in the performance figures: 0-62mph takes just 6.2 seconds and it's capable of 155mph.

With two exceptional diesels on offer, it almost makes the CLS 350 petrol redundant. But this engine isn't without its merits. As you'd expect from a Mercedes-Benz V6, it's urgent when needed, while still being smooth enough for pounding hundreds of miles of motorway. It's relatively efficient for a petrol V6, too. Trouble is, after driving the CLS 350 CDI, you can't help but think that you're missing out.

Until the arrival of an AMG version (it's only a matter of time), the CLS 500 sits at the top of the range. This mighty engine boasts 408bhp and 600Nm of torque. And, if you're wondering, that's less than the 620Nm that's on offer from the CLS 350 CDI. As with the other engines, Mercedes-Benz has worked a minor miracle and has made a noticeable difference to emissions. The CLS 500 sees a 21 per cent drop, which means it now slides-in under 210g/km CO2 and returns 31.3mpg on the official combined cycle.

All petrol engines have a start/stop system for the first time with the 7G-TRONIC Plus gearbox. Diesels will get stop/start in future and get the standard 7G-Tronic gearbox that's operated from a stalk next to the indicator.

Making its debut on the CLS is a new Electromechanical steering system. What makes this different to others is that it makes a more direct connection between the driver, car and road. There's less to come between the input the driver makes by turning the steering wheel and it's outcome on wheels on the road. It's a system that seems to work well and the CLS turns sharply and changes direction accurately for a car of its size.

Like other recent Mercedes-Benz models such as the E-Class, the CLS is packed with safety systems - some of which are unique. As well as nine airbags (including pelvis bags at the front), Attention Assist is standard. This system works out when you're tired or not paying attention, based on steering inputs. If the system thinks that you need a break it'll flash up a warning on the HD display between the instruments.

PRE-SAFE works by priming the car for an impact in the seconds before an impact. At first the driver is given both an audible and and visual warning if the system identifies there is a danger of collision. If the driver does not react to this, the system takes over and brakes the vehicle. The emergency braking helps to reduce the severity of the impact.

Other safety features are optional and they include Active Lane-Keeping Assist (which gently brings the car back into lane if you stray by braking the wheels on the opposite side of the car and warns you through a vibration in the steering wheel) and Blind Spot Assist (visual warning in the wing mirrors and applies the brakes on the opposite side of the car). Highbeam Assist will dip the headlamps for you, while Nightview Assist Plus uses an infra-red camera to show obstacles in the view a night - essentially a posh version of the goggles that the army uses.

We wouldn't normally single out the headlamps for special mention, but in this case it's justified. The CLS is the first car in the world to feature all-LED headlamps, as an option, made up from 71 separate bulbs. Mercedes-Benz claims that they have an operating life that is five times longer than bi-xenons and offer an enhanced view of the road at night - though we've yet to try this for ourselves. The company also says that as the colour from LEDs is closer to that of daylight, it should mean less strain on the eyes of drivers of oncoming vehicles.

Engines

Engine MPG 0-62 Top speed CO2
CLS220 d 58 mpg 8.5 s 139 mph 128 g/km
CLS250 CD 54 mpg 7.5 s 150 mph 135 g/km
CLS250 CDI 54 mpg 7.5 s 150 mph 138 g/km
CLS350 41 mpg 6.1 s 155 mph 161–164 g/km
CLS350 CDI 46 mpg 6.2 s 155 mph 160 g/km
CLS350 d 51 mpg 6.5 s 155 mph 143 g/km
CLS400 38–39 mpg 5.3 s 155 mph 169–170 g/km
CLS500 31 mpg 5.2 s 155 mph 209 g/km
CLS63 AMG 29 mpg 4.2 s 155 mph 231 g/km
CLS63 AMG S 29 mpg 4.1 s 155 mph 231 g/km
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