Mercedes-Benz CLS (2018) Review

Mercedes-Benz CLS (2018) At A Glance

Honest John Overall Rating
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.

+Incredibly comfortable with superb ride quality, an ideal long distance car., diesel engines are quiet yet powerful.

-Tight for rear headroom, 450 petrol engine not as responsive or as quick as the figures would suggest.

Insurance Group 50
On average it achieves 114% of the official MPG figure

Now in its third generation, this Mercedes-Benz CLS that was launched in 2018 faces far more competition than its ancestor did when it all but invented the premium four-door coupe sector. None of that deters the CLS or Mercedes as it offers a sleek alternative to an executive saloon with stand-out styling, albeit with a bit less rear head room and luggage space than an E-Class saloon. Despite this, the build of the CLS is flawless and it’s a comfortable grand tourer, rather than trying to be a sportier car like its rivals from Audi and BMW.

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.

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.

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.

What does a Mercedes-Benz CLS (2018) cost?