Mercedes-Benz CLS (2011 – 2018) Review

Mercedes-Benz CLS (2011 – 2018) At A Glance


+Big CO2 reductions. Four-cylinder CLS 250 CDI available at last. Precisely-built interior. Retains unique style of original CLS. Comes with full LED headlights.

-Rear headroom tight for taller passengers. Options expensive.

Insurance Groups are between 36–50
On average it achieves 83% of the official MPG figure

While some of Mercedes-Benz's other models of the last decade failed to capture buyers' imaginations (cars like the R-Class and GL-Class), the original CLS proved something of a surprise hit.

It combined the swoopy, slippery, shape of a coupe with the kind of practicality that you'd expect from a standard E-Class saloon and was a damned good drive to boot.

So it's more of the same for this, the new 2011 model, though there are some key differences in the details. Most importantly the engines are 25 per cent more efficient than before and there's the option (for the first time in a CLS) of a four-cylinder CLS 250.

This emits a scarcely believable 134-138g/km CO2, depending on which version you choose - that's cleaner (and cheaper to tax) than some hatchbacks. Even the CLS 500 - with its V8 engine - is now under 210g/km CO2.

Add to that all-LED headlamps (a world first for Mercedes-Benz), a range of safety systems, far more muscular styling, specialist paint finishes and more refinement throughout and you can really start to see where there's clear water between this and the original car launched in 2005.

Plus there's a new grille that bears more than a passing resemblance to the SLS supercar. But the CLS also manages to retain the styling features that buyers loved in the first place, including the long bonnet, narrow windows and sleek profile.

Although expensive, it's an excellent car. Though it needs to be. Back in 2005 it had buyers over a barrel - it was the only four-door upmarket coupe that you could buy. Since then both BMW and Audi have got in on the act with the 5 Series GT and A7 Sportback, both of which are very credible alternatives.

Real MPG average for a Mercedes-Benz CLS (2011 – 2018)


Real MPG was created following thousands of readers telling us that their cars could not match the official figures.

Real MPG gives real world data from drivers like you to show how much fuel a vehicle really uses.

Average performance


Real MPG

16–52 mpg

MPGs submitted


Diesel or petrol? If you're unsure whether to go for a petrol or diesel (or even an electric model if it's available), then you need our Petrol or Diesel? calculator. It does the maths on petrols, diesels and electric cars to show which is best suited to you.

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Ask Honest John

Mercedes CLS engine noise
"There is an intermittent change of engine note on my 2011 Mercedes-Benz CLS 350 CDI. Normally the engine is silent when slowly progressing through the gears but about every two weeks the engine noise will increase dramatically when accelerating or decelerating between 1500-2000rpm. Any idea what's causing this? "
Reads to me like the pre-programmed active regeneration of the DPF that takes place around every 250 miles. If the instant fuel economy drops and you smell burning, that's definitely what it is.
Answered by Honest John
Which large executive car?
"I'm looking to buy a stylish large exec, with a good balance of performance and economy. I do anywhere between 12k to 18k miles per year, split motorway and city, and am currently looking at a Mercedes CLS 350d or BMW 640d or whatever else you would suggest (but not an A7 as hate the shape.) Budget around 35k, private purchase, no finance. "
You could add an old shape XF 3.0d 275 to your list and maybe even an XJ 3.0d 275. If you don't like the A7, what about an A8? Very cool and understated. Or be Captain Sensible and get the smaller Jag XE 2.0d Ingenium 180 auto which works better with the Ingenium than the new XF.
Answered by Honest John
DPF regeneration
"I have a 2015 CLS 350 CDI. My concern is the DPF having read your column for a while. Even at speeds beyond legal limits, with the nine speed gearbox, it barely revs beyond 1750 rpm. As most of my mileage is motorway, I am concerned that the DPF isn't regenerating. I run it on Shell Vpower and having asked this question of MB Service and got a very dismissive answer, I would appreciate your opinion."
The car has an SCR regenerating DPF that requires regular doses of AdBlue (separate filler under the filler flap). I've yet to hear of problems with an AdBlue DPF as long as the DPF is properly replenished. It tends to last about 6000 miles and a refill costs about £30. It is widely available at fuel stations because HGVs have been using it for a long time. Follow the instructions and be careful not to splash any on the paint or on yourself.
Answered by Honest John
Which comfortable, economical company car should I buy?
"I drive around 20,000 miles per year on business. I currently have a leased Mercedes-Benz SLK (a bad move for long distances) that goes back in March. I want to buy something reliable, stylish, maybe an estate and have a budget of up to £11,000, but would rather be around the £8000 mark. I have looked at C5s, CLSs, Jaguar XFs, 3-Series Tourings, 5-Series Tourings, A6 Avants, Jeeps etc. Whatever I buy has to be reliable, diesel, good on mpg and comfortable. I want something with a bit of presence as I am a big bloke. So far I have settled on a Mercedes CLS 320CDI or a Jaguar XF2.7TDVI. What would you go for? "
I think a CLS 320CDI will be more reliable than an XF 2.7TDVI. A couple of oddball alternatives are a Renault Laguna Coupe and Peugeot 407 Coupe. The 407 Coupe is one of the quietest cars I have ever driven. Check out anything you are thinking of buying at
Answered by Honest John
More Questions

What does a Mercedes-Benz CLS (2011 – 2018) cost?