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Coupe-like Mercedes-Benz CLS saloon feels as special as it looks

Third-generation Mercedes-Benz CLS is a swooping, elegant saloon with coupe styling. Pictures: Mercedes-Benz

Third-generation Mercedes-Benz CLS is a swooping, elegant saloon with coupe styling. Pictures: Mercedes-Benz

Mercedes-Benz

The latest incarnation of Mercedes-Benz’s CLS four-door coupe promises better quality and equipment levels. Jack Evans finds out what it’s like.

Rear end smart but doesn't have visual punch of the front. Picture: Mercedes-BenzRear end smart but doesn't have visual punch of the front. Picture: Mercedes-Benz

The third-generation Mercedes-Benz CLS, a swooping, elegant saloon with coupe styling, is for people who want to stand out and don’t fancy a ‘conventional’ saloon.

The exterior uses the latest design language but the biggest changes are under the skin – new engines giving better performance and more efficiency.

Under the bonnet

12.3in cockpit display and infotainment screen are standard. Picture: Mercedes-Benz12.3in cockpit display and infotainment screen are standard. Picture: Mercedes-Benz

The two diesel and two petrol powertrains all have six cylinders.

The 350d model will be one of the most popular, producing 286hp and 600Nm of torque with 4Matic technology so drive is sent through the nine-speed gearbox to all four wheels. A more powerful 400d produces 340hp and 700Nm of torque.

There’s also an all-new 435hp 3.0-litre petrol engine in the Mercedes-AMG CLS 53 and a 367hp CLS 450 biturbo petrol engine and mild hybrid system.

Latest Mercedes-Benz CLS now seats three, not two, people in the back. Picture: Mercedes-BenzLatest Mercedes-Benz CLS now seats three, not two, people in the back. Picture: Mercedes-Benz

How it drives

The CLS has solid steering – if lacking in feedback – and the engine is punchy enough from low speeds, and refined at higher ones.

The suspension is supple and composed, and the cabin impressively quiet at speed.

Flatter headlights make for a more aggressive front end. Picture: Mercedes-BenzFlatter headlights make for a more aggressive front end. Picture: Mercedes-Benz

Looks and image

The new CLS certainly moves things forward and, look at images of the next A-Class, it’s easy to see where the CLS got a lot of its looks.

Flatter headlights give a more aggressive front end, the long, rakish roofline famed from the original remains but the rear looks a little less punchy than the front.

Mercedes-Benz CLS stands out as a prestige saloon. Picture: Mercedes-BenzMercedes-Benz CLS stands out as a prestige saloon. Picture: Mercedes-Benz

Space and comfort

The interior takes a lot of design cues from the E-Class and S-Class. The steering wheel is straight from the flagship S-Class – buttons for cruise control are now found here, rather than a stalk on the steering column.

The CLS now seats five, rather than four, which is far more practical although it makes the rear feel a little less luxurious than when it had two dedicated rear seats. Everything feels exceptionally well made.

Specification

UK buyers will only be able to choose AMG-Line vehicles, featuring a more dynamic exterior look. For a base price of £57,510, you’d hope that there was plenty of standard kit. The CLS delivers with a full leather interior, 19in alloy wheels, reversing camera, agility control suspension, multi-beam intelligent lighting and 12.3in cockpit display and 12.3in infotainment screen, the latter helping to make the cabin feel particularly upmarket.

Final say

The CLS is an attractive option compared to more run-of-the-mill saloons. It looks different, feels special inside and has impressive standard equipment making it appear one of the most attractive cars in the Mercedes line-up.

SPEC AND TECH

Price: Mercedes-Benz CLS 350d 4Matic, £57,510

Engine: 2,925cc, 286hp, six-cylinder turbo diesel with nine-speed automatic transmission

Performance: 0-62mph 5.7 seconds; top speed 155mph

MPG: 48.7 combined

CO2 emissions: 156g/km

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