It’s been six years since Mercedes-Benz coined the term four-door coupe with the original CLS. The concept being that the CLS stole the much fancied and style oriented two-door coupe shape and blended it with the practicality of a four-door sedan. The resulting CLS went on to sell 170000 units globally.
This second generation CLS has a lot more competition to deal with than its original counterpart. Pretenders to the four-door coupe crown have emerged out of the woodwork in droves with the likes of Aston Martin’s Rapide, Porsche’s Panamera, the Audi A7 and if you can look at it long enough without feeling sick, the BMW 5 GT.
The CLS in essence is an up market E-Class (if there is such a thing) and the new model range includes only the very best engines available. The choices start off with the 350 BlueEFFICIENCY a 3.5-litre naturally aspirated V6 that churns out 225kW and 370Nm of torque. The next step up on the ladder takes you to the 500 BlueEFFICIENCY and that will output 300kW and 600Nm thanks to the 4.6-litre V8. The top of the range AMG variant carries the CLS 63 AMG badge but as has become custom carries the 5.5-litre Biturbo V8 with monumental power and torque figures that project 410kW and 800Nm.
Aside from the beefy power outputs the CLS has to offer, each engine has managed to reduce fuel usage by around 25% (32% in the AMG’s case), with all engines using less than 10l/100km. The smoothness of the way these Mercedes-Benz engines build power on the road is something to behold. Instantaneous throttle response and swift gear changes, thanks to the seven-speed auto ’boxes, make driving on freeways and open roads an absolute pleasure.
As for when the road narrows and the straight becomes curved the CLS harbours substantial mass that would naturally make it cumbersome to manoeuvre. That’s not entirely the case however, the CLS surprises with its ability to change direction with ease and assault a mountain pass with vigour. There’s no hiding its weight but it does an admirable job of masking it.
The CLS has always relied heavily on its looks as a major pull factor and the new one is no different. It employs very similar styling to the original with a few minor changes to keep it looking modern. I don’t think this new model will pull any new customers based on looks, but it won’t lose any of those previous owners looking to switch over to something newer but the same.