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Mercedes-Benz CLS-Class CLS500 2015 Review

EXPERT RATING
9
Spotting the updated CLS is as simple as looking for the LED daytime running lights at the top of the headlamps. But there's more to this facelift than meets the eye. Customer desire for the latest technology has put paid to the days when revised front and rear styling would pass as a mid-life refresh. Accordingly,

Spotting the updated CLS is as simple as looking for the LED daytime running lights at the top of the headlamps.

But there's more to this facelift than meets the eye.

Customer desire for the latest technology has put paid to the days when revised front and rear styling would pass as a mid-life refresh.

Accordingly, Benz has updated the CLS's telematics, added a nine-speed automatic transmission and performed the now-expected trick of simultaneously boosting power and improving fuel economy.

Since its launch more than a decade ago the CLS has had a lock on the four-door prestige coupe class Mercedes-Benz created. In Australia it outsells the Audi A7 and BMW 6 Series combined and that isn't likely to change with this refresh.

DESIGN

The basic proportions of the CLS are unchanged with a long, low bonnet and the signature curved roofline.

The freestanding display screen is the obvious change on the inside, along with a redesigned steering wheel and an extra pair of buttons on the centre console that can store favourite functions from the Comand multimedia system.

A wood-panelled luggage compartment floor is now standard on Shooting Brake variants.

Darkened LED tail lamps aren't just there for looks — the intensity of the indicators and brakes adjusts depending on exterior light and speed to avoid glare for the drivers behind.

The AMG-line bodykit is standard on the CLS500 CarsGuide tested and adds polished alloy pedals, a flat-bottomed steering wheel and the chrome-pin "diamond" grille first seen on the A-Class.

The leather quality and quantity is also improved and the heated and cooled front seats use active air chambers to secure the occupants during hard cornering.

AROUND TOWN

Active parking assist takes the stress out of berthing the 4.9m-long coupe, backed by a birds-eye view camera for traditionalists who still prefer to park themselves.

Leave the suspension and engine/transmission settings in their default modes and the CLS fuses comfort and control in a way that will delight the driver and leave the passengers unperturbed.

Active blind spot and lane-change assistance is a boon on congested multi-lane roads increasingly.

There's also internet connectivity and a TV tuner for in-car entertainment while waiting for the kids to finish footy training.

ON THE ROAD

Set the cruise control, keep your hands lightly on the wheel and relax as the Benz reads the road markings ahead and automatically adjusts the steering to keep the CLS running true. Early versions had a tendency to wander within the lane from one white line to another but this iteration has all but eliminated the "mildly drunk" driving style.

This generation of "multibeam" LED headlamps can now be set to high beam and the software will sort the rest out, from dimming individual diodes to avoid dazzling oncoming drivers to anticipating the curve of an approaching corner and adjusting the light pattern before the driver has started the turn. It is clever, complex and carefree.

PERFORMANCE

Find an appropriate road and the CLS is a willing participant in demonstrating its superior dynamics over the E-Class sedan on which it is based. The bi-turbo V8 is a sledgehammer controlled by a nine-speed virtuoso.

BMW's excellent eight-cog auto has been a favourite but the Benz gearbox is just as seamless, even if Australian owners won't engage ninth gear at legal speeds. The press blurb says the car will be doing 1350rpm at 120km/h — good luck explaining to the Highway Patrol you were just trying to improve fuel economy.

Claimed fuel consumption is 8.6L/100km; CarsGuide saw 11.2 after a week that mixed sedate cruising with town duties and a brief indulgence with the V8s top end.

Pricing Guides

$63,939
Based on 19 cars listed for sale in the last 6 months
Lowest Price
$44,990
Highest Price
$80,800

Range and Specs

VehicleSpecsPrice*
CLS400 3.0L, PULP, 7 SP AUTO $64,990 – 80,800 2015 Mercedes-Benz CLS-Class 2015 CLS400 Pricing and Specs
CLS63 AMG S 5.5L, PULP, 7 SP AUTO $105,820 – 121,660 2015 Mercedes-Benz CLS-Class 2015 CLS63 AMG S Pricing and Specs
CLS250 CDI 2.1L, Diesel, 7 SP AUTO $44,990 – 69,900 2015 Mercedes-Benz CLS-Class 2015 CLS250 CDI Pricing and Specs
CLS250 d 2.1L, Diesel, 7 SP AUTO $57,868 – 65,800 2015 Mercedes-Benz CLS-Class 2015 CLS250 d Pricing and Specs
EXPERT RATING
9
Pricing Guide

$78,430

Lowest price, based on third party pricing data

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