BY TRISH WHELAN
THE latest up-styled version of the Mercedes-Benz CLS arrived here earlier this year. The model is one of the brand’s best-sellers with over 4m units sold since its introduction in 2004.
Constructed on an E-Class platform, this low-slung four-door coupé is regarded as the ‘dream car’ of the Mercedes-Benz range, combining top executive-class comfort with a sporty appeal. It is a stunning looking car from every angle with a sharper, more elongated and aerodynamic appearance than before.
It will appeal to company executives and customers with deep pockets.
Exterior changes include a new radiator grille, new air intakes and bumpers, some silver-chrome trim elements, new twin and multi-spoke alloys and the choice of an additional metallic paint colour.
My car was the CLS 220d AMG Line with 19-inch 5-twin-spoke light alloy wheels painted in a special grey with a high-sheen finish. AMG versions get wider wheel arches and lowered comfort suspension system.
The side view shows the beautiful flow of the car’s design to perfection. To me, it resembles a sleek and spirited athlete ready for the ‘off’ at the starting line.
The cabin upgrade includes new walnut and wood trim finishes, additional leather seat coverings, more colour combinations, and a redesigned leather steering wheel — in this case in matching leather. The leather upholstery was in a beautiful Macchiato beige. However, I wasn’t enamoured with the open-pore ash wood trim along the dash when placed beside it.
You sit quite low in the car but visibility is good. Sports seats were both comfy and supportive. Front ones can be heated, the driver’s has lumbar support but has no memory seat settings. Rear headroom is somewhat restricted as with most coupés, and there’s not enough room for an adult to sit in comfort on the smaller middle seat.
The stunning dashboard features two x 12.3-inch fully digital colour HD displays which seem to merge as one with their black backgrounds. This is a standard feature.
The central console section deals with navigation, phone connection, radio, and vehicle settings, while the instrumentation screen shows all the relevant trip information including your current speed shown large in the centre as well as on the speedometer.
There is also a wireless charging system for your mobile phone. The MBUX (Mercedes-Benz User Experience) is the brand’s advanced multimedia infotainment (media and navigation) system. Use the touchpad to operate the display of the infotainment system as you would your smartphone. The buttons on either side can adjust the volume, to turn on the multimedia system, for active parking assist (it detects parking spaces for you and helps manoeuvre the car into the space).
The power operated boot door opens up high for ease of getting things in and out. The boot itself can take a full-sized golf bag, caddy car and holdall with ease. There was no spare.
Mercedes-Benz is big on safety equipment and the standard spec of my car included an extensive range of occupant safety and driver assistance packages far too many to mention here, but all top end features. They included traffic sign assist, an excellent 360 deg reversing camera, blind spot assist and a navigation connectivity package for live traffic information.
Both petrol and diesel engines are offered, along with a mild hybrid version. Petrols are a 450 4MATIC (2999cc/500Nm torque) and a high performance Mercedes-AMG 534MATIC+ version (2999cc/520Nm) with fast-shifting AMG Speedshift 9G transmission.
Diesels are a 220d (1950cc/400Nm) with 194hp, a 300d 4MATIC (1993cc/550Nm) and a 400 4MATIC with 2925cc and 700Nm. My car was the diesel 220d AMG Line with 9G-Tronic automatic transmission and annual road tax of €270 – the focus of most Irish customers.
CLS seems to have been built especially for motorway cruising. And the Germans certainly know all about that with their autobahns — this model can do 0-100km/h in 7.4 seconds. It does the job with decisive acceleration and always in the right gear and always with a smoothness to match. You’d want to travel the length and breadth of the country with it and that would be no problem with its bottomless pit of a fuel tank.
The brand claims a combined fuel consumption of from 5.5-6.3L/100kms. My motoring was mostly on primary and motorway routes, and surprisingly the trip computer showed a combined fuel return 4.6 L/100kms which is brilliant for a car like this.
Mercedes-Benz passenger sales manager Ciaran Allen described the CLS as ‘the embodiment of elegance, luxury and comfort, all wrapped in a timeless, eye-catching design’. He’s not wrong there.