Mercedes CLS 500

Mercedes great saloon gets superb V8 - and makes the AMG look irrelevant

Overall Auto Express Rating

4.0 out of 5

The CLS 500 is everything a Mercedes should be – refined, luxurious, fast and desirable. With its effortless torque and relentless acceleration, why would anyone want the more costly AMG versions instead?

Faced with spiralling motoring costs and speed camera- controlled roads, how fast does your luxury saloon really need to be? Mercedes’ AMG line-up is full of machines that can keep up with nearly any Ferrari, but you don’t have to go for a range-topper to get supercar-slaying performance.

The CLS 500 has recently been fitted with Merc’s latest 5.5-litre V8. Despite being naturally aspirated, it develops a huge 383bhp – 77bhp more than its predecessor.

From the outside, the 500 is barely distinguishable from the V6-engined 350. Yet, when the slick seven-speed transmission kicks down a couple of ratios under full throttle, you could be forgiven for thinking AMG has had a hand in the V8’s development. A near-perfect transmission and 530Nm of torque give the CLS relentless acceleration from any speed. The benchmark sprint from 0-62mph takes 5.4 seconds – that’s only 0.9 seconds slower than the AMG range-topper.

The four-door is nearly as involving to drive as BMW’s 5-Series, but it’s more than competent as a long-distance cruiser, too. And at £53,240, it’s £19,755 less than the 63 AMG model. Although it doesn’t look like a sports car, few drivers will want more pace than the CLS 500 has to offer.

Most Popular

Genesis G80 vs Mercedes E-Class vs Lexus ES
Genesis G80 vs Mercedes E-Class vs Lexus ES
Genesis G80

Genesis G80 vs Mercedes E-Class vs Lexus ES

The Genesis G80 looks to make an impact in the executive saloon class as we pitch it against the Mercedes E-Class and Lexus ES
18 Sep 2021
'The death of cheap cars will be a travesty for personal mobility'
Opinion cheap cars
Opinion

'The death of cheap cars will be a travesty for personal mobility'

Our appetite for small, cheap cars is as strong as ever - although Mike Rutherford warns they may no longer be profitable
12 Sep 2021
E10 petrol explained: UK prices, checker tool and is it OK for your car?
Petrol pump
News

E10 petrol explained: UK prices, checker tool and is it OK for your car?

E10 petrol is up to 10 per cent ethanol and is available at UK fuel stations now as part of the bid to cut CO2 emissions
1 Sep 2021