Skip advert
Advertisement

Mercedes CLS AMG

We get exclusive ride aboard top-spec four-door coupe

Overall Auto Express Rating

4.0 out of 5

Find your Mercedes CLS
Offers from our trusted partners on this car and its predecessors...
Hassle-free way to a brand new car
Or are you looking to sell your car?
Customers got an average £1000 more vs part exchange quotes
Advertisement

For many, the original CLS was the most desirable Mercedes in well over a decade. It opened up a market for four-door coupés, and offered comfort, practicality and a helping of driving fun. The new car takes the strengths of the original and hallmarks of the current S-Class and AMG SLS to move the design forward. And on the road, this range-topping CLS 63 AMG does the business, blending improved performance and efficiency with real luxury.

Advertisement - Article continues below

From the Los Angeles Motor Show stand to the California highway – Auto Express has got the inside line on Mercedes’ new four-door super-coupe! This is the CLS 63 AMG, and thanks to Tobias Moers – the tuning arm’s product development boss – we’ve been given an exclusive ride around LA, fresh from the car’s launch.

Moers strikes up the mighty V8 engine, and the quad exhausts bellow a song that is pure AMG – less audible from the passenger seat than in the sculpted rear ones. “There are two sound engineers in-house,” Moers says. “The noise is a vital part of AMG ownership.”

As well as getting LED headlamps, the CLS is the first Merc to benefit from electromechanical-assisted steering. Gone is the naturally aspirated 6.2-litre V8, too, in favour of a twin turbocharged 5.5-litre.

Skip advert
Advertisement
Skip advert
Advertisement - Article continues below

By reducing the capacity, adding turbochargers and ditching the engine-driven hydraulic power-steering, the new unit is 32 per cent more efficient than its predecessor. 

It’s also faster, with the 518bhp unit propelling the car from 0-62mph in a mere 4.4 seconds. The 700Nm torque on tap is astounding, but it isn’t delivered with any typical turbocharged characteristics. Listen carefully, and you’ll hear a muffled whistle. Emissions regulations mean supercharging is history. 

Advertisement - Article continues below

“The CLS only took two-and-a-half years to develop, and the steering was my biggest challenge,” adds Moers. “We had to make the electric system feel as close to a hydraulic set-up as possible, and worked hard on the software mapping. Turn-in to corners isn’t as eager as with RS-badged Audi models – and as someone who used to work as the head of the Quattro department, I should know!”

Although we’re not driving the car, we trust Moers’ judgement. He’s been with AMG since 1994, and was the man responsible for the stunning C63 AMG. 

The 55mph speed limit ensures that we remain at a steady pace, but we get a feel for how the CLS behaves. Essentially, it’s an E63 AMG underneath with electronically damped steel front suspension struts and a 24mm wider track. The rear axle features self-levelling air-suspension, and Comfort mode is handled AMG-style – this is no floppy, factory-spec set-up. 

Skip advert
Advertisement
Skip advert
Advertisement - Article continues below

The only centre console dial adjusts the AMG Speedshift MCT seven-speed transmission. 

C (short for Controlled Efficiency) is an eco mode that softens throttle inputs, shifts gears earlier and activates stop-start. 

At first, the latter seems a bizarre feature on such a fast car – especially one with launch control – but it soon becomes second nature. Moers flicks the dial to M (Manual) and sets up the CLS for a corner with an engine blip downshift.

When in M or S (Sport) modes, throttle response perks up, stop-start is disabled and engine remapping alters the exhaust pitch. Sport is fine if the road surface is smooth – it also tightens up the steering feel. 

The ESP system has three modes. “When it’s turned off, it really is turned off,” says Moers. “We calibrated Sport mode to allow our drivers to lap the Nürburgring as fast with it on, as off.” What’s really impressive, though, is the fact that the CLS 63 AMG is still a comfortable, luxurious and relaxing executive car when you’re not going flat-out. 

Body control feels better than expected, given the length of its wheelbase. It’s nearly as comfortable as an S63, yet it seems as taut and as supple as a Jaguar XFR.

Skip advert
Advertisement
Skip advert
Advertisement

Most Popular

No more EV! New BMW X3 gets petrol, diesel and PHEV power only
BMW X3 - front
News

No more EV! New BMW X3 gets petrol, diesel and PHEV power only

The all-new premium BMW X3 SUV has a sharp new look and cutting-edge tech, but no iX3 EV this time around
18 Jun 2024
New Citroen C3 Aircross gets seven-seats to fight Dacia Jogger, plus £25k pure-electric version
Citroen C3 Aircross - front reveal
News

New Citroen C3 Aircross gets seven-seats to fight Dacia Jogger, plus £25k pure-electric version

Citroen has somehow managed to cram seven seats into its new compact SUV, although the pure-electric e-C3 Aircross is only available with five
19 Jun 2024
Ford Explorer review
Ford Explorer 2024 - front
In-depth reviews

Ford Explorer review

Ford’s long-awaited electric SUV drives well, has some neat touches and impresses for efficiency
18 Jun 2024