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Mercedes CLS-Class (2005-2010) review

The Merc has dramatic styling, road presence and sheer class.

Overall Auto Express Rating

2.0 out of 5

Price
£50,090 to £65,655

Driving The CLS may lack the sharpness of models such as the BMW 6-Series, but that’s not to say it isn’t sharp and composed. Body control could be better, but the steering offers decent feel and the ride is among the best we’ve experienced. This makes the Merc a superb cruiser and contributes to a relaxed feel that allows you to effortlessly cover hundreds of miles. The popular 3.0-litre V6 diesel is superbly refined, too, and offers a silky-smooth power delivery; it’s preferable to the V6 petrol. There’s also a sublime 5.0-litre V8, and a hard-edged high-performance 6.3-litre V8 AMG. The CLS’ seven-speed auto offer immaculately slick shifts as well.

Marketplace At first glance, it’s not immediately apparent how the CLS fits into the Mercedes line-up. Its four doors and E-Class underpinnings suggest executive saloon, but the coupe bodystyle hints at CLK and CL models. Still, in terms of dramatic styling, there’s little that can rival it. The low-slung, curvy profile gives it a classic feel. There are four CLS models – V6 petrol and diesel, the V8 CLS 500 and the super-fast CLS 63 AMG, which can hit 60mph in 4.5 seconds. Rivals are wide-ranging, given the car’s unique nature: they include the BMW 6-Series, Audi A5, Range Rover Sport and Jaguar XK. But probably closest in spirit is the four-door Volkswagen Passat CC… which costs half the price!

Owning It’s difficult to find fault with the CLS’ cabin. As with the rest of the car, the cockpit isn’t quite as driver-focused as sportier alternatives, but it’s extremely comfortable, mainly thanks to the sumptuous chairs. It has character too, and although some of the switchgear could be more solid, build quality is generally top-notch. Passengers in the back will like it, too. Admittedly, rear access isn’t completely straightforward due to the low doors and low roofline, but in terms of legroom and space, it’s impressive – perfect for cross-continent trips. And while the petrol versions are not that economical, the diesel averages an impressive 37mpg, according to official tests. Retained values are exceptional as well: the car’s desirability sees it retain over 55 per cent of its original list price.

Engines, performance and drive

0

MPG, CO2 and Running Costs

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Interior, design and technology

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Practicality, comfort and boot space

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Reliability and Safety

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Which Is Best

Cheapest

  • Name
    CLS 300d AMG Line 4dr 9G-Tronic
  • Gearbox type
    Semi-auto
  • Price
    £50,090

Most Economical

  • Name
    CLS 300d AMG Line 4dr 9G-Tronic
  • Gearbox type
    Semi-auto
  • Price
    £50,090

Fastest

  • Name
    CLS 450 4Matic AMG Line Premium Plus 4dr 9G-Tronic
  • Gearbox type
    Semi-auto
  • Price
    £62,555
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