Mercedes-Benz CLS

The Essentials

  • Price from £46,865
  • What Car? says: 4 star rating
  • Fuel economy: up to 54.3mpg
  • What is it? The Mercedes CLS is a super-stylish executive saloon


  • Really involving and rewarding to drive
  • Meditate on the road ahead: it's very peaceful inside
  • Coupe looks with four-door practicality


  • Slinky behind does affect rear access and headroom
  • Standard suspension isn't exactly cushy. Bump.
  • Don't expect much change out of £50k
  • Drive

    Powerful engines deliver awesome performance. Ferocious grip and responsive steering make for an engaging drive

  • Inside

    Getting comfortable is a piece of cake; mastering command of the Comand control system will be more of a challenge

  • Safety

    You're well covered, with warning systems to help prevent a crash and airbags if the worst happens. Deadlocks are standard to keep thieves at bay

  • Reliability

    Recent customer satisfactions surveys have put Mercedes close to the top of the pack

  • Space

    Room for four plus luggage; however rear passengers will need to be relatively flexible on account of the sloping roofline

  • Standard and extras

    Plenty as standard or go wild with massaging seats and a heated steering wheel

  • What's it like to drive?

    As refined as a night at the opera, the Mercedes-Benz CLS is a delight to drive. You'll feel thoroughly involved with the driving, thanks to the responsive steering and the more powerful engines are seriously punchy. Opt for air suspension if you're after a cushy ride; Sport if you really like to feel the ripples in the road. Looking for somewhere quiet to have a long hard think about life? The CLS is a haven of tranquillity.

  • What's it like inside?

    You sit quite low in the CLS, which makes manoeuvring it into tight parking spaces rather tricky as there's a limit to how much you can see. It's easy to find a comfy driving position, though, and the controls are all in the right place. The interior has a high quality feel and there's plenty of space for passengers and packages, unless you're over six foot tall and sitting in the back. Four doors make it easier to climb into than your average coupe but getting past those door sills is still a bit of a squeeze.

  • How reliable is it?

    Brilliant equipment includes a safety system to detect if you're about to start snoozing along with lots of airbags and stability control. Mercedes was rated highly in the 2012 JD Power customer satisfaction survey, so we are confident it won't fall apart.

  • Should I buy one?

    Prices are nudging closer to Mercedes' luxury S-Class model than the E-Class on which the CLS is based, so you'll want to keep the bank manager onside. Luckily, most of the interior fittings feel built to suitably premium quality. Pick the 2.1-litre diesel version to keep running costs in check: it promises an average of 54.3mpg and emissions of 135g/km. All versions have sat-nav, Bluetooth, electric leather seats and cruise control fitted.