2015 Mercedes-Benz CLS-Class Review

CLS-Class

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2015 Mercedes-Benz CLS-Class Overview

Mercedes-Benz calls it a coupe. Critics label it a sedan with coupe-like design. Either way, the 2015 Mercedes-Benz CLS-Class Coupe is a luxury 4-door that attracts your attention with its elegant styling, keeps your attention with its high-end performance and comfort, and comes with a host of changes for the current model year.

The revisions start at the front with a redesigned chrome grille and a new bumper that features extra-large air intakes. These updates flow gracefully into the long, sweeping hood and complement the dramatically sloping roofline that gives the CLS-Class much of its coupe-like feel. Some of the pieces may be new, but the vehicle maintains the powerfully debonair and dynamic look that has defined it — and Mercedes-Benz in general — through the years.

Behind the remodeled front end lurk even more changes for the CLS-Class. There's a new 3.0-liter, biturbo direct injection V6 engine choice and a new 9-speed automatic transmission. The V6 produces 329 hp, 354 lb-ft of torque, gets 20 mpg city/30 highway and powers the CLS400 (the “entry level” trim for the CLS-Class). Take a step up and you'll get the CLS550 and its 4.7-liter biturbo V8 that churns out 402 hp and 443 lb-ft of torque, delivers 17/26 and goes from 0-60 in 5.1 seconds.

The CLS400 and CLS550 both come standard with the new 9-speed transmission and rear-wheel drive, but all-wheel drive (4matic in Mercedes speak) with a 7-speed transmission is also available. The CLS400 gets a 4-wheel multilink suspension that provides a refined ride, while the CLS550 has a semi-active Airmatic suspension that uses pressurized air to upgrade the comfort level and stability.

The CLS400 and CLS550 both deliver impressive performance, but the real CLS-Class athlete is the CLS63 AMG S 4Matic. Modified and tuned at AMG, the performance racing division of Mercedes-Benz, the CLS63 AMG S 4Matic hustles from 0-60 in just 3.6 seconds thanks to a handcrafted 5.5-liter biturbo V8 with spray-guided direct injection that produces 577 hp, 590 lb-ft of torque and gets 16/22. It comes with a unique, racing-inspired 7-speed AMG Speedshift Multi-Clutch Technology transmission and a high-performance, lightweight version of the 4Matic all-wheel-drive system. Other performance upgrades provided by AMG include a compound braking system, adaptive sport suspension, electromechanical steering, three-stage Electronic Stability Program, AMG limited-slip differential, and AMG sport exhaust that is acoustically tuned to deliver the full growl of the V8. The CLS63 AMG Coupe also comes with unique 19-inch, 10-spoke wheels, a performance steering wheel, rear spoiler, power sliding sunroof, AMG instrumentation, illuminated door sills, carbon fiber engine cover, and special trim and upholstery options.

The CLS-Class cabin also sees some revisions for 2015 that brings it in line with the new modern, sophisticated and luxurious feel that has permeated the entire Mercedes-Benz fleet. There are updated trim options that include real wood and metal, soft semi-aniline leathers that are hand-tailored, and paint colors that range from a deep gloss to a modern matte finish. The heated front seats offer ample room and comfort for almost any body type thanks to the standard 14-way electronic adjustments. The two-seat rear (a rear center console sits in the middle) is also comfortable, though taller occupants might notice the low roofline.

A new ultra-vivid 8-inch screen and central controller are the hub of the car's infotainment systems. The standard audio system will please audiophiles — a 610-watt, 14-speaker Harman Kardon LOGIC7 with Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround Sound that's designed specifically for the CLS-Class and comes with SiriusXM, Bluetooth audio streaming, the Gracenote music database, 10GB of hard-drive music storage and iPod/MP3 compatibility. If you want to truly get lost in sound, there's an optional Burmester sound system that also pleases the eyes with its beautiful speaker grilles.

Another new standard piece of technology in the CLS400 is Garmin Map Pilot navigation system that includes 3D views with precise representation of streets and buildings. The CLS550 comes standard with the COMAND Online system that has 3D hard-disc navigation with photo-realistic buildings, topographical map display, 3D map rotation and NASA satellite images. The COMAND system, which is operated via the 8-inch screen, also allows you to connect with Mercedes-Benz Apps and use Google Local Search, Facebook, Yelp, and more. The mbrace2 telematics system is also accessed through the COMAND interface and provides remote services, such as a concierge function with 24-hour personal assistance. Optional technologies include a Apple iPad docking station and a rear-seat entertainment system with two 7-inch screens and a DVD player.

Some of the latest safety features also come standard with the CLS-Class, like the new Collision Prevention Assist Plus, which helps prevent rear-end collisions with automatic braking. The new Multibeam LED headlights can swivel for greater safety in cornering and use five control units to calculate the ideal light pattern 100 times per second, adjusting themselves accordingly. Other standard safety features include 12 airbags, rain-sensing wipers, active head restraints, stability and traction control, and Attention Assist (which monitors driver's alertness). Optional safety features include Blind Spot Assist, Lane Keeping Assist, Active Park Assist and Night View Assist Plus with pedestrian detection.

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After working at gas stations and car washes in high school, driving across the country more than a dozen times and even living on the road in a well-outfitted truck, Tim O'Sullivan finally started putting some of his automotive knowledge to work when he began writing for CarGurus in 2008. He's also an award-winning journalist and the Sports Editor at the Concord (NH) Monitor.

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