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2018 Mercedes-Benz CLS-Class Overview
The Mercedes-Benz CLS-Class last received a major redesign in 2012, followed by a facelift in 2015. In 2018, the second-generation CLS-Class enters its seventh and final year on the market with minimal updates, anticipating a third-generation revamp in 2019.
The CLS-Class is the E-Class sedan’s sleeker counterpart, so its length and width dimensions fall within mid-size territory. That said, the wheelbase is a shorter than those of its four-door coupe competitors, which include the Audi A7 and BMW 6 Series Gran Coupe. The CLS-Class’s chiseled and sleek exterior includes a number of standard features, including LED headlights, a polished black grille, 5-spoke 18-inch wheels, and a sunroof.
One of two engines power the vehicle, and these engines dictate the trim levels. The base CLS 550 comes equipped with a twin-turbocharged 4.7-liter V8 engine good for 402 horsepower, 443 lb-ft of torque, and a zero-to-sixty time of 4.9 seconds. This base model has rear-wheel-drive, but all-wheel-drive is available. Both systems employ a 9-speed automatic transmission and adaptive air suspension.
Stepping things up, the CLS 63 AMG upgrades just about every part of the vehicle. It swaps in a hand-built twin-turbocharged 5.5-liter V8 with 577 horsepower and 590 lb-ft of torque, which is paired to an AMG-specific 7-speed transmission and standard AWD, which cuts the run to sixty down to 3.5 seconds. In addition, the CLS 63 gets unique front and rear bumpers, side skirts, wheels, headlights, brakes, steering, air suspension, exhaust, and selectable drive modes.
The CLS-Class interior has Mercedes-Benz’ current technology stack, including the latest COMAND infotainment system and the corporate three-spoke steering wheel, but the design and switchgear betray its age. All the same, the interior’s materials are high-quality and tasteful with a number of opulent upholstery and trim choices for all CLS-Class variants. A full-length center console neatly divides the interior into four quadrants for each occupant, and standard features include a start/stop system, 14-way powered and heated front seats with memory, paddle shifters, an 8-inch display, Apple CarPlay and Android Auto connectivity, a 610-watt, 14-speaker Harmon/Kardon audio system, and navigation. The infotainment system also features notable upgrades like in-car Wi-Fi and a nicer 1,200-watt Bang & Olufsen audio system.
Safety seems a primary concern of the Mercedes-Benz brand, and the CLS-Class does not disappoint. Every CLS-Class has 9 standard airbags and a suite of safety features like a reversing camera, forward collision warning, automatic emergency braking, and rain-sensing windshield wipers. Optional safety features include adaptive cruise control, lane keeping assist, blind-spot monitoring, cross-traffic alert, front and rear parking sensors, a parking assistant and automatic high-beams. However, the CLS-Class has not yet been rated by any major safety agency.
Though the CLS-Class is an older model, it continues to impress with its performance, gorgeous looks, and undisputed luxury for a strong finish. To those looking for a few more tech toys or the option of a non-V8 engine, look out for the new-for-2019 model, which should address those concerns.
Kyree is new to the automotive journalism scene, but has voiced snarky public opinions about cars for quite some time. When he's not drooling over the latest European luxury sled, he's designing web experiences or writing backend code.
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