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2021 Mercedes-Benz CLS-Class Overview

The Mercedes-Benz CLS-Class is a large luxury car with coupe-like styling. It was last redesigned for the 2019 model year and gets updated tech features for 2021. It competes with cars like the Audi A7 and Genesis G90.

The CLS-Class is a big four-door car, though it’s graceful and elegant thanks to its low stance, sleek roofline, and blacked-out B-pillar for the the-oh-so-popular coupe-like profile. The wide grille and angled headlights make the front end look a little more sporty than you might expect based on the side view, and because it’s a Mercedes, the various wheel designs are gorgeous.

There are two CLS models, the CLS 450 and the AMG CLS 53, both carrying over unchanged this year. The CLS 450 features an inline-six engine rated for 362 horsepower and 369 pound-feet of torque, a nine-speed automatic transmission, and a mild-hybrid electrical system. Rear-wheel drive (RWD) is standard and Mercedes’ 4MATIC all-wheel drive (AWD) system is available. The AMG model is tuned for 429 hp and 384 lb-ft, and also features a (performance-enhanced) nine-speed transmission and AWD. With the base CLS, you’ll get 24 mpg city, 31 highway, and 26 combined, or 23/26/30 with AWD. The AMG CLS 53 is rated for 21/27/23.

The CLS seats five on leather upholstery and includes features like keyless entry, push-button start, and 64-color ambient lighting. The AMG model adds upgraded upholstery and a sport steering wheel. Options across the lineup include heated and cooled seats, massaging seats, and three-zone automatic climate control.

For 2021, the CLS gets an updated infotainment system in the form of the Mercedes-Benz User Experience (MBUX) system. A 12.3-inch display pairs with a new 12.3-inch digital gauge cluster for all functions, and Apple CarPlay and Android Auto are also included. The adaptive cruise control system now incorporates live traffic data—another nice touch. Buyers have the choice of two Burmester audio systems.

Standard safety features include blind-spot monitoring, forward-collision warning, automatic emergency braking, and driver-attention monitoring. For 2021, the automatic emergency braking system responds to oncoming traffic.

The lovely CLS-Class remains an enticing choice, and the updated tech features help it stay competitive.


Cherise is a Chicago-based freelance writer and editor with nearly 15 years of experience covering the automotive industry. Cherise loves writing about car culture and sharing common-sense car-buying advice. She owns a 2019 Subaru WRX Series.Gray, 2020 Subaru Outback Onyx XT, 2007 Genuine Buddy Italia 150, 2015 Honda Grom, and 1979 Boston Whaler Montauk.

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