The second act in a niche-creating performance from Mercedes-Benz. It’s arguably not as dramatic as a result, but the Mercedes CLS is no less desirable – irrespective of the fact it introduced the ridiculous ‘four-door coupe’ term into road-testing parlance. Swoopy and lithe, it’s a handsome four-door, and despite the curves it’s not overly compromised inside. Makes you think why you’d have a (now admittedly quite swoopy) E-Class, until you realise the CLS is a sizeable chunk of money more than its more conventional saloon sibling.
What is it like on the road?
Seduction issues from AMG’s flagship model, which although badged 63 is actually AMG’s latest 5.5-litre V8 with a pair of turbos stoking the gloriously noisy fire. It’s a Panamera Turbo rival with poise and power to move the fight to its Stuttgart competitor. It’s not entirely necessary actually, as the rest of the range features the same fine driving dynamics – albeit without the ludicrous pace. Still, 6.5 seconds to 62mph in the CLS 350d is damn good going for a 52mpg V6 diesel, and even the four-cylinder CLS 220d turbodiesel manages the benchmark sprint in 8.5 seconds. It’s the one everyone will buy, and with good reason as it combines passable performance with fuel-station avoiding economy – there’s a free badge-delete option if you’re particularly proud.
READ ALSO:The 2017 Mercedes-Benz E-Class Review
All drive with a supple composure, as Merc’s chassis engineers seem to have recently discover their ride and handling mojo. It all adds up to a crushingly competent all-rounder with a broad range of abilities.
On the inside
Layout, finish and space
It is more spacious and comfortable than before, but it’s not as special. Gone are individualistic touches like the single-piece wooden dash inlay that marked it out as different and in comes the interior from the outgoing E-Class. It’s all finely fitted, but given the drama outside it’s a bit of a disappointment – especially given premium. The driving position is low and lounging, and there are only two rear seats.
Luggage space is impressive though, and the interior is fully loaded with kit, inclusive of Merc’s driver-drowsiness monitoring Attention Assist.
Running costs and reliability
If You want the AMG, but you’ll buy the diesel, if not the 220, the 350, which is all the vehicle you’ll need. Ownership should be hassle-free, and you’re unlikely to get tired of driving it or looking at it. Shame then that the interior isn’t a bit more distinct from its relatives. Costs should be reasonable and residual values are likely to be strong, though if you do buy the AMG then you’ll get through tyres quickly as well as fuel. In contrast, the economical 220d is pretty tax friendly, so get your fleet manager to purchase it.