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The Mercedes-Benz CLS350 is all new, and packs really good looks with some wizardry from a new mild-hybrid system powering the four-door coupe.

06 Nov 2018



The Mercedes-Benz CLS-Class is quite special. The first generation of the CLS in 2004 changed the perception of how sedans should look with its coupe-like proportions, and soon enough, other manufacturers took a stab at the four-door coupe, giving us cars like the Audi A7 and the Volkswagen Arteon.

Now injected with a new design language and some mild-hybrid wizardry, the new CLS sets to remind everyone that aside from being the first to make a sensual four-door, Mercedes is the best at it, too.

The CLS is a strikingly good-looking car, especially with its clean, flowing lines

Is it sort of an E-Class Coupe with four doors?

Not quite, especially in terms of looks. The CLS is incredibly low-slung, more hunkered down, and is to us one of Mercedes' best designs yet. Credit goes to the company's new design idiom called 'Sensual Purity', which focuses on clear and comprehensible styling.

It certainly is love at first sight, but how is it like inside?

'Sensual Purity' is also at play on the inside, with an interior that offers a very upmarket feel, fit and finish that's perfectly fitting of Mercedes' standards.

Taking centre stage on the dashboard is the two 12.3-inch infotainment displays, which should encourage a lot of oohs and aahs from passengers. This new dual-screen system is super cool to look at, with touch-sensitive controls on the steering wheel that allow the driver to manage both screens independently.

The two 12.3-inch displays take centre stage in the cabin, making it look futuristic and premium

There is a lot of neat attention to detail elsewhere, too, with audio and haptic feedback when you use the various other touch controls around the car.

And more oohs and aahs will follow, as the illuminated air vents - part of the 64-colour ambient lighting setup - change from blue to red according to the temperature set on the climate control. You can see Mercedes having a little fun putting stuff like this in the CLS, whilst still being quintessentially Teutonic in its purpose.

The air vents are illuminated, and change colour when you adjust the temperature on the climate control

At the same time, there is a 13-speaker Burmester audio system, which is a welcome option especially since the CLS350 is supposedly the entry-level model.

But aside from the superb quality of sound it delivers, Mercedes has also put a lot of thought into the design of the speakers, resulting in a very sleek and seamless fit and finish on the doors.

More importantly, although we feel the CLS still works best having only two passengers in the rear, it is a five-seater for the first time, with enough space for three at the back. The CLS also hides a long boot, which is fairly big, at 490 litres.

How's the drive though? You mentioned mild-hybrid wizardry...

The CLS has EQ Boost, which is a mild-hybrid system that incorporates a compact 48V electric motor and generator. This supplements the engine, as well as to power other auxiliary stuff like the air-conditioner and water pump.

EQ Boost is Mercedes' answer to electrification, and gives the CLS the extra oomph when necessary

While that may sound boring, here's the important bit. EQ Boost, in some applications, can output from 150Nm to 250Nm of torque to the powertrain. Combined with the turbocharged 2.0-litre in-line four that pushes out a very respectable 295bhp and 400Nm, EQ Boost gives the CLS an edge by filling up gaps in the powerband where the engine might fall short.

Hold up, it's a 2.0-litre?

That's right. The entry-level CLS350 has a turbocharged 2.0-litre engine. Performance is nothing entry-level, though. You'd be hard pressed to fault its powerplant, as it provides ample shove when you want it.

Do not underestimate the 2.0-litre turbocharged lump in the CLS350, for it packs a mean punch

In fact, if you push the 1,775kg car, it will get you from 0-100km/h in six seconds flat.

Coupled with Mercedes' creamy and quick-shifting 9G-TRONIC transmission, the CLS350 is a smooth operator whether you're driving it hard, or simply cruising along in a relaxed manner.

Change the driving profile to Eco, and the car will glide along with the drivetrain disengaged to save fuel. EQ Boost allows for this to be as seamless as possible, as the electric motor does provide some assistance to keep the car sailing along without the engine interfering.

Should I get one?

The Mercedes-Benz CLS is all about looking and feeling good, and has always been the cool alternative to the usual E-Class.

The new rear seat configuration makes the CLS350 easier to live with, and as practical as four-door coupes get

But being cool did come with its downsides, especially in its previous generation that only came with four seats. Thankfully, the new CLS350 has more practicality added into its mix, as a five-seater coupled with a smaller capacity engine, but still doesn't lose its appeal as a pretty sweet four-door coupe.

With its blend of good looks, smooth drive and more space, the new CLS is definitely worthy of consideration if you're looking for something more spectacular than the usual German family 'sedan'.
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Car Information

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Mercedes-Benz CLS-Class CLS350 (A)
Rate it

Price

: $336,888

Engine Type

:

4-cylinder in-line 16-valve Turbocharged

Engine Cap

:

1991cc

Horsepower

:

220kW (295 bhp) / 6100 rpm

Torque

:

400 Nm

Transmission

:

9G-Tronic (A)

Acceleration (0-100 km/h)

:

6sec

Top Speed

:

250km/h

Fuel consumption

:

12.9 km/L

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