The CLS class is a sedan with the sleek lines of a coupe. It was launched in 2006 and has been a feast of styling ever since. It shares much with the E-class, but with much more style. The deeply raked style, which gives the CLS it’s character, is unfortunately also responsible for the somewhat reduced passenger space from which this model suffers.

This ultra stylish sedan comes in two flavors. The CLS 550, which offers a 5.5 liter V-8 which generates 382 HP and 391 Ft. – Lbs. of torque. The ClS63 AMG has a 6.2 liter V-8 which develops 507 HP and 465 Ft.-Lbs. of torque. Both models send this power to the wheels through a 7 speed automatic transmission. To add an edge of sportiness, paddle shifters are available on both models.

The ClS’ cockpit is decked out with top of the line material and large wood panels. However, the raked roofline makes itself felt here where ingress and egress are seriously hampered. Even inside, there isn’t enough headroom to support those over 6 ft tall. The dimensions give it a more constrained feel than some.

Body styles: Sedan
Engines: 5.5L V-8, 6.2L V-8
Transmissions: 7-speed automatic
Models: CLS550, CLS63 AMG

For 2011 the CLS-Class stays essentially the same as it was in 2010. It had received new engines in 2007 and then got a mild interior and exterior refresh in 2009. The only major change for 2011 — the CLS550 now comes standard with features that were once optional: sport styling, 18-inch AMG wheels, performance summer tires, and paddle shifters.

The coupe-like design of the CLS-Class had such an impact that other cars followed suit, including the Volkswagen Passat CC and upcoming Audi A7, and it could be argued that the new Hyundai Sonata was inspired by it as well.

Creature comforts, such as wood and leather trimmings, four-zone automatic climate control, surround sound, and 10-way power front seats are standard. Cabin feels plush and luxurious, but the rear seats are better for smaller passengers.

It’s not surprising that the CLS feels a lot like an E-Class on the road. Chassis is capable, but is more biased toward comfort than performance. The Airmatic suspension does a great job of reducing body roll in sport mode. Acceleration is excellent — even better in the AMG version — and the seven-speed always seems to be in the right gear.

Dual front airbags, front/rear side and window airbags, and driver knee airbag are standard, as are stability control, traction control, four-wheel discs with ABS and brake assist, and a tire-pressure monitoring system.

CLS550: 14 mpg city/21 mpg highway
CL63 AMG: 12 mpg city/18 mpg highway

  • Beautiful design
  • Excellent power
  • Smooth, quick transmission
  • Luxurious cabin
  • Reduced rear-seat headroom
  • Impractical use of space
  • AMG pricetag nears $100K

Like gorgeous shoes that pinch your toes


  • Porsche Panamera
  • Volkswagen Passat CC
  • Audi A7

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