New For 2014
The CLS63 AMG is fortified with more power for the standard car and a new S-Model version. The regular CLS63 AMG sees the output of its turbocharged 5.5-liter V-8 climb to 550 hp and 531 lb-ft of torque. Offering still more is the new S-Model, which bumps those figures to 577 hp and 590 lb-ft. The S-Model also includes an increased speed limiter that raises the top speed from 155 mph to 186 mph, a race start function for the seven-speed dual-clutch transmission, and the AMG adaptive sport suspension. All CLS63 AMGs switch from rear-wheel drive to a special high-performance version of the Mercedes 4Matic all-wheel-drive system that sends two-thirds of the power to the rear wheels.
The Mercedes-Benz CLS touched off one of the hottest trends in the luxury-car world, the four-door “coupe.” At its core, the CLS is nothing more than a rebodied E-Class, but what a body it is. The rakish roofline, swoopy sheetmetal, frameless door glass, and exaggerated proportions create a bespoke look that allows Mercedes to charge significantly more for the CLS than is does for the E-Class. No wonder other carmakers have rushed in with their own take on the concept — Audi with the A7, BMW with the 6 Series Gran Coupe, and even Volkswagen with the CC.
Longer, lower, sleeker. Those are the watchwords of the CLS. Compared with the E-Class on which it’s based, the CLS is about three inches longer and two inches lower to the ground. The sweeping roofline makes for a more intimate cabin. The top of the windshield is closer to the passengers, and the center console bisects the entire interior, making the rear seat a strictly two-person affair. The space is extremely well finished, and for those who would like to kick it up a notch, Mercedes offers a variety of special-order Designo leather upholstery treatments. There are also Designo paint colors for the exterior, including two matte-finish choices.
As befits its positioning above the E-Class in the Mercedes hierarchy, the CLS has additional standard equipment and a more focused engine lineup. You won’t find a four-cylinder diesel — or any diesel — here. Nor is there an available V-6. Your options start with the smooth and powerful 4.7-liter biturbo V-8 in the CLS550. Output is no greater than in the E550, but with 402 hp and 443 lb-ft, few drivers are likely to feel slighted. The CLS is also available in ultra-flashy, ultra-high-performance CLS63 AMG guise. 4Matic all-wheel drive is standard on the CLS63 AMG; it’s optional on the CLS550.
The CLS550 comes standard with Mercedes’ Airmatic suspension, which adjusts to changing road surfaces to deliver exceptional smoothness without any float. The AMG cars have a unique suspension that uses air springs at the rear with traditional steel springs up front, all tuned for a much firmer ride and more responsive handling.
- Rakish styling
- Ride/handling balance
- Muscle-car performance (CLS63 AMG)
You won’t like:
- Rear-seat ingress
- No middle seating position in back
- Costs more than equivalent E-Class
- Audi A7
- BMW 6 Series Gran Coupe
- Maserati Quattroporte
- Porsche Panamera