2009 Mercedes-Benz CLS550

As I drove home in the CLS last night, I couldn't stop thinking about Jaguar's XF. The Mercedes has a dramatic presence that the XF is missing. I don't find the CLS gorgeous - especially the headlights - but it does stand out in the crowd. What a great concept Mercedes has. Build the E-Class for the more traditional Benz buyer and the CLS for the person who wants a bit more style. Unfortunately, the CLS doesn't drive as well as the Jaguar. The Mercedes V-8 is very strong but the seven-speed automatic is slow to downshift. I also find the air suspension really disconnects the driver from road. It is too floaty and I don't like constantly having to toggle the suspension switch to try to contain body motions. In the end, I wish the XF was more dramatic like the CLS but that the Mercedes drove as well as the Jaguar.

Marc Noordeloos, Road Test Editor

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