2006 MercedesBenz CLS500 Road Test

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Mercedes-Benz CLS 500

2006 Mercedes-Benz CLS-Class

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(6.2L V8 7-speed

2006 Mercedes-Benz CLS-Class

Published: 04/20/2005 — by Smith. Editorial Director

Say out loud: I just got a new Mercedes. off the tongue pretty nicely, it? But here’s a line that taste even sweeter: I got a 2006 Mercedes-Benz CLS500. The buyers of this rakish new Mercedes coupe are going to be $65,620 or more to feel To stand out from the herd. To their chests just a more when they the acquisition. This car is all about and let’s just embrace

The CLS’s coupelike roofline what the car is about. Coupes are They look fast. are personal, meant to flatter the even at the expense of the passengers’ if necessary. They imply a lithe and responsive demeanor on the Coupes are cool. Exclusive.

But the Mercedes CLS500 is not really a It has four doors, a decent and all the comforts of, say, an E500 In fact, it has most of the hardware, and equipment of an E500 as well, it is built on a development of that sedan platform.

So there’s the To offer a luxury-performance automobile identifies its owner as a racy, coupe kind of person, asking that he or she actually get without all the comforts and convenience of a four-door sedan. Clever. And targeted at baby boomers the me that wants to have it all now their way through those earning years.

Putting It Out

How does this idea pan out in Superbly, especially if you like how an works, and how the CLS500 looks. As for the opinion is never unanimous, but around our office is that new Mercedes is absolutely gorgeous. The arcing roofline and edgy give it real personality, and reflect its athleticism.

Some find the CLS’ sheet a little too busy, some see an resemblance to the Toyota Camry in its profile, and some don’t know what to make of it. the chopped-top effect and tall combine to squeeze the side down into mere But forceful designs are always especially at first. On balance, on our own critical review and on the public’s to our test car, we score the styling a solid hit.

Inevitably, the coupelike contours tradeoffs inside, especially in but there are compensations. From the seat, you can see and feel the windshield’s rake, and trim and detailing are a notch and a half above E-Class fare. There are wood inlays (glossy or to taste) and lovely chrome around gauges, controls, everything. As a Mercedes official out to us, using existing E-Class let them spend money on the presentation and finish, like real stitching on the dash

The rear seat (actually two flanking an extended center is well shaped and even occupants have adequate for knees. But 6-footers are a light fit between the seat cushion and It’s also pretty back there, since the glass ends well of an occupant’s vantage point. that’s not much of a giveback in to get the lean, fast-looking shape of a coupe.

Running Against the

And the car is not only fast-looking. It really run pretty well. Ed Hellwig its road manners well in our Drive: 2006 Mercedes-Benz and now that we’ve had a car for full we can fill in some blanks.

the E500 sedan supplies all the componentry, including the 302-horsepower, three-valve-per-cylinder aluminum V8 and terribly seven-speed automatic transmission. The CLS over 200 pounds more the E500 we last tested versus 3,815), which explains the couple extra that crept into the time.

We logged a 6.2-second run in the CLS to the E500’s best of 5.8. performance slipped a little as 14.7 seconds at 96.8 mph for the compared to the E’s 14.24 at

Not spectacular numbers, perhaps, but in the new coupe leaves little to about when you call up thrust on the road. It launches shifts crisply and feels (And you can spring for the 469-hp AMG for about $90,000, if you simply have more.) The engine is smooth and serene, and it gave us fuel economy: about 15 mpg no babying, against an EPA rating of

Accelerating from a standstill, or in city traffic, you may notice a throttle imprecision, common to German electronic throttle You don’t get a reaction right so you feed in more pedal, finally get a bigger lunge you wanted.

We can pick a similar nit the brake pedal, whose wooden, not-quite-linear feel suggests electronics that completely natural in their But neither of these impressions the way the CLS works (the big 13-inch discs helped pull our car to a halt from 60 mph in just 116 and an owner driving the car every day adjust to the quirks.

Doing It

One example of advanced electronics we no qualms about at all is Mercedes’ Dual Control air suspension Adaptive Damping System. design incorporates semiactive, controlled pneumatic spring to assist the conventional coil and variable-rate dampers. The system adjusts spring and damping to reduce pitch, dive and while affording a comfortable, ride. The driver can firm up with two selectable Sport

It all works beautifully, giving the CLS a and polished feel on the road as as surprising agility for its size and Probably thanks to the grippy 275/35 tires on 18-inch the CLS wiggled through our 600-foot at an average speed of 62.1 topping the E500’s 59.9.

As a new owner is enjoying his or her car’s to perform, to impress and to flatter, must be hoping the car will prove capable of something helping to turn around a shaky reputation for quality and Owners’ ratings and reports dinged Mercedes products for not up to expectations, and that is obviously a the company has to reverse immediately. If the CLS four-door coupe can manage to that turnaround, the manufacturer be at least as pleased as the buyers are this indulgent new car.

Stereo Evaluation

System 9.0

Components: The premium Harman audio system available in the ($980 as a stand-alone option, in the $3,650 Premium Package) is exactly the same one offered in the sedan. We raved about it we last tested an E and it’s as good in the CLS. The key pieces are an head unit with an LCD and six-disc capability, a multichannel 12 speakers strategically arrayed the intimate cockpit, and a total output of 480 watts. The setup seven-channel surround-sound technology and buttons conveniently located on the wheel.

Performance: Audio doesn’t get much better this, in a car or in a home. Strong but lows, brilliant highs and vocals: it’s all here. The impression is surprisingly good, all seating positions.

We have before about the buttons control this system, and we changed our minds. Many of are labeled by adjacent text in the panel, and that can require eyes-down concentration than we in a moving vehicle. Mercedes has the ergos to an extent by putting functions on steering wheel and some readouts in another in front of the driver. But it still fussier than necessary.

Feature: Power with

Worst Feature: Awkward

Conclusion: Once it’s set and your favorite selections, is true audio bliss. Smith

Second Opinion

in Chief Karl Brauer

My first experience with the new CLS when driving in the mountains California’s southern coast. As it looked good, handled offered a comfortable ride and plenty of go-power. I remember OK, so it’s a Mercedes-Benz sedan a creative roofline. That’s not a bad thing, but it’s not really either. I liked the car, but I the S-Class and E-Class, too, and to those models this one (to a small degree) compromise and visibility for the sake of style.


Then I drove it at our test where the car’s sporty was backed up by a 6.2-second 0-to-60 and repeated braking distances 60 mph of less than 120 feet a 4,000-pound-plus curb weight. has a history of hiding its luxury heft when it comes to and braking, but the CLS seemed a cut above its in this department. And setting its suspension to Sport 2 mode the CLS to weave through the slalom absolute confidence.

Mercedes-Benz CLS 500

Of course, a comfortable, luxurious, confidently luxury sedan with a roofline still isn’t but it is a claim Mercedes’ biggest can’t make anymore, and alone gives the Benz an upper hand in this

Me? I’m anxiously awaiting time in the AMG version.

Senior Scott Oldham says:

I was home last night a child of five convinced me the CLS is so cool it will become a fide E-Classic.

I was in the Benz, out a red light at the intersection of Venice and He was on the crosswalk coming from my and holding his mother’s hand. I noticed him, he was already at the CLS. He looked like do when they find father’s Playboy in the garage.

I saw his dance along the car’s flank. I watched them the artful crease that its length, and linger at each fat wheel. I saw the CLS’ radical and muscular stance take of him much like the lines of a Daytona did to me 30 years ago.

By the he was passing between the car’s his pace had slowed, his mouth slightly open and his eyes had themselves to the large chrome star in its grille.

That’s his mom gave his arm a yank, pulling him up on the and freeing him of the trance. He looked at me for the time. Our eyes met and we smiled.

The entire encounter lasted 5 or 6 seconds, but that boy will that moment and lust a CLS forever.

When a car has that of impact, who cares if the controls of its system could be more

Senior Content Editor Riches says:

Park an sedan in an American driveway and away your neighbors you’ve got style, prestige and But travel around Europe and not uncommon to see this car in taxi That’s a lot of emotional ground for any car to So it’s not surprising that has created a second midsize with body lines too to qualify it for livery duty.

The sweeping curves hint at the of the car underneath the CLS handles with grace and dresses with sophistication than the E.

Out on some roads, our CLS500 spoke to me a warmth I’ve never from an E500. Even on its damper setting, it kept the comfortable, yet as soon as its sensors cornering forces, it tightened up and through turns with composure. The weighting and quickness of the were perfect for the task, though the driver-to-pavement synapse of BMW feel eludes Mercedes. And has to be the best set of electrohydraulic brakes in a to date our test car’s had a near natural feel to it.

the dash suggestively wraps the front occupants, while details are everywhere you look. At the time, it’s actually a practical layout with designed storage areas and than any E- or S-Class. Yet, I was a disappointed by the materials. The stitched on top of the dash is quite nice, but in a car lavish furnishings are supposed to for a small backseat, I would expected suede rather polyester on the pillars and headliner.

from this letdown, the CLS is, too many Benzes, an expensive car easy to love. I think take a BMW 645Ci first, but if you the extra pair of doors, bother trying to resist.

Consumer Commentary

I remember times that a client has torn between the S- or E-Class need, and the CLK- or CL-Class keep walking back to. The CLS is a hybrid of those two types of along with a higher-than-normal Mercedes) amount of ‘look at factor. I think we’ll more 6 Series business from BMW than we’ll in sedan sales of our own. March 7, 2005

Finally got to see one of on the road today. WOW! The Mercedes that makes of a statement is the SLR. This is outta here gorgeous. I the car turned out of a gas station onto the and shot forward an exotic-looking four-door. Who would have thought? Merc1, March 23,

I brought my 2000 E320 in for today, and strolled over to the to see a CLS500 (and 55) in person, and sat in The car was more impressive-looking than I It definitely has the look and feel of a car, albeit with doors and 195 inches of length. in was somewhat of a chore, but not quite as bad as I had Sitting in it, again, feels sitting in a sports car, a sports car. To me the CLS is a kind of and it’s the perfect timing for me. I of want a sports car, a which my wife nixed severely. But she likes Mercedes in and the CLS specifically, so it’s my chance to get a car and not wind up divorced. Wbreaux1, 23, 2005

Mercedes-Benz CLS 500
Mercedes-Benz CLS 500

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