Review 2012 Mercedes CLS 550 | The Truth About Cars

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Mercedes-Benz CLS 350 AT Base

Review: 2012 Mercedes CLS 550

By L. Dykes on December 18, 2011

I the novelty of a new design as much as the guy, but have never the four-door-coupé. I mean, aren’t terms mutually exclusive? A can’t have four and a car with four doors be a coupé? Mercedes started conundrum with the CLS back in and then Volkswagen decided to on the bandwagon to bolster Passat with the CC in 2008. It was only a of time before VAG decided to with the CLS head on with the A7. all, Audi has had model for years, and if they are to stay on with world domination, need to attack the mainline at every body style. Not one to on laurels, Mercedes has redesigned the CLS for Michael Karesh wrangled an A7 out of back in July. and Mercedes let me theirs for a week. Let’s see if the CLS has it takes to reign supreme in extremely small niche.

The new like the outgoing model is a Mercedes E-Class styling From the outside, the new CLS is larger its predecessor by an inch in almost dimension. Mercedes’ new love of mixed with curves is an blend of Bentley, Jaguar XJ and “a lot” of old CLS. When the old CLS was back in 2004, I thought to “it looks like it was laid,” and I thinking about eggs. The new sheet metal strikes an pose from almost any but the rear end still looks a bit On the bright side, the all-LED look like they pierce your soul; and what I want in a German The Audi A7 on the other hand is boring in comparison. Sure, the A7 the R8’s haunches, but the front is pedestrian A3/A4/A5/A6/A8/A-insert-your-number-here.

Flamers, get your torches Let’s dive into the “Got headroom?” No, headroom in the is far from impressive, but who cares? is a coupé after all, so the seats have little on my impression of the car. Please that the primary mission of the coupé is not to carry four in it is to carry four “when As a result, both the A7 and CLS “suffer” limited headroom in the back, but are those seats really Not the kids. No, the seats are for business where you jam someone in the back for a trip to Il Forniao and wow them your car’s acceleration. The CLS this task with the A7 however feels flustered. on that in a bit.

Despite the CLS above the E, the majority of the interior and pieces are pinched from the E than the more expensive S, the E’s fairly small COMMAND and controls. Also lifted the E are the steering wheel, seat and window switches. Thankfully borrowed only the high-rent for use in the CLS. The snazzy switchgear with the stitched dashboard to the CLS interior a considerable improvement the E’s haphazard fit and finish. The A7 on the other seems to borrow more from the A8 than the A6 with an that is top-notch, decidedly modern and perhaps even German than the Mercedes..

that flustered A7, here’s the Audi may have decided to with the CLS head-on in terms of and exterior design, but (in the American at least) the engine specs the table heavily in Mercedes’ This is because under the of the CLS550 beats the same 4.6L twin-turbo V8 as the CL550 we back in September. The new M278 uses lightweight aluminum direct-injection, variable valve and twin intercooled turbochargers up to 12.9psi of boost) to paradoxically horsepower by 5% to 402 HP, torque by 14% to 443 lb-ft reducing fuel consumption and CO2 by some 20%. Not a bad trade The A7 on the other hand has yet to be blessed the long rumored VAG turbo V8, the only model currently in the USA the 3.0TFSI trim which a 3.0L 90-degree V6 mated to a to yield an impressive (yet in comparison) 310 HP and 325 lb-ft.  When you into account the A7 Quattro’s curb weight of 4,210lbs vs for the RWD CLS, you would be right in this big Benz is a rocket (When equipped with AWD, as was our tester, the weight to a not-too-crazy 4,268lbs.)

While the Audi A7 uses the ZF 8-speed transmission, Mercedes has to their tried-and-true in house 7-speed automatic. We can be thankful of two in regards to the 7-speed: it hunts far than the ZF 8-speed unit, and thankfully used a torque instead of a clutch ala some AMG products. If you opt for one of the AMG wheel packages ($760 or $1,260) Mercedes throw in a manual shift for your steering wheel Since the A7 comes only in guise on our shores, we requested the CLS in to get the comparison as even as possible. Out on the strip the A7’s 5.4 second time proved optimistic the car actually yielding 5.5-5.6 times. On paper this to compete well with the however, our 4Matic tester 4.3 second runs to 60 back-to-back heat soak only the times down to a maximum of 4.5 repeated runs. We were to test the RWD CLS550’s 0-60 ,but I don’t expect it to be higher for most drivers the reduced weight and loss; this much power, is your enemy. I should out that 4.3 seconds is faster a decent number of Mercedes’ model AMG products. Speaking of because the CLS63 AMG is RWD only, I was to get much lower than 4.2 during a brief flirt a dealer provided vehicle. Audi expected to release a charged V8 S7 at some point, tuned for a rematch.

Coupés are supposed to be all about driving on the windy roads of central coast. This is the differences in design between the A7 and CLS more apparent. The A7, much the A6 on which it is based, may now have a Quattro system, but design is front heavy. The combination of a nose and a two-foot larger make the A7 a chore to steer on the and questionably-cambered corners of Highway 1. The CLS on the hand may deliver less feel and a more compliant but the tendency to “plow” less leads to a decidedly reduced on roads where “plowing”  is  by a 400ft plunge into the ocean. How much does really matter? Not much for 99% of honestly. While the 1% may rave the CLS’ road manners, the 99% will probably find the air suspension seals the deal.

may be man’s best friend, but I’d a snazzy infotainment system any so would many luxury by all accounts. This is where the dressed, quick off the line CLS to the Audi in a big way. Sure, the has DistronicPlus cruise control, departure warning and a navigation The problem is COMMAND. It’s it’s slow, the screen is and the graphics haven’t been in some time. It is the first Rio MP3 player to Apple’s iPod Audi on the other hand has the A8’s large 8-inch resolution MMI system into the A7. I have to say the MMI system is far harder to than iDrive, it is still ahead of COMMAND. If ease of use is not to sway you, it also has the CLS on the graphics front. Audi that the BMWesque 3D topographic weren’t fancy enough and up with Google to put satellite on their maps that is updated via an embedded 3G cellular Also on offer is the ability to use massive database to search for and points of interest. The system very well if you are in a 3G coverage “eventually” if you are in a 2G area, and not at all if you are out in the middle of (which is apparently where I Fear not however, it is backed up by a hard drive based nav While this all sounds nobody was able to tell me how this Google connectivity cost me monthly and the MMI “finger pad” is about as useful as mouse doohickey. Read: give me some buttons.

Cargo capacity and rear accommodations are usually not a huge for two-door coupé shoppers, but the buyer may want to take a golfing someday. The CLS delivers a 15.3 cu ft which can easily clubs for four. The A7, as a hatchback, was with practicality in mind and 17.7cu ft with the cargo in place, 24 without, and thanks to folding rear seats and the design, it is possible to stuff a BBQ from Home Depot in the (I didn’t say it would close The CLS’s rear thrones fold (a $440 option), but the “hole” created by their is fairly small. Rear room is more of a mixed bag the trunk. Both the A7 and CLS deliver 36 of headroom out back but suffer rear seats that are a more reclined than you find in a sedan (this it seem bigger.) While the A7 provide 2-inches more leg room, because of the head is no larger than the CLS, it seem to help “normally-proportioned” people fit. If however passengers are all-legs, the A7 is your buy.

Mercedes-Benz CLS 350 AT Base

Buyers of $80,000 luxury still seem to care fuel economy, so let’s numbers. My daily commute is 53 one-way and involves 30% rural driving, 40% freeway at an average of 30% city streets and a 2,200ft pass. The CLS550 4Matic 641 miles averaged 22.2 on my commute and saw around 26MPG on a 40 trip on a level highway at the limit. The A7 in comparison averaged MPG over 860 miles and 33MPG on same level-highway trip. the CLS doesn’t deliver the frugality of the A7, I can it because of the extra hundred under the hood.

Our CLS550 a base price of $71,300, as ours was loaded with from 4Matic to LED headlamps, our out-the-door price was $82,765. A equipped E550 sedan cost $73,265 so the increase in costs CLS shoppers about The Audi A7 in comparison starts at but lacks the standard equipment the CLS posesses. Comparably equipped to our CLS an A7 would have rung in at or only about $4,000 (As Michael Karesh pointed the A7’s fashion penalty the A6 is $8,000.) Unless you are shopping for the (at which point you’d decided to just buy a regular the E550’s $4,000 premium the A7 and ho-hum infotainment system a small price to pay for the CLS550’s

You know the phrase: bigger is faster is better. Always. But is it? I’m the of shopper that a company Mercedes loves: I option the car up to the when I buy, and I always get the version available. Until With the CLS550’s twin-turbo under the hood, I do believe has outdone themselves and in the process their own AMG brand less The CLS is only a hair slower, and shod with similar handles almost as well as the AMG for considerably less cash. Is the AMG Yes. Nicer? Yes, is it enough to justify the premium? a tough sell for me. On the other the CLS550 is without a doubt the of the four-door coupé market.

provided the vehicle for our review, and one tank of gas.

Statistics as

0-60: 4.32 Seconds

1/4 12.7 Seconds @ 113 MPH

Mercedes-Benz CLS 350 AT Base
Mercedes-Benz CLS 350 AT Base


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