The Mercedes CLS is one of the first saloon cars ever that copied the looks of a sports coupe and was successful in doing so. Being built on the E-class platform means that the car has got a good foundation. But how good is it to drive?
That sloping roofline at the rear, the long bonnet along with the big grille and big rear overhang give this car plenty of street cred, which few rivals can match. The new one looks meaner, leaner and more macho then before. The sheer size of this car also adds to its impressive personality and gives it plenty of street presence. While the car is available in other colours, the CLS looks particularly appealing in this shade of deep royal blue.
Even though the CLS is built on the E class, the interiors are more in the S-class territory both in terms of feel as well as design. The exquisitely crafted dashboard is made from the best materials and there is little to fault with it. The seats are supportive, and the front ones have good bolstering on the sides to hold you in position when you are pushing the car around corners. There are plenty of places to keep your odds and ends at including a huge box between the front passengers.
Space is good in the back as well. Despite a sloping roof at the rear, headroom is decent and even taller passengers will have adequate room to sit upright. But the rear offers only two seats. There is a partition in the centre which means even kids can’t sit there. Apart from this little irritant the CLS is great for comfort.
Engine, performance and gearbox
The car we drove came with a 2.2-litre diesel that develops around 204bhp of power and 500Nm of torque. These are generous figures considering that it is a relatively small motor. The best part about the engine is its refinement and despite being a diesel, it can shame many a petrol motor for sheer quietness inside the cabin. The engine revs all the way to its redline without any fuss while remaining unobtrusive inside the cabin. Mercedes claim a sub 8 seconds time for 0-100kph. The gearbox is a seven-speed automatic unit, with flappy paddles behind the steering wheel for more driver involvement. Gearshifts are smooth, quick and effortless both on the upshifts as well as downshifts.
Ride and handling
High speed stability is really commendable for the CLS, but where it excels is in quick lane changes, considering it is such a big and bulky car. The steering is full of feel and very well weighted. It is als very accurate no matter what the speeds. Body roll is non-existent when you push this car into a sharp corner. What all that means is, that the CLS is a gem of a car to drive. There is a harsh edge to the ride at slower city speeds but it’s something you can live with thanks to the fact that handling is superb.
Safety and features
You get a total of six airbags including driver, front passenger, side front airbags and side rear airbags. Anti-lock Braking system (ABS), Electronic Brake Distribution (EBD), Electronic Braking System (EBS) and Anti-Slip Regulation (ASR) are standard kit as is traction control. The car also gets three zone climate control and Bluetooth connectivity for the stereo.
If you want a luxury car that stands out from the rest and are lucky enough to have around Rs 80 lakh around, then the CLS is the best option out there. It’s a classy four-seater with a large boot and brilliant ride.