2016 Mercedes-Benz CLS-Class Introduction


Inside and out, the shapely Mercedes-Benz CLS midsize four-door not only looks great, it exudes a virtually timeless appeal. With the CLS, the German automaker helped popularize what’s been called the modern four-door coupe design phenomenon. That is, a four-door sedan with a sloping roofline resembling that of a stylish two-door coupe.

Little has changed since a significant revamp for the 2012 model year. During 2016, Mercedes-Benz has been gradually making its excellent 9-speed automatic transmission standard equipment, starting with the V8-powered CLS550.

Mercedes-Benz also offers a CLS400 with a V6 engine, plus a super-powered AMG CLS63 S that promises startling performance and handling qualities. A new Night Package for the AMG model blacks out some chrome trim.

All powertrains are potent and capable. The Mercedes-Benz CLS400 gets a 3.0-liter twin-turbocharged V6 engine rated at 329 horsepower and 354 pound-feet of torque. A brisk performer, the CLS400 never lags in traffic, and passes easily at any speed.

The Mercedes-Benz CLS550 uses the familiar 4.6-liter twin-turbocharged V8, here developing 402 horsepower and 443 pound-feet, yielding even more vigorous acceleration.

Both CLS versions come with either rear-wheel drive or 4MATIC all-wheel drive.

The Mercedes-Benz AMG CLS63 S 4MATIC features a twin-turbo 5.5-liter V8 that cranks out 577 horsepower and all-wheel drive to tame the beast.

Initially installed only in rear-drive CLS550 models, the 9-speed automatic transmission goes into 2016 CLS 4MATIC versions as well. For now, at least, the CLS400 retains a 7-speed automatic. So does the AMG model.

Mercedes-Benz’s latest interior design theme looks great in the CLS, enveloped in luxurious leathers and woods, seamlessly melding classic and high-tech themes. The large, luxurious cabin blends with its exquisite body, potent powertrains, and high-tech features. On the other hand, back-seat headroom is somewhat tight, at least for taller riders.

Standard equipment includes the Mercedes-Benz Audio 20 CD system, with Bluetooth audio streaming, satellite radio, a Gracenote music database, plus 10 GB of hard-drive music storage. Upgrades include a 610-watt, 14-speaker harman/kardon LOGIC7 surround-sound system, and a costly Bang & Olufsen setup.

The CLS has not been crash-tested by either federal safety officials or the independent Insurance Institute for Highway Safety.

Mercedes-Benz invariably provides abundant technology, much of it safety-related. Plenty of entertainment, information, and safety features are included or available. Mercedes-Benz’s COMAND system, with an 8-inch color display, is not universally acclaimed.

Base MSRP excludes transportation and handling charges, destination charges, taxes, title, registration, preparation and documentary fees, tags, labor and installation charges, insurance, and optional equipment, products, packages and accessories. Options, model availability and actual dealer price may vary. See dealer for details, costs and terms.

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