Our cars: Mercedes CLS - April
Week ending April 20
Driven this week 1055 miles
Mercedes-Benz CLS review
The Merc CLS's service indicator light is still showing that there is more than 2000 miles to go before it needs an oil change. However, I know that it's going to be undertaking at least one European trip in the next couple of weeks, so I thought it would be prudent to book it in nice and early.
Our local Mercedes dealer has a handy online booking service, which only requires you to input your registration number and mileage and then lets you pick a date. Sadly, it didn't seem to be working for me, so I called the helpline.
I was glad that I did because the service was impeccable and the guy on the other end of the phone was tremendously helpful. To the extent that he recommended a dealer that was slightly further away but would be prepared to pick up our CLS – rather than paying a visit.
The upshot is that we're booked in at the beginning of May at Mercedes Benz World in Brooklands, Surrey. The downside is that it's going to cost £285. That's a bit pricier than the £230 we've just forked out for a 16,000 mile service on our Jag XF 2.2D. But MB World is also promising a valet and that delivery service is handy. I'll let you know if it's been worth it.
Week ending April 13
Driven this week: 325 miles
I’ve spent too much time being stuck in traffic recently - but correspondingly have also had plenty of time to assess the Merc’s optional infotainment system.
So how does it rate next to rivals? Well I’d take it over the touch-screen systems of our long-term Jaguar XF and Range Rover Evoque that’s for sure. Even though it feels half a generation behind the latest systems on the BMW 5-series and Audi A6, it still feels on the pace.
I particularly like the way the Merc’s control wheel - mounted in between the seats - feels and. with a little practice, it’s easy to use without taking your eyes of the road. Flitting between, say, radio or iPod - or making a hands free call - is extremely easy.
The optional upgraded stereo sounds good, too, whether it’s Radio 4 or the Red Hot Chili Peppers, and when you’re in radio mode the old fashioned side scrolling ‘radiogram’ graphics look good and makes it easy to change channels.
Downsides are that rivals now have larger and clearer screens and it doesn’t totally replicate iPod or smartphone functionality.
The new A-Class is going to get a whizzy new infotainment package, apparently - it would be good if Merc was able to upgrade its more upmarket cars accordingly.
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