Our cars: Mercedes CLS - July
Week ending July 20
Driven this week: 480 miles
Mercedes-Benz CLS review
Comfortable the CLS, isn't it? This is quite an obvious thing to say about a large executive saloon, but not many of them are quite as good as the Merc in my opinion. I've had plenty of opportunity to find out in the past week, too, because I've covered 480 miles in it, most of them without really feeling it, too. This is always the mark of an effortless car.
It's not just about the way it drives. Comfort in the driver's seat is excellent and I love the way the direct controls in front of you are easy to navigate and operate.
I'm a fan of the column shift gear selector as well. This is partly because it reminds me of driving round America with my dad in the 1980s, in a big Cadillac Seville. If there's an auto 'box why not have it on the column because it frees up space between the seats?
The real joy of the CLS and a masterstroke from Mercedes is the 250CDI engine. Not only is it refined, but I have been achieving figures ranging from 49.2 to the max of 61.9, which is outstanding for a car of this size. Would I consider the CLS over a bigger-engined E-Class for the same money? Absolutely.
Week ending July 13
Driven this week 424 miles
It was in my hands that the CLS went through the 20,000-mile mark, and the journey it was on was a perfect demonstration of its strengths.
I was en route to Blundell's School in Tiverton for a Fives tournament, and the trip was an after-work Friday-evening cruise to Devon. Inevitably that meant heavy traffic, but to make matters worse, it also included the deluge that had led to red flood alert warnings across the county.
Yet, even in that torrential rain, the CLS was never anything less than perfectly composed. It sat solidly on the motorway and coped ably with the torrents of water that were running down the more minor roads between the M5 and our hotel.
Overall, the car was perfect for my demands: the huge boot swallowed my sports gear as well as all the clothes that the 'changeable' weather forecast had forced myself and my girlfriend to take; the cabin was comfortable for the two of us over the three-hour drive each way; and, the stereo blasted out plenty of Cardiacs tunes from my iPhone to keep us entertained.
The icing on the cake was - as many of my colleagues have already reported - the car's fuel economy. My weekend involved almost 350 miles' driving ' - with a mixture of motorway cruising at either end and some general pootling around Tiverton in between, much of it in truly appalling conditions. Yet, at the end of it, the car's trip computer said the CLS had averaged more than 47mpg. Very impressive.
Chas's Mercedes CLS on video
Week ending July 6
Driven this week 120 miles
I ended up having to give a short lift to a couple of mates on my last day with the CLS earlier this week - and realised how well-judged this car is.
From the front seats, you see, Mercedes’ ‘four-door coupe’ feels, well, much like an E-Class: spacious, comfortable, composed. But try to fit two adults in the rear and you quickly realise the compromises made to give this car more stylish looks than those of Merc’s regular 5 Series rival.
That’s not to say that my chums felt unbearably uncomfortable in the back. But they were both glad that the journey was a short one; knee- and headroom would have been an issue if we’d been driving the length of the country.
This sounds a little negative, but it’s not, because this is exactly what the CLS should be: a more stylish alternative to the E-Class for those who only have to make sporadic use of the rear seats.
See what I mean? Beautifully judged. It’s going back quite soon, and it’ll be sorely missed.