Our cars: Mercedes CLS - June
Week ending June 29
Driven this week 360 miles
Mercedes-Benz CLS review
With Mr Editor-in-chief Hallett playing around in his new BMW 3-Series, I chose the Mercedes CLS250 CDI for the annual trek south to the Goodwood Festival of Speed last weekend.
Its blend of a well-finished cabin and reasonably supple ride seemed a good combo for taking Mrs Mac towards the south coast. It still looks terrific, too - particularly after a (badly needed) wash.
Yet again, too, the CLS impressed with its fuel economy - but there's no doubt that on-off acceleration, as opposed to motorway cruising, is not its strongest suit.
The 250 CDI engine fades nicely into the background once you're up to speed, but through the twistier A-roads of Sussex and Surrey its slightly rorty note was a constant companion.
It's not perfect after all, then. But this remains a car that I could easily live with.
Chas's Mercedes CLS on video
Week ending June 22
Driven this week: 6250 miles
A glance over the recent weekly updates on the Mercedes CLS shows that it has spent most of its time running up and down the nation’s motorway network.
In the interest of fairness and a thorough testing, I took it on the most suburban trip I know – my 15-mile South London commute.
Not only was the stop/start system beautifully relaxing, not missing a beat once over the 30 miles home and back and firing up almost instantly every time, but I was most impressed with the ride.
My usual ride is the Alfa Romeo Giulietta, which has me wincing at the mere sight of a speed bump, but the CLS is a different matter. There is enough give in the suspension that you keep hold of your fillings, yet it is firm enough that there is no rebound once the rear wheels have left the hump.
Week ending June 15
Driven this week: 604 miles
I think I might have found my dream car, because I took the boss's Mercedes CLS last weekend and went away with my family. We were very impressed with its comfort and space; from the outside it looks a little on the small side, but once you climb in, it seats four people with ease.
I loved the dashboard design and my rear passengers had loads of legroom; they also liked the way the rear seats reclined back, allowing them to sit in two armchairs.
This car is built for comfort and long touring, but the jewel in the crown for me was the 250 CDI’s four-cylinder diesel engine, which was quiet and refined. Its fuel economy averaged between 49.9mpg and 54.2mpg on long journeys, making this version of the CLS very frugal indeed. It’s got to be the pick of the range – and one of the finest style-led executive saloons on the market.
Week ending June 8
Driven this week: 240 miles
It was our publisher Andrew who put me onto the idea of using our Merc's Distronic intelligent cruise control system. He borrowed the CLS for a trip to North Wales and came back raving about it.
So, a long motorway trip this past weekend gave me a chance to test it myself. I'm not normally an advocate of cruise control in the UK. I've used it often in Europe and in the US, but our roads are too crowded. I have to concede, though, that Distronic smoothes away most of the problems. Basically you set your speed and the distance that you want to keep from the car in front and it does the rest.
Granted, it took me quite a long time to learn to trust that it was going to brake on my behalf and it really isn't useful in super-crowded conditions, but for a lot of my motorway travels it works fine. Keeping a constant speed and distance is good practice to save fuel, too.
Week ending June 1
Driven this week: 250
The summer has arrived, and the CLS's cabin is warming up nicely. With temperatures rocketing to 27 degrees in the What Car? car park, it's worth opening the doors for a minute or two to let the (mainly black) cabin cool down before entering.
Even that won't protect your fingers if you need to quickly input a destination in the sat-nav, though. The rotary dial that controls the Merc's Comand system was sizzling merrily when I got into the car the other day; it feels like you could fry an egg on top of it; I've never used a system so rapidly or with such a delicate touch.
At least the air-con is solid enough; even on hot days it can cool the cabin to bearable levels within about 10 minutes.