What's the used Mercedes CLS coupe like?
It might not look like so much of a trend-setter but the Mercedes-Benz CLS more or less invented the class of four-door coupe we now take pretty much for granted. Certainly, it was the first of them on the market, in 2004, with its rivals from Audi and BMW following soon after. It proved to be a success because it offered low-slung styling without the practicality disadvantage of a traditional two-door coupé.
On sale from 2011 to 2018, this second-generation CLS improved on the first in nearly every area, although some wondered if the styling had lost a little of its edge in the transition, being more aggressive but somehow less pure than the original car. It was available with a choice of efficient four-cylinder diesels, a larger and more refined V6 diesel, or petrol versions in V6 and high-performance V8 forms. It was based on the underpinnings of the contemporary E-Class, and joining the CLS club wasn't cheap, with most cars costing north of £50,000 new.
On the equipment front, there are two options - AMG Line, which is available on a majority of the range, while the CLS 63 S AMG gets its own trim level. The AMG Line trim endows the CLS with 19in alloy wheels, a sporty bodykit, a sport-tuned suspension, LED headlights and perforated front brake discs on the outside as standard, while inside there are heated front sports seats, alloy pedals, leather upholstery, DAB radio, EasyPack quick fold rear seats and Mercedes' Comand infotainment system.
Choose the only petrol in the range - the CLS 400 - and you would have got additional equipment thrown into the package, including an electric sunroof, reversing camera and keyless entry and go on the exterior, while electrically adjustable front seats and a Harman & Kardon stereo system are also installed inside. Those in need of more power can upgrade to the beasty 577bhp AMG-tuned CLS and not only do you get the charming 5.5-litre V8 under the bonnet, but there is also a beefy bodykit with a new front grille, spoiler and sports exhaust. Inside there's climate control, numerous AMG details and even a race timer.
On the road, the CLS has excellent road manners, with steering that is light and effortless – which makes parking what is quite a long car easy – yet still manages to be precise and reassuring at higher speeds. The ride depends upon which suspension option the car is fitted with; standard ‘sport’ suspension has a firm steel-sprung set-up, while ‘comfort’ suspension (a no-cost option when new) has steel springs with softer settings. Optional air suspension is the smoothest of the lot.
Due to the reduced height of the roofline, if you regularly carry taller passengers in the back, you might find that their heads come close or touch the rooflining. If this is the case, you might be better served buying a regular Mercedes E-Class, as there is more space in that car. Keep in mind, too, that the CLS only has space for four; there’s no central seat in the rear.
The interior is well made, though, with lots of dense, soft-touch plastics and even leather covering the top of the dashboard, and you had a choice of wood inserts and even carbonfibre trim on top-spec AMG cars. All of this gives the CLS an upmarket ambience that belies its very reasonable used prices.
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