On sale: March 2018 Price from £57,000 (est)
So, you like what the Mercedes S-Class luxury saloon has to offer, but at the same time you wish it cheaper and a little less... saloon-shaped? Not a problem, because the Mercedes CLS is designed with you in mind. It's a luxurious, low-slung four-door coupé whose rivals include the Audi A7, Porsche Panamera and BMW's 6 Series Gran Coupé.
And we like the current car a lot – it's stylish and comfortable, good to drive and able to deliver passengers to the French Riviera still feeling fresh. It's an expensive choice, yes, but that won't be a major concern for many buyers in this market. Despite all that, though, having been on sale since 2011 the current car is beginning to show its age, which is why Mercedes is releasing this all-new CLS.
This third-generation model will be produced as a saloon only, putting an end to the CLS Shooting Brake Estate which was introduced in 2012. It's heavily based on the latest E-Class, and is marginally longer, wider and taller than the car it replaces. It also has more space between its front and rear axles, which should result in more rear leg room – as well as providing better access to the rear seats.
2018 Mercedes CLS interior
If you've spent time inside the latest E-Class, then the interior of the CLS will be very familiar to you. Front and centre is the new widescreen cockpit display – made up of two 12.3in screens, with the central screen given over to infotainment and navigation while the right acts as a virtual instrument cluster. As standard, though, the CLS comes with only one 12.3in screen.
There's also a new multi-function steering wheel borrowed from the S-Class, complete with touch-sensitive pads for controlling the COMAND infotainment system.
Also new is a third rear seat, meaning you can carry five people in the CLS for the first time. There's no change in luggage capacity, at 520 litres, meaning it should take a couple of suitcases without any trouble.
2018 Mercedes CLS engines
There are three engines to choose from at launch, with most buyers likely to head straight for the entry-level diesel option, the 350d. This is the same engine we recommend in the current CLS, and it produces 282bhp – enough to get the CLS to 62mph from a standing start in 5.7 seconds. Official fuel economy is rated at 50.4mpg, with CO2 emissions of 148g/km.
Drivers wanting a faster 0-62mph sprint time can opt for the more powerful 400d diesel, which produces 335bhp with no drop in fuel economy or CO2 emissions.
The sole petrol option at launch is the 450. This 3.0-litre petrol engine is coupled to a mild hybrid electric motor, which gives you a small boost in power when pulling away from traffic lights. The two power sources produce 384bhp, giving a 0-62mph time of 4.8 seconds, making this the fastest CLS for the time being.
We say for the time being, because we know that Mercedes' performance car division, Mercedes-AMG, is planning to build a hot version of the CLS, to be called the CLS53. That car is likely to be shown during next January's Detroit motor show, and will feature a mild hybrid powertrain with as much as 450bhp.
Further engine options, the 350 petrol and 300d diesel, will arrive after the car's launch. All CLSs sold at launch come with four-wheel drive as standard.
2018 Mercedes CLS equipment
Mercedes hasn't said what equipment comes as standard on the new CLS, but it's expected to include heated leather seats, leather trim and sat-nav. Available safety kit includes automatic emergency braking, lane-keeping asisstance and a driver drowsiness monitor. Mercedes' usual array of convenience systems, including adaptive cruise control and blind spot monitoring, are also on the options list.
2018 Mercedes CLS price
With an estimated starting price of £57,000, the new CLS is considerably more expensive than the current car, but it will still cost you substantially less than rivals from BMW, Audi and Porsche.
A cheaper four-cylinder version of the CLS will go on sale soon after the car's launch, too, bringing that price down a little. Don't expect to be able to haggle a significant discount for the time being, though.
Want a luxury motor which won't break the bank? These used examples are all about comfort, and none will cost you more than £10,000.
Best used luxury cars for less than £10,000
It may look a little like a puffed-up Passat, but the understated Phaeton is a genuinely impressive luxury limo, packed full of Volkswagen’s best technology. It’s large and exquisitely made. But the real star of the show is the lavish and spacious interior, which is rammed with kit and features amazingly comfortable leather seats. It’s an iron fist in a velvet glove, in a way, because it’s good to drive and, in this 3.0-litre diesel V6 form, even reasonably economical.
9. Lexus LS
This generation Lexus LS succeeds in exactly the same way the very first one succeeded in 1989 – it’s a luxury machine that does a splendid – perhaps even unparalleled – job of protecting its occupants from the outside world. If its quietness and soothing ride don’t win you over, its interior quality will. It’s loaded with kit, too, as well as all the high-tech paraphernalia you could possibly need or even want. That such refinement could now be yours for well under £10k makes the big Lexus a remarkably tempting proposition.
8. BMW 7 Series
For our £10k limit, you’re looking at a very good example of the fourth-generation 7 Series – a car that, like most of its previous generations, is almost synonymous with luxury limo-motoring and driving pleasure. At the time, its styling was so modern as to be quite controversial; but in this 730d version, the most popular option, you get an enticing blend of performance and economy, not to mention all the latest tech and plenty of goodies.