Mercedes-Benz created a new vehicle segment in 2003 with its CLS, a vehicle that combined the elegance and dynamic feel of a coupe with the comfort and functionality of a sedan for the first time. It quickly became a design icon.
Fast forward some 16 years and my most recent tester, the third-generation 2019 Mercedes-Benz CLS450 4MATIC Coupe. Like its predecessors, the new CLS exudes self-assured sportiness in exemplary style – a highly emotional vehicle offering impressive long-distance and acoustic comfort coupled with thrilling, unrivaled technology. Additionally, the all-new four-door coupe seats five passengers for the first time.
“The new CLS is a design icon as the archetype of the four-door coupe. In line with our hot and cool design philosophy, we have reduced its DNA to an extremely puristic level while emotionally charging its beauty,” says Gorden Wagener, chief design officer, Daimler AG.
Striking front-end features include the diamond grille typical of Mercedes-Benz coupes, with a single louver. The silhouette of the radiator grille widens toward the base, resembling the contours of the grille on the Mercedes-AMG GT. The hood is completely surrounded by body surfaces. The very flat and wide headlamps, with inward-slanting flanks, dynamically follow the contour of the grille.
It is stunning. But looks only get you so far when that car is priced at close to six-figures.
The CLS450 is powered by an all-new, in-line, six-cylinder engine that delivers 362 horsepower, in addition to a 21-horsepower boost from the integrated starter-generator. Mated to a nine-speed automatic transmission, it also cranks out 369 lb.-ft. of torque along with the confidence permanent all-wheel drive delivers.
As previously mentioned, the CLS450 seats up to five adults with the ease of four-door ingress – and all the comfort one can imagine. It receives an EPA rating of 30 miles per gallon down the highway and a combined city/highway rating of 26.
Fully equipped with standard features at $71,700 – my tester added 22 line-item options to place this Mercedes in a league of its own. Detail has run amok, to the nth degree. Items like soft-close doors ($550), air purification and fragrance system ($550) and heated rear seats ($580) illustrate my point.
My tester included eight different optional packages: Acoustic comfort, premium, exterior lighting, AMG line, warmth and comfort, energizing comfort, parking assistance and drive assistance adding $8,760 to the bottom line.
The driver assistance package includes an extra-long list of safety features including active distance assist, active steering assist, active lane-change assist, active emergency-stop assist, active speed-limit assist, active brake assist with cross-traffic function, evasive steering assist, active lane-keeping assist, active blind-spot assist, rear-end collision protection and route-based speed adaptation.
If you get the feeling the CLS450 could drive itself – it won’t be long.
The creature comforts that turned my crank were Apple CarPlay, Burmester high-end 3D surround-sound system, choice of 64 different ambient colors and power sunroof. The simple stuff for a simple guy.
All that said, the CLS450 is a technological wonder – and I still like it. I just needed more than seven days to figure everything out!
Base Price: $72,695
Price As Driven: $95,590
Destination charge is included in base price. Vehicles are provided by the manufacturer. List price may vary at local dealerships.