- Stylish design
- Comfortable and refined
- High-spec interior
- Only room for four
- More expensive than some rivals
- Limited rear visibility
Stylish four-seater coupe is still the class-leader
When Mercedes first introduced the CLS back in 2005, it was met with wide applause from motoring journalists. Now in its second generation, the CLS continues to win plaudits. Combining the sleek styling of a sports coupe, with the practicality of a four-door saloon, the CLS really is the best of both worlds. It’s little wonder why the CLS is such a desirable car to own in the UK. Also coming with a lengthy equipment list, featuring a high quality interior, and some punchy engines, there’s very little to fault with the CLS. It may be more expensive to buy than standard saloons from new, but with so many quality used CLSs on the market, you can have all the luxury that the CLS has to offer, without the added cost.
High quality cabin, generous equipment, and plenty of space.
Step inside a CLS and you’ll be immediately struck by the sheer quality on show. High grade materials and exceptional build quality are both on show, whilst the sizeable boot, and generous equipment list make the CLS as practical as it is luxurious.
The dashboard design of the CLS is pretty similar to that which you’d find in a Mercedes E-Class saloon, but with a few noticeable differences. The driving position is lower, and there are some lovely chrome flourishes on the instruments. As you’d expect from a Mercedes, material quality is excellent, with soft touch materials, and leather adorning every area. Build quality is also fantastic, and the CLS really feels like it’s built to last. Controls are also simple and easy to use, so not only does it look and feel great, it won’t take you too long to get familiar with the CLS.
You would think that in a coupe practicality would be limited, but that isn’t the case with the CLS. The 520 litre boot capacity is more than generous, and there should be plenty of room for a big family shop, or even a full set of golf clubs. Inside there’s a surprising amount of room in the rear seats, with enough head and legroom, even for those over six foot. One downside is that there’s only two seats in the back, but for most buyers, this won’t be too much of an issue.
No matter which model of CLS you buy, you’re going to get a lengthy equipment list. Even the entry-level AMG Line trim comes with dual-zone climate control, leather upholstery, cruise control, electric seats, sat nav, DAB radio, and Bluetooth connectivity. For most buyers this will be enough, though features such as 360͐ degree camera are available with higher spec models.
All in all the inside of the CLS really is top class. The cabin is stylish, well-built, and has a premium feel that few cars can match. And whilst there’s only room for two in the back, there’s ample storage space, and more equipment than you can shake a stick at.
A good balance of driveability and comfort.
For a car that looks as sporty as the CLS, you would expect it to be fun to drive out on the open road. Thankfully, this is the case. It does depend however on which suspension setup you go for, though the standard sport suspension is arguably the best of the bunch. It handles sharply, there’s plenty of grip through the corners, whilst there’s decent feedback from the steering. It’s not as fun to drive as a Porsche Panamera, but few people will have many complaints once they’re behind the wheel of a CLS.
Suspension and Chassis
Comfort and refinement are one of Mercedes’ strong points, and it shines through in the CLS. This again depends on which suspension setup you go for. The standard sports suspension can jump around over particularly poor surfaces, so if you’re really interested in smoothness the best options are the comfort suspension, or the optional air suspension. The air suspension in particular offers sublime comfort, making it a great car for long distance motorway journeys. There’s not a lot of noise at speed either, with only minor wind buzz from the wing mirrors.
Gearbox options in the CLS come in two guises. Both options are twin-clutch automatics, with the seven speed being the most common across the range. It’s smooth, relaxed gearchange is one of the best we’ve come across, whilst it still reacts quickly if you need a sudden burst of acceleration. A nine speed is also found on the CLS 350 BlueTEC model, and it’s arguably even better.
A solid range of punchy petrol and diesel engines.
When it comes to deciding how you want to power your CLS, you’ve got the usual two options: petrol, or diesel. Most buyers will want to go for one of the diesels as they offer greater fuel efficiency, and lower running costs, though the high speed petrols are sure to put a smile on the face of any petrolhead.
If it’s speed and power that you want from your CLS the standout option in the range is the petrol-powered CLS 63 AMG model. With an astonishing 585bhp under the bonnet, your CLS will accelerate from 0-62mph in an incredible 4.1 seconds. It is more expensive to run than the rest of the range, though this won’t be an issue for true petrolheads. The diesel-powered CLS 350d is a better option for speed freaks on a budget, thanks to lower emissions, and greater fuel economy, though it still manages a 0-62mph time of just 6.5 seconds.
Eco-friendly buyers probably won’t be looking at four seater coupes as their car of choice, but there are some decent options on offer in the CLS range. The best is undoubtedly the diesel-powered 220d, which produces 129g/km of CO2. It’s not as impressive as some other executive saloons, but it’s not especially bad. This model also happens to be the best for money-savers. With fuel economy claimed to be at 57.7mpg, you won’t be spending too much money at the service station each month.
Whichever engine you choose to go for in your CLS, you’re not going to be disappointed. In our eyes the CLS 220d and the CLS 350d are the best on offer, though true petrolheads will obviously have their heads turned by the eye-wateringly quick CLS 63 AMG model.
Not yet tested by NCAP, but impressive standard safety kit.
Though the CLS hasn’t yet been tested by NCAP, it is based on the same platform as the Mercedes E-Class, so we would assume that it would yield pretty similar results. The E-Class managed to attain a full 5-star rating, so it’s safe to say that the CLS is a safe car for both you and your family. This is supported when you check out the long list of safety equipment that comes as standard. All models come with eight airbags, electronic stability control, and traction control, as well as a range of electronic safety assists. You really can feel safe behind the wheel of a CLS.
Good value for money, if you avoid the cost of new-car depreciation
The Mercedes CLS represents decent value for money for executive car buyers. From new, it does cost more to buy than a conventional executive saloon, but buy a nearly new or used example and this cost is negated. Running costs depend on which model you go for, but the two diesel engines offer the lowest tax bills and the best fuel economy, so if you want to save yourself even more money, go for the CLS 220d, or the CLS 350d.
Insurance costs for the CLS again depend on which model you choose to go for. Though insurance will never be cheap for a CLS, rates shouldn’t be too much higher than a conventional executive saloon. The range starts in group 39 for the CLS 220d AMG Line model, and range up to the maximum group 50 for the CLS 63 AMG.
Depreciation is a large factor with the Mercedes CLS, but only if you choose to buy from new. With first year depreciation as high as 40%, you’re better off opting for an inspected used equivalent.
If you want the style of a coupe, with the practicality and luxury of an executive saloon, the Mercedes CLS is one of the best cars that money can buy. It’s attractive styling, high-spec interior, and superb driving experience make it an almost complete car. It does cost a bit more to run than some of its rivals, but if you go for a used model, you can save yourself plenty of money off the RRP.
Buying a used Mercedes CLS online with Carspring
If you’re after a used Mercedes CLS for sale, it can all feel like a bit of an ordeal. What, with long days spent around gigantic car supermarkets, or time spent trawling through classified websites, looking for that ideal used CLS. Carspring makes it simple. Buy your next used Mercedes CLS online with the touch of a button. Simply decide on the model you want and choose how you want to pay.
Looking to finance your used Mercedes? Not a problem, we work with our carefully selected finance partners to ensure that, if you’re paying monthly for your used Mercedes CLS, you know you’re getting the best rates. What’s more, with any Carspring used CLS, you also get our 14-day money-back guarantee and 6 months’ free Warranty. Plus, you don’t have to leave your home. We’ll deliver your used Mercedes to you at a time and place of your choice.
*This is an approximate figure based on the range of the car’s list price and the AA’s average 1st-year depreciation cost of 40%.