Download video: 2005 Mercedes CLS 350 V6 Full Review,Start Up, Engine, and In Depth Tour
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Filmed by: Tomaž Kožar Jesenice
The 2010 Mercedes-Benz CLS ranks 7 out of 7 Super Luxury Cars. This ranking is based on our analysis of 50 published reviews and test drives of the Mercedes-Benz CLS, and our analysis of reliability and safety data.
The Mercedes-Benz CLS has sprouted imitators, but none of them have ever come close to catching it. It's a beautiful car, with a sweeping roofline and sports-car-like profile, yet has seating for four. It's as powerful and opulent as a super-luxury car should be. Its extraordinary shape forces compromises -- limited rear seat space and a small trunk -- but the automotive press doesn't care. For those who can afford to sacrifice a little practicality on the altar of style, the CLS has no peers.
Most automakers build just one flagship sedan to show off the best their designers can do. BMW, for instance, has the 7-Series. Audi has the A8. Lexus has the LS. The automotive press considers each the culmination of a company's talent. There is no feature those cars lack, they are among the most luxurious cars ever built, and most perform like sports cars half their size.
Mercedes, however, builds two. The S-Class fits the same description as the 7-Series or the A8. It's everything Mercedes engineers can do, in one car.
Then there is the CLS. It is as sumptuous as those cars, as quick, and as extravagantly expensive. But it has something they don't: a certain style that catches the imagination and won't let go. Its shape is its reason for being.
The automotive press gets a little crazy when it tries to describe this car. When it first appeared, Automobile Magazine called it "the sedan as sex object." Car and Driver said it had "the kind of good looks that make you feel like a junior-high kid all over again, sweating and stammering in the presence of true beauty." Even after six years on the road, those attitudes haven't faded. Reviewers say this is a car you buy because you're in love with it, even if it doesn't make much practical sense.
And it doesn't make much practical sense for many people. Its rear seat is nearly unusable if you carry adults on a regular basis. It has the smallest cargo capacity in its class. Most of its running gear can be found on the E-Class Sedan for a lot less money. Mercedes' recently redesigned S-Class and E-Class both offer safety equipment the CLS doesn't. The BMW 7-Series even outperforms it. Buyers in need of a full-size luxury sedan with space for four adults, or for everything today's families sometimes haul around, might be better off buying a Mercedes-Benz E-Class and pocketing the $20,000 they'd save.
But nothing else looks quite like a CLS does. And for some buyers, that argument wins.
This is the last year of the current CLS. An entirely new design has been spotting at Mercedes testing facilities, and is expected to reach showrooms for the 2011 model year. The Mercedes-Benz CLS is available in two trims: the standard CLS550 and the high-performance CLS63 AMG. The AMG model is reviewed separately.The 2010 CLS is too large and heavy to be a true performance car, but it almost pulls off the trick. The car's V8 engine, reviewers say, is equal to anything else available in a four-door car. Its adjustable air suspension, with three variable levels of stiffness, makes it as sporty as most buyers would want. A few reviewers say, however, that it's a bit too sporty, and doesn't offer the same comfortable cruising modes that most of its rivals doThe Mercedes-Benz CLS is so gorgeous that it launched its own segment of the automotive market. With a sweeping roofline, sharp character lines cut into the doors and an aggressive front fascia, it's somewhere between a sporty coupe and a luxury sedan. Mercedes calls it a "four-door coupe." Other automakers have begun building imitations of its sexy shape, but the automotive press still considers the original the best-looking of the bunch. Read More
CLS Interior - 7.4 (Good)
The passenger cabin of the 2010 CLS-Class is exceptionally luxurious and comfortable -- for those in the front seat. The rear-seat quarters, however, are too tight to realistically seat adults. Those who want Mercedes style and need to carry clients or co-workers will want to consider the E-Class or S-Class sedans. Some reviewers also complain that Mercedes' COMAND user-interface system is too complicate