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Home / Technology / 2019 Mercedes-Benz CLS450 First Drive Review: Fashion-forward

2019 Mercedes-Benz CLS450 First Drive Review: Fashion-forward



The
Mercedes-Benz CLS Class
has always stood as a flashing alternative to
E-class
since that shares its platform. Now in its third generation, the story remains the same, and while
CLS
can not be as visually over the top as in generations earlier, it stays more than a little flamboyant. And fortunately, everything that still barks has something bitten behind it.

We have already played in the variant earlier than 1

920900 Mercedes-AMG CLS53 so now it's time to focus on the CLS450 volume model. It's the more sedate version of the new CLS, to be sure. But do not worry, it's hardly a snooze party.

When is a coupe not a coupe?

When there is a four-door car. Despite
Mercedes-Benz
determined to call this a four-door coupe, it's just a sedan with a more steep raked rear roof. While it certainly makes the car more aggressive, it affects the rear seat headphone and the door, and just like in previous years things get a little tight on the back for higher passengers. The back seat has room for a third person, but they must be on the smaller side.

The third generation CLS carries Mercedes-Benz's latest design language. I really like the lack of curling and other distracting lines along the side. I'm also a big fan of the new triangular headlights, as well as the AMG look in front of the bumper that comes standard on all US spec CLS models, but the back seems a bit weak for me – it's like a negotiation version of
AMG GT
four doors coming soon. The strongest lines on the car are on the hood, which suggests the interesting new drive underneath it.

Mild hybrid but not too mild

All three variants of CLS available at launch – rear-wheel drive CLS450, all-wheel drive CLS450 4Matic and the sporty AMG CLS53 – carry Benz new straight-six 3.0-liter gas engine. Both CLS450 variants are rated at 362 horsepower and 369 pound feet with torque. The engine has a raspy little note to what the car is hustled evenly through the nine front gears, but the smartest part of the drive is working in full style.

CLS also has an electric motor located between the motor and the transmission connected to a 48 volt mild hybrid system with a 1 kWh lithium-ion battery. It gives up to 21 horsepower and 184 pound feet – enough to scoot the AWD CLS450 to 60 mph in 4.8 seconds, one tenth faster than the outgoing V8-powered CLS550. I have never noticed the electricity at work. Everything feels even at all times.

Electrical trickery is not limited to increasing performance. The lightweight hybrid layout also provides enhanced stop-start process, and the starter generator always brings the engine back to life with nary a shake in the body. In Eco mode, the hybrid system also releases the engine under runway and freeway, giving some green credentials.

On the road, the CLS450 feels complex, its standard non-air suspension suits discrepancies in the road and gives a steady ride that has made a great drive. Although the other 5-second scooter is sporty enough, it does not feel as nice as the AMG CLS53, thanks to number management.

Aside from a small meter on the cluster, you will be hard pressed to realize that it is a mild hybrid system at work.


Mercedes-Benz

Drivers and Passengers Technology

If you are willing to let the car take the steering wheel for a while, the new CLS class adopts many of the semi-autonomous driving aids seen on the flagship
S class
since. It can keep its position in traffic, track the flow and even help to change lanes. Mercedes has honey this technology for many years now, and it shows, driving the vehicle steadily to reduce the tedium I face in traffic. I also like that the controls for these systems have finally moved from a half hidden stem on the steering wheel to the wheel itself.

The car I drove is equipped with two 12.3-inch screens, the same as the E-Class and the S-Class. The left screen serves as the target class, while the right screen takes care of infotainment duties. CLS has the latest version of the outgoing COMAND system; Although it's not as flashy as the new MBUX debut on the A-Class, it's still a lot of capable of packing a 4G LTE Wi-Fi hotspot, Apple CarPlay, Android Auto, and built-in navigation. The screen is not touched, but it can be manipulated using thumb cushions on the steering wheel or the giant ring and pointer combination in the middle of the center console.

There is also plenty of smart technology on offer that focuses on creating a cozy atmosphere. 64-lit ambient lighting covers about every inch of the car, including the inside of the air valves, which change colors when adjusting the temperature. It is also this thing called Energizing Comfort, which lets you choose from different "moods" that adjusts all sorts of things – lighting, music, climate control, massage seats – to create a particular atmosphere. It's nice if it's a bit kitschy.

It's like a nightclub in Miami, except that the cover is way higher.


Mercedes-Benz

Down to brass bars

Fashion does not always have to make sense. It's the 2019 CLS class in a nutshell – there's a lot to enjoy and it will give the driver everything they are looking for. But there's an underlying weirdness, whether it's in the Energizing Comfort system or the backside that looks great, but makes the car a bit less usable. Sure, you can buy a standard E-Class, which has the most good goodies, but it will not make a statement like the CLS will.


Editor's Note: Roadshow accepts multiple-day loans from manufacturers to provide editorial reviews. All evaluated vehicle reviews are carried out on our turf and on our terms. However, for this feature, the manufacturer included travel and hotel costs. This is common in the automotive industry, as it is far more economical to send journalists to cars than to send cars to journalists.

Judges and opinions from Roadshow's editorial team are our own and we do not accept paid editorial content.


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