For 2019, the Mercedes-Benz CLS returns in an all-new third generation format packaged in a larger size and integrating some neat mild hybrid technology. The unbelievably sexy four-door coupe is in a class by itself, successfully distancing itself from the also new A-Class sedan that was released earlier in the year.
Measuring 50.8 millimetres longer and 7.6 millimetres wider than the outgoing model, with a significantly stretched out wheelbase and 38.1 millimetre lower overall height, the exterior doesn’t bear much resemblance to the vehicle’s predecessor. Having driven the C Class just a week prior, this full-size sedan felt a little like piloting a land yacht.
I tested the AMG CLS 53 4MATIC+ all0-wheel drive variant, boasting the usual enhanced metallic-colour style cues such as the twin-blade grille, matching slatted air intake fins, chrome bumper splitter and dual twin high-gloss exhaust pipes out back wrapped in an aerodynamic apron. Massive standard 19-inch wheels (upgradeble to 20 inch) balance out the large body proportions.
Designers have done an excellent job blending together luxury and sport with the interior. The AMG Performance leather and suede steering wheel feels great in hand featuring grip thickness that’s just right. Like the C 43 I tested, there are easy-to-use touch buttons on the spokes to control menu commands via a flick of the thumb.
The extra mass of the CLS is obvious when pushing into corners, but people sitting up front aren’t phased thanks to active bolstering. Turn the wheel, and the seats react literally hugging passengers to keep them in place regardless of g-forces. Even after spending a week in the car I always get pleasantly surprised following the first aggressive manoeuvre of the drive.
Like the C 43, there’s a twin-turbocharged 3.0-litre V6 under the hood, mated to an AMG SPEEDSHIFT TCT 9G nine-speed automatic gearbox, here making 429 horsepower and 384 lb-ft of torque. A unique EQ Boost starter-alternator fitted between the engine and transmission provides an additional temporary 21 horsepower and 184 lb-ft during acceleration to effectively eliminate any turbo lag.
The innovation also supplies energy for the on-board 48-volt electrical system powering things like the water pump air conditioning compressor, shouldering the load that was previously supported by internal combustion. In addition to discernible fuel savings realized — during my evaluation of the vehicle I averaged 13.9 L/100 km in mixed city and highway conditions — there is a reduction in emissions.
Aside from the CLS, the AMG 53 series also encompasses the E-Class Coupe and Cabriolet.