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2018 Mercedes-Benz CLS 450 Coupe 4Matic – Car Review – A much slicker sedan

2018 Mercedes-Benz CLS 450 Coupe 4Matic – Car Review – A much slicker sedan

Four door coupes, they are really not my thing. When you look up the definitions of a coupe you find that it revolves around two doors. Maybe I am old fashioned, but I still feel that if you want a coupe it should have 2 doors, not 4.

As you can imagine, the 4 door CLS Coupe would be an interesting review for me.

The Range

There is only one model available in the CLS range for New Zealand, the CLS 450 Coupe 4Matic. This model is available from $157,890 and comes with a 3.0-litre 6-cylinder turbocharged engine. This engine produces 270kW of power and 500Nm of torque.

Having only one model for the New Zealand market means that the brand tends to make it a good one, with a decent selection of standard and optional extras. The CLS comes with a staggering array of standard options. For the interior features you get, AIR-BALANCE climate control system, ambient interior lighting with 64 different colours, AMG Interior, COMAND Online Infotainment system, Burmester surround sound system with 13 speakers, 9-channel DSP amplifier & 590 watt output, DAB+ digital radio, electrically operated park brake, ENERGIZING Comfort control, glove compartment lockable air-conditioned and illuminated, Head-up display with virtual image windscreen projection, heated front seats, memory function with 3 settings for all front seat adjustments & exterior mirrors, multi-function sports steering wheel in Nappa Leather, roof liner in black, SPEEDTRONIC, THERMATIC dual-zone automatic climate control with dust filter, touchpad with controller and traffic sign assist

For the exterior features you get 20-inch AMG multi-spoke alloy wheels, 4MATIC all-wheel drive, AIR BODY CONTROL air suspension, AMG Styling, dark-tinted privacy glass from b-pillar to rear, DYNAMIC SELECT, KEYLESS-GO package including keyless start function & hands-free access, direct-steer speed sensitive steering, ECO start/stop function, MULTIBEAM LED with 84 individually controllable LEDs, Active Parking Assist PARKTRONIC, Power closing doors, Sliding sunroof, electronically operated glass roof and Sports exhaust system

Mercedes-Benz have a vast array of safety and security features in the new CLS, 360° camera with dynamic guidelines, active bonnet, ADAPTIVE BRAKE with hold, brake drying, priming function and hill start assist, 9 airbags, acceleration skid control, Anti-Theft Alarm with tow-away protection and interior surveillance system, Brake Assist System, Crash responsive emergency lighting, Driving Assistance package, PRE-SAFE® Impulse Side, Electronic Stability Program (ESP®) with crosswind assist, MOExtended run-flat safety tyres and tyre pressure loss warning system.

For a full list of standard and optional extras, please follow the link to CLS specification sheet on the Mercedes-Benz New Zealand website. LINK

First Impressions

As I entered the Wellington Mercedes-Benz dealership to collect the CLS, it was unmistakable which car it was. The CLS looks different – low and sleek compared to many of the other Mercedes-Benz at the dealership. I was pleasantly surprised by this, as many manufacturers are making all their cars far too similar. It’s a good thing to mix it up a bit and have a different look and feel.

This was a good start to a review I was a bit unsure about.

The Inside

After testing the 2018 Mercedes-Benz 560 S Class Coupe and opening the door of the CLS, I could see that some of the flagship’s luxury features have flowed down, the main features being the dash displays and seats. The main feature is the two 12-inch widescreen lcd screens, both crystal clear and full of colour. The driver’s display has standard dials and instrument clusters which can be changed from classic dials to a more modern central gauge which I prefered.

The seats were really nice, with a plush cross stitch pattern similar to the high-end S-Class. The seats were more luxury than sporty, as you did not sink into them as much as a sporty seat. This itself caused some issues due to my height. Getting in and out, I bumped my head on the A pillar a lot, and when inside the car my head was always rubbing off the roof liner. Neither of these are faults of the car, it just shows that this car is not ideal for tall people.

I found the rear seats a bit cramped, as well as the door gap to get in and out off. To get enough room the driver had to be a least a foot shorter than I was. For a large luxury car, many of the competition have a bit more room in the back even for taller people.

The dash and heads-up display where amazing, and it’s great to see the hated stuck-on central console replaced for the two widescreen displays. I loved how customisable the dash was, with many options around what you can display and how you could display it. The ability to make the display somewhat your own is great, something many other brands are missing from their LCD displays.

The steering wheel was the same on from the new S-Class which offered up a typical array of buttons, plus two touch/swipe buttons. These new touch and swipe buttons were used to control the central display screen and the driver additional info screen. I did not like these in the S-Class, and I was not a fan of them here too. However Rob Clubley who tested the new 2018 Mercedes Benz A200 didn’t have any issues with them.

The boot was a good size of 490 litres, fairly standard for most sedans. The rear seats could be folded down, however, due to the quality and size of the seats, they did not lay down totally flat. It did make the boot a lot longer for any of those unconventional loads you might need to carry.

The Drive

Behind the wheel of the CLS you were not left thinking that this was a big car. How the bonnet and boot dropped off out of view gave the resulting feeling that it was much smaller. It also felt very light and easy to handle. This could be a problem for some people as the car is long and in situation like multi storey car parks I found myself taking much wider corners to make sure I had the room required to safely maneuver through tight spaces.

Out on the open road the CLS is a graceful cruiser, everything handled with a certain level of style and elegance. As long as you were not too lead footed, the car handled well through most daily driving situations. Nothing was too strenuous or taxing, and I felt like I could drive for hours and get out fully refreshed. It was a relaxing place to be as well, again similar to the S-Class.

The CLS does not come with the magic carpet system that is seen in the S-Class, it does however have Air Body Control air suspension. This system uses multi-chamber air suspension that can continuously adjust damping for a high level of ride comfort and driving dynamics. Using information coming from cameras or driver commands the system adapts to the current driving situation, either comfortable or sporty. When you get into some twisty bends or heavy braking, the air suspension aims to reduces body roll.

At higher speeds the suspension is lowered a further 15 millimetres to further improve stability. I was unable to find out what speeds are required for this, my assumption was something more like autobahn then New Zealand speed limits.

The engine never really sounded the part for this car. That was its only flaw though, as it had more than enough power and performance from to get the job done. When in Sports or Sport Plus mode you did notice a tiny turbo lag if you put the foot to the floor. Nothing to make a song and dance about as it’s a direct result of the use of smaller more efficient engines. I never once felt that the CLS was underpowered or struggled to get up and go. It’s just a shame that the sound from the exhaust was not more befitting of a car like this.

Active Parking Assist allows you to search and select a parking space, as well as entering and leaving parallel and end-on parking spaces or garages. The system can automatically manoeuvre the vehicle into the selected parking space, and steer and brake when an obstacle is detected. It’s a very impressive system, one of the better ones I have tested on the market. They do all still struggle with the stress of someone waiting behind you while you get the system setup. Hopefully these drivers don’t mind waiting a few more seconds.

If you do not like using Active Parking Assist, the PARKTRONIC Parking Assist monitors the areas to the front and rear of the vehicle when manoeuvring, it also tries to detects risks and hazards along both sides of the vehicles to alert the driver with as much notice as possible

If you ever have the opportunity, you need to test the automatic high beam assist from Mercedes-Benz. I have always said it’s the best out there, with many other systems like it, but none seem to be as good as theirs. It’s almost mesmerising how the lights dance around in the night sky, moving in between the gaps in traffic, both on front of you and oncoming lanes. The new multibeam LED headlights were great, so clear and sharp, lighting up the road much further then typical cars can.

The Competition – Midsize Luxury SUV

This is a small market segment, with a couple of similar options out there, but your budget may not stretch to cover them all.

Brand/ModelEnginePower/TorqueFuel, L/100kmSeatsBoot Space, LitresPrice Highest to Lowest
Porsche Panamera3.0L V6 turbo petrol234kW/ 450Nm7.64500$201,200
Audi A7 Sportback3.0L BiTDi235kW/ 650Nm5.25535$159,900
BMW 640i xDrive Gran Turism3.0L V6 petrol twin turbo250kW/ 450Nm8.55460$155,600
Mercedes-Benz CLS 450 Coupe3.0L V6 turbo270kW / 500Nm8.7TBA490$157,890
Jaguar XJ Luxury3.0L V6 turbo diesel300kW/ 700Nm5.75478$155,000

The pros and cons

ProsCons
  • Travelling in luxury
  • Nice power from a smaller engine
  • So quiet to drive
  • First class interior, from the S-Class
  • Energising comfort experience
  • LED headlights are amazing
  • Decent boot size
  • Top-shelf sound system
  • Class-leading safety features
  • Relaxing driving experience
  • Swipe button on steering wheel
  • Sleek front and rear windscreens make entry not as elegant for taller people
  • Engine noise did not suit a vehicle of this style or spec

What we think

I have never been a big fan of the 4-door coupes. Whether I like them or not, there is a market for them and they are here to stay. These 4-door coupes are not for everyone, anyone over 6ft will find them a bit awkward to get in and out of the front and back due to the rake angle of the front and rear screens. It’s not a big thing, but it did highlight that the E-Class sedan would be a better fit for taller people.

My only other gripe with the CLS was the engine noise. Its new 3.0-litre turbo 6-cylinder was a good performer for the daily drive, and went well if you needed more power too. But the sound was not that great, more like a 4-cylinder hatchback, which was the wrong feel for such a large luxury car.

The CLS 450 is a good all round car, that gives you a lot of bang for buck. The inside is almost the same as the flagship S-Class models that start $100k over the CLS. It’s a very sleek sedan that oozes luxury all over and has some very high tech specs and safety options. My issues with it were personal and minor, so don’t underestimate it.

Take one for a test and see what you think.

Rating – Chevron rating (4 out of 5)

2018 Mercedes-Benz CLS 450 Coupe 4Matic

Vehicle TypeLarge Luxury 4-Door Coupe
Starting Price$157,890
Price as Tested$165,790
Engine3.0-litre 6-cylinder, direct-injection, turbocharged
Power, Torque270kW/500Nm
Transmission9G-TRONIC automatic transmission
Spare WheelSpace saver
Kerb Weight, Kg1940
Length x Width x Height, mm4988 x 1890 x 1435
Cargo Capacity, litres490
Fuel tank capacity, litres80
Fuel Economy, L/100kmAdvertised Spec – Combined – 8.7

Real World Test – Combined – 9.5

Low Usage: 0-6 / Medium Usage 6-12 / High Usage 12+

Towing Capacity

Kg, unbraked/braked

750/1900
Turning circle, metres11.6

Small: 6-10m / Medium 10-12m / Large 12m+

Warranty3 years warranty
ANCAP Safety Ratings5 Star

 

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