Mercedes-Benz CLS-Class CLS350 7G-Tronic Review
The second coming

Story by Raymond Lai Photos by Yang and Raymond Lai
21 Nov 2011

The Mercedes-Benz CLS is into its incarnation. Raymond Lai finds out if it is still as ground breaking as the original 2004 model.

Introduction, styling

There’s no doubt that premium German car makers like Mercedes-Benz, Audi and BMW have the most diverse and interesting model line-ups out there.  In the case of Mercedes, there’s the entry-level A-Class to steal sales in the prestige small hatchback arena that is usually dominated by more mass market brands. For those who want a slightly more versatile small hatchback, there’s the B-Class to cater their needs while traditional Mercedes saloon fans can choose between the C-, E- and S-Class models.

There are also no less than three SUVs to suit all tastes in Mercedes’ range. The roadster line-up is taken care of by the brilliant SL and SLK drop-tops. Then there are the coupes. Not satisfied with just having two-door C-Class coupe, E-Class coupe and the CL in its coupe line-up, Mercedes added a four-door coupe model for the first time back in 2004 – the CLS.

Well, the CLS is not exactly a coupe as it has four doors but it’s something that Mercedes calls a ‘four-door coupe’. The CLS first appeared as a concept at the 2002 Frankfurt Motorshow and the first gen model went on sale here back in 2004, taking the coupe sector by storm as many were amazed by its svelte looks and shape despite having four conventional doors.

Seven years on and the CLS enters its second incarnation with the all-new W218 model. The second gen CLS made its world debut at the 2010 Paris Motorshow and is now officially available here. Based o the current generation W212 E-Class, the new CLS stays true to the original 2004 model’s concept, which means a four-door body style with a curvaceous and svelte profile.

 Despite having rear doors though, the new CLS does have the style and poise of a seductive coupe even at first glance. The new CLS’ most distinctive styling features are its low slung and sloping roofline as well as its aggressive and distinctive looking nose.

From the side, the CLS has a high shoulder line and little glass area. A pair of  characteristic feature lines run along both sides of the car, giving it added muscularity and strength. The lines converge towards the rear onto the blistered wheel arches. The lines also create an optical illusion from certain angles – they look like they are channelling air into a non-existent air inlet on the rear wheel arch. Just like Mercedes’ other coupe models, the three-pointed star sits proudly on the radiator grille. Like its predecessor, it is at the rear where the new CLS’ styling is a little suspect. The large LED tail lamps look a tad overstyled and the sloping and curvaceous boot line a tad clumsy.

At the end of the day, cars like the CLS are supposed to wow at first glance. In this aspect, the new model thoroughly delivers even though some might say that it is a tad overstyled from viewed from certain angles, especially from the rear.


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Engine Capacity 3498cc
Engine Type V 6
Compression Ratio 12:1
Power 306bhp @ 6500rpm
Torque 370Nm @ 3500rpm
Power to Weight 176.4 bhp per ton


Acceleration 6.1s (0-100 km/h)
Top Speed 250 km/h
Fuel Consumption (combined) 14.7 km/L

Misc Technical Data

Transmission 7 -speed 7G-TRONIC PLUS
Drive Type FR


Body Type Sedan
(L x W x H)
(4940 x 1881 x 1416) mm
Wheelbase 2874 mm
Turning Circle 5.6 metres
Kerb Weight 1735 kg
Boot Capacity 520 L
Fuel Tank Capacity 59 L


Brakes (Front) Ventilated Discs
Brakes (Rear) Discs