The 2011 Mercedes-Benz CLS-Class is the last in the line of the first-generation CLS, which first went on sale in 2004 and is now set to be replaced by a brand new model
coming in for the 2012 model year. However, Mercedes-Benz has packed the outgoing model with its latest technology and features to keep it fresh and we think it’s a great buy if you manage to catch a good deal on a run-out model.
This is the first of the modern day four-door coupes, the progenitor of more modern examples such as the Aston Martin Rapide, Porsche Panamera and upcoming BMW 6-Series Gran Coupe
The car is essentially a reskinned version of the previous generation Mercedes-Benz E-Class, though its styling is dramatically different, as is its interior. Unique elements introduced just last year include a new steering wheel and white-faced instruments.
Another major difference between the two is that the CLS only comes in two trims, the base--if you can call it that--CLS550 and the high-performance CLS63 AMG.
Both are fast but the CLS63 AMG is easily the pick of the two; not only because of its more potent powertrain, but also because of its uprated suspension, brakes and tires.
The CLS550 is powered by a 5.5-liter V-8 with 382 horsepower and 391 pound-feet of torque on tap. Drive is sent to the rear wheels via a standard seven-speed automatic transmission with paddle shifters for pseudo manual control.
Opt for the CLS63 AMG and you get a torquey 6.2-liter V-8 that’s hand-built by the tuning gods at AMG, Mercedes-Benz’s official in-house tuner.
The mighty engine develops 507 horsepower and 465 pound-feet of torque and is matched to an updated seven-speed AMG SpeedShift Plus automatic transmission, also with paddle shifters. The engine has a very throaty sound that will definitely scare the neighbors if you put your boot in.
Air-suspension is fitted in the CLS, offering a pillowy ride. Our only gripes are that the chassis can feel a little loose, and the steering is a bit slow for our liking. The CLS63 AMG, however, is a totally different beast, coming with a firm ride and sharp handling.
As mentioned, the CLS comes well equipped, with satellite radio, Bluetooth connectivity, a Harman-Kardon stereo and iPod interface all coming as standard. Some useful options include adaptive cruise control and parking sensors.
For an in-depth look at the 2011 Mercedes-Benz CLS-Class, head over to TheCarConnection
for a full review.