2015 Mercedes CLS 500 Review

CLS gets refreshed for the new year

By Shahzad Sheikh

2015 Mercedes CLS 500 review

I loved the original CLS, I liked the second generation CLS from 2010, and I quite fancied the 2013 Shooting Brake edition which we were one of the only UAE media to review – read that here.

In amongst the spate of new models that Mercedes seems to be rushing out – what the hell’s a GLE? – it has also taken the time to give the CLS a bit of an update. Did it need it? Not really. It may not be the latest cutting-edge example of Mercedes (that’s the S-Class), but it’s still a very smooth saloon from the company that just knows how to get big luxury cars right.

2015 Mercedes CLS 500 review

What are the updates?

On the outside there’s a new front grille, bigger bumper with larger air intakes and darker taillights. Talking of lights, it has LED headlights with brains that tell them where to point and when – even before the driver has actually turned the wheel – utilising a camera to monitor the road ahead! They also welcome you with a blue glow when you unlock the vehicle.

Inside it gets that ‘floating tablet’ centre screen now being standardised on all Mercs (but not touch for some reason), a new steering wheel and more buttons apparently.

2015 Mercedes CLS 500 review

There’s a new CLS400 with a 3.5-litre V6 turbocharged engine putting out 333bhp and 354lb ft, though we tested the CLS500 which is the same motor as before with 408bhp and 443lb ft of torque, but now with a 9-speed automatic (a torque convertor, not dual clutch) transmission, which should improve fuel efficiency.

What’s missing?

No soft-closing doors? Really on a car of this type? But to compensate, this ‘Coupe’ as Mercedes insists on calling it, does have frameless doors, which I personally still think are rather cool. It also doesn’t get the awesome Burmester audio system, that alone is worth buying a Mercedes S-Class for!

2015 Mercedes CLS 500 review

And despite the new 8-inch display, and infotainment system pinched out of the latest gen Mercs, it also misses out on the touchpad control from the S and C-Class cars. Instead it gets a rotary, which is rather tedious to use. But at least the massage seats are present, although again, not quite as satisfying as those in the big S.

What do we like?

The engine sounds delightfully rumbly, pulls strongly and feels unburstable. The quality and build is obviously as solid as Iron Man’s Hulk-buster armour, and it’s a comfy and smooth cruiser that’s a delight equally to munch up the miles with and swan around the city in.

2015 Mercedes CLS 500 review

It looks grand, it drives wells, feels quick enough for a ‘non-63 AMG’ and responsive enough not to be labelled a barge. I would be very content to own this car, it’s definitely better than a current E-Class which feels a lot more ancient, and it’s your best option if you can’t quite stretch to the magnificent S-Class.

2015 Mercedes CLS 500 – The Specs

Price: AED376,850 ($102,600)
Engine: 4.6-litre V8, 408bhp @ 5000-5750rpm, 443lb ft @ 1600-4750rpm
Performance: 0-100kph 4.8 seconds, top speed 250kph (limited), 12.8L/100km
Transmission: Nine-speed auto, rear wheel drive
Weight: 2375kg

Let us know what you think of the CLS below?

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