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Road test: Mercedes-Benz CLS – the stylish saloon that’s still turning heads

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It’s always quite exciting when a new classification of car comes along and the arrival of the original Mercedes-Benz CLS back in 2005 was certainly a case in point.

There was always an assumption that saloon cars had to look a little dull and uninspiring but Mercedes turned that notion on its head entirely. The CLS proved that four doors and a fair measure of practicality could be combined with rakish coupe styling that was to die for. The CLS is undoubtedly one of those cars that could be considered a modern classic and there aren’t many.

Of course everyone else subsequently got in on the act, with rivals Audi and BMW following suit with their Sportback and Gran Tourismo models – even Volkswagen joined this merry band with the Passat CC.


To my mind the CLS is still the pick of the bunch though, even if the current version doesn’t quite have the wow factor of that original back in 2005. It still looks sultry, stylish and different and really offers the ultimate for someone who needs a versatile saloon car but wishes they were buying a sports car.

Looks apart, there’s quite a bit that’s different when comparing the latest CLS to its predecessors the biggest being the huge amount of technology. Added to that the level of opulence seems to have been turned up a notch or two. While you might imagine its sleek profile is its main USP the chances are you will feel the interior also gives it a run for its money.


However it can also be a true sporting thoroughbred. The contrast is best experienced through the selectable driving modes available.

The Eco and Comfort settings are perfect for suburban toing and froing or motorway cruising but if you want to have fun engage the Sport or Sport+ modes.

The car feels different in an instant – even the engine note changes from a purr to more of a growl. As you would expect the Sport mode makes for a more fun driving experience and Sport+ a positively thrilling one.

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