2020 Mercedes-Benz CLS450C


The Mercedes CLS fits into a comfortable niche in their lineup. This four-door sedan carries the coupe name with it…thus, the CLS450”C”.  How this “coupe” designation is justified is relatively simple…look at the design of the roof and trunk. In a word, the roofline is low and sweeps back into the trunk spoiler area without any noticeable large drop. Moreover, the overall height of the car is low. The other Mercedes styling signals are accounted for like the classic large and open Mercedes grille with the circle and star in the center.  And below the grille are three openings of different shapes. The rear trunk area is rounded and nicely integrated into the body with the large taillights.  So besides the classic Mercedes styling clues, the overall design is quite attractive for a “sedan”.

       And like many Mercedes models, the CLS offers a number of powertrain choices. The base engine combo features an unusual turbocharged straight 6 cylinder (as opposed to the now near standard V-6) developing a zesty 362 horsepower. The transmission is a 9-speed automatic.  Rear wheel drive is standard, and all wheel drive is optional. And, of course, there is the ultimate AMG power option with a stout 429 horsepower engine. Making that choice does requires a few more bucks over the standard CLS starting price of about $71,000.

       As one would hope and expect, the interior has a clear luxury spin with leather seats, interior panels, and steering wheel.  Large matching wood panels are spread around the dash, center console, and doors. Small lights proliferate around the entire interior, and there are 64 colors to choose from.  Like other Mercedes models, two big (as in 12.3 inch) video screens dominate the dash. These screens are controlled with buttons on the steering wheel, a dial, and a touch pad on the center console. The middle screen controls the radio and many other features, and can be tied into a smart phone.. When in reverse gear, the screen features a 360-degree view around the car and the more standard reverse view. The screen in front of the steering wheel has lots of options on the layout. A dual automatic temperature system takes care of cooling needs. Classic looking multiple round air vents, and a traditional clock round out the front interior look.

       Recently, this coupe model rear seats were upgraded to carry three inside of two. But the large drive shaft hump in the middle of the floor would make it tight for the middle passenger. Headroom and legroom is decent, and the outer seats are comfortable. An armrest is provided with both a covered storage area and two pop out cup holders. Besides using a button on the driver’s door or a button on the key to open the trunk, you can simply swing your foot under the rear bumper to open and close it. A nicely lined medium size trunk with a storage puka under the floor is provided. The rear seats are split 40/20/40 and can be dropped for handling larger items.

       In our test 362 horsepower model, power and speed is plentiful with a 0-60 time of 5.1 seconds. And even with all of this power, the average fuel mileage rating is a reasonable 26 mpg. And like other Mercedes models, the driver has a number of driving choices to control his or her desires. With a spin of a dial, the setting for steering feel, the ride, and transmission shifts can be changed. The categories are econ, comfort, sport, sport plus, and individual. With paddles behind the steering wheel, the transmission can be used to manually shift the gears. Even with the sport setting, the ride is not overly taught and is reasonably absorbing on rough roads . Corners are easily handled with 20 inch alloy wheels and completely under control. Steering is direct and to the point. Multiple safety features including blind spot mentoring, lane keeping, and cross traffic alert are available.

       With the CLS, Mercedes has created a coupe looker without the coupe carrying restrictions. More importantly, it is simply a good-looking car.   


2020 Mercedes-Benz CLS450C


MODEL:  5-passenger sedan
PRICE:  $69,200, as tested $76,625.
POWERTRAIN:  (test vehicle) 3.0-liter turbocharged, 6-cylinder, 362 hp, 9-speed automatic transmission, front wheel drive, four-wheel drive optional.
FUEL MILEAGE:  26 mpg average, 24 mpg city, 31 mpg highway.
PERFORMANCE: (test vehicle) 0-60: 5.1 seconds.
HIGH BEAMS: Power and good looks. Additional room in the rear seating area. Luxury interior with lots of driving choices.
LOW BEAM:  Driveshaft tunnel in back seat area limits room for the middle passenger.