When Mercedes-Benz first launched its CLS class in 2004, the car turned heads. Its sleek design led Mercedes-Benz to call it a four-door coupe, a type of car generally defined as having only two doors.

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For the 2012 model update, the CLS550 features a refined exterior design, LED headlights, and revised engine and cabin tech.

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The CLS550 has a bold Mercedes-Benz badge on the grille, along with a badge in place of a hood ornament. This latter touch signifies a more sport-oriented model.

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The new engine is a 4.6-liter with twin turbochargers. It uses direct injection to spray fuel into the cylinders, and achieves 402 horsepower.

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With its low, curved roofline, the CLS550's rear seating area is not as large as in an S-class. Although headroom is not a problem, legroom is a little tight.

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The CLS550 comes standard with an air suspension, giving the car one of the best rides for vehicles in its range.

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The trunk space is not very tall, but extends deep into the car.

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Mercedes-Benz bolsters its luxury message with the CLS550's cabin. It features fine materials, with liberal use of metal switchgear.

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The steering uses an electrohydraulic system, with variable power depending on speed.

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White gauge faces are a nice touch, and an LCD in the middle of the speedometer shows cabin tech information.

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The voice command system, activated by a metal button on the steering wheel, covers phone, navigation, and, to a limited extent, the stereo. Paddles behind the wheel allow for manual gear changes.

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The metal buttons in this array are a nice touch, although Mercedes-Benz should also update its climate controls, which feel cheap, and the plastic buttons around the volume control.

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The optional multicontour driver's seat adds this control pod, which lets you activate massage and dynamic bolstering.

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The COMAND controller is unchanged from previous years.

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The navigation system offers 3D rendering of buildings on the maps, but doesn't show topographical details.

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The navigation system uses traffic data to dynamically calculate routes.

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HD Radio is standard in the CLS550.

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Mercedes-Benz offers a number of audio sources, including Bluetooth streaming audio, but no Pandora to date.

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The Bluetooth streaming audio interface uses an esoteric message to show it is working.

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The iPod interface shows categories for album, artist, and genre. The car uses this same interface for its onboard music library.

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The Harman Kardon audio system uses 14 speakers and Logic 7 digital processing to create a surround-sound experience.

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The car provides a fuel consumption graph, so you can view your driving efficiency.

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The rearview camera shows good resolution, but does not have trajectory or distance lines to help you park.

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A triangular icon in the side mirrors lights up red to show when cars are in the CLS550's blind spots.

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