The CLS is referred to as a coupe by Mercedes-Benz, and when viewed from a front or rear angle, it's easy to see why. The arched roofline and heavily sculpted flanks -- especially the accented rear wheel arches -- makes it clear that this is a 4-door sedan with an actual trunk.
The CLS is offered in two models for 2017. The CLS550 features a twin-turbo 4.7L V8 that makes 402-horsepower and 443 pound-feet of torque, while the AMG CLS63 boasts a 5.5L turbocharged V8 making 550 horsepower and 531 pound-feet of torque.
While the CLS550 comes with rear-wheel-drive as standard, 4MATIC all-wheel drive is optional, while the CLS63 only comes with 4MATIC. A 9-speed automatic transmission is the only available transmission on all CLSes. The 550 returns an EPA-estimated 21 mpg combined in the rear-wheel-drive model and 20 mpg combined in the 4MATIC.
The CLS works hard to blend performance with luxury, and includes strong insulation and vibration damping. Nicely contoured front seats will provide great long-distance comfort, and the AMG CLS63 upgrades to even more supportive sport seats all around. Active ventilated seats are available to keep occupants warm or cool and a driver's multi-contour seat inflates to provide special support as well as help hold the driver in place when cornering.
On the CLS63, in addition to the sport seats, there are special AMG door sill panels and brushed stainless-steel pedals, along with expanded leather trim. There's also a special E-Select shift lever, as well as a "Race" mode that can record lap times.
All CLS models include COMAND, the Mercedes-Benz screen-based interface, for audio, climate and navigation functions. Also of note is the available Harman/Kardon Logic 7 surround-sound system, which features 14 speakers, a 610-watt amplifier and a subwoofer for a studio-quality experience.
Both of the CLS models include electronic stability control, anti-lock brakes with Brake Assist, a Distronic Plus cruise control system that lets drivers follow at a safe distance, and a Pre-Safe emergency braking system that can spot slowdowns ahead and bring the car to a full stop. Attention Assist studies movements of the steering wheel to spot times when drivers might be falling asleep, sounding a chime and displaying a coffee-cup symbol. Rain-sensing wipers even feature a heated washing system and headlight cleaners. Active Park Assist will actually steer the vehicle into a parking space at speeds below 7 mph.
These days, there really is an AMG for everyone. Fromto , Mercedes' performance arm tunes them all, with powertrain badassery and pumped-up appearances to set them apart from lesser Benzes.
This year, AMG added a series of "53" cars to its lineup, all using a 3.0-liter, turbocharged, straight-six engine with some mild-hybrid assist. The Mercedes-AMG CLS53 was the first such car to get this treatment, and after a week behind the wheel, I can tell you that just because it's a hybrid doesn't make it any less of an appealing performance sedan.
First, I have to qualify the use of "sedan" here. Mercedes-Benz calls the CLS-Class a coupe -- a "four-door coupe," specifically -- and as far as I'm concerned, it's a misnomer. But I can kind of see the logic. After all, the third-generation CLS is one rakish, sexy car, with a really slick roofline.
The Good The 2019 Mercedes-AMG CLS53 has a raucous power plant that is sure to satisfy your inner hot shoe.
The Bad It's still using the old COMAND infotainment system.
The Bottom Line With good looks to match its excellent performance and myriad ADAS features, the 2019 Mercedes-AMG CLS53 should be on your short list.
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