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2012 Mercedes-Benz CLS550 review: An ultra-fine ride

CNET reviews the 2012 Mercedes-Benz CLS550, a car that expresses the cutting edge of Mercedes-Benz technology. It uses a new, efficient engine, along with plenty of driver assistance features.

2012 Mercedes-Benz CLS550
Wayne Cunningham/CNET

With its new engine, driver assistance features, and cabin tech, the 2012 CLS550 represents the cutting edge of what Mercedes-Benz has to offer. At the same time, it preserves and enhances the brand's luxury image. The standard air suspension gives the car a superlative ride.

Beyond its telematics service, Mercedes-Benz hasn't ventured into app integration, as some of its competitors are doing. But its cabin tech is still first rate, with a speedy navigation system featuring 3D rendered buildings and just about every modern audio source you can think of. The highlight is the Harman Kardon audio system, which delivers better sound than most home stereos.

Driver assistance features help keep you in your lane, automatically brake before a collision, slow down to keep pace with slower traffic up ahead, and detect cars in the blind spots. Once you start driving with these safety features, it is hard to live without them.

The new V-8, with direct injection and twin turbos, produces more power than the previous V-8, yet gets better gas mileage. We saw fuel economy creep into the mid-20s, impressive for a 400+ horsepower mill. But Mercedes-Benz needs to do some fine-tuning on this engine. Its uneven acceleration leads to lunging at low to medium speeds, something a luxury vehicle should not do.

Read our review of the 2012 Mercedes-Benz CLS550.