2008 Mercedes-Benz CLS-Class Review
This review was written when the 2008 Mercedes-Benz CLS-Class was new.
The Mercedes-Benz CLS is a sleekly styled large four-door sedan, considered by its designers to be a "four door coupe." It offers a luxurious cabin and a completely unique profile. Its unusual styling limits its usability, however -- the back seat of the CLS is no place for adults, and the trunk offers less usable space than most of its peers.
The 2008 Mercedes-Benz CLS is a unique car that defies easy categorization. Mercedes calls it a "four door coupe," intended to offer the sporty feel of a coupe combined with the utility and comfort of a large luxury sedan. The automotive press generally finds that it offers some of both, but all of neither. The CLS is for those who almost need a sedan, but can compromise some room in exchange for a car that raises their pulse. Automobile Magazine sums it up, "If you wanted practicality or rear-seat room or a deep trunk in your Benz, you'd buy an E-class. The CLS isn't about sensible. It's about sensual. It's about emotional."
The Mercedes-Benz CLS is available in two trims: the standard CLS550, or the high-performance AMG CLS63. The CLS550 is powered by a 5.5-liter V8 delivering 382 horsepower. The CLS63, a 6.3-liter V8 making 507 horsepower. Because of its unusual market niche, the CLS doesn't have any natural predators. If you're sold on Mercedes but need a functional backseat, its S-Class cousin may be a more practical alternative. The Audi A8 can outperform the CLS in many ways, as can the BMW 7-Series. But if you're just attracted to the CLS' unusual looks, there really isn't an alternative, and though it is ranked low in its class, it sits in a class where even the lowest-ranked cars are among the world's finest.
- "[The CLS is] about the kind of good looks that make you feel like a junior-high kid all over again, sweating and stammering in the presence of true beauty. We'll take two." -- Car and Driver
- "Buy this vehicle if You're considering a Mercedes-Benz E-Class but want added style and exclusivity and are willing to pay a considerable premium for it; you need seating for four; fuel economy isn't a concern." -- Forbes
- "Mercedes is striving to shed some of its stodge with the introduction of a high-end cruiser that marries the convenience of a sedan with the panache of a coupe." -- Automobile Magazine
- "This new Benz is a serious piece of couture. Trendy, even. A stoic and sensible E-Class chassis stepping out in the vehicular equivalent of Versace hip boots. You can't not look at it." -- Motor Trend
- "Judging the CLS500 based solely on the need for a roomy 4-door doesn't make sense. Wanting a pure performance coupe? It still won't satisfy. Admittedly, this new Mercedes isn't for everyone. But the CLS appeals to the dare-to-be-different individual who takes pride in shaking up the norm a bit. And that's a good thing." -- Road and Track