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Mercedes-Benz CLS-Class Performance

Automotive journalists report that the 2015 Mercedes-Benz CLS-Class is a very satisfying car to drive. They say it has agile handling and strong acceleration in every available trim, from the new CLS400 to the unbelievably fast CLS63 AMG S.

  • "Mercedes-Benz's CLS550 4-door coupe for 2015 might not be the best car for passengers, but it is a driver's dream come true." -- Kelley Blue Book
  • "If performance and handling are what you're after, the CLS63 AMG is, as always, the way to go. It sports a bigger twin-turbo V-8 with even more power on tap than before. The result is an addictive shove in the chest every time you get into the throttle." -- Motor Trend
  • "Simply put, the 2014 Mercedes-Benz CLS550 drives beautifully." -- Edmunds (2014)

Acceleration and Power

The 2015 Mercedes-Benz CLS400 is powered by a twin-turbocharged 3.0-liter V6 engine that produces 329 horsepower. The CLS550 has a twin-turbocharged 4.6-liter V8 that generates 402 horsepower. A seven-speed automatic transmission is standard in the CLS400 and in CLS550 models with all-wheel drive. CLS550 models with rear-wheel drive come with a nine-speed automatic. The 2015 CLS400 gets 20/30 mpg city/highway, which is on par with rivals’ fuel economy estimates.

The high-performance CLS63 AMG S comes with a twin-turbocharged 5.5-liter V8 that produces 577 horsepower and 590 pound-feet of torque, as well as a seven-speed automated manual transmission. Mercedes-Benz reports that the 2015 CLS63 AMG S can accelerate from 0 to 60 mph in 3.6 seconds.

Test drivers write that the twin-turbo V6 in the new CLS400 makes the car feel quick and delivers plenty of passing power. They say the CLS550 is even more potent and doesn’t break a sweat at high speeds, and the CLS63 AMG S has downright ferocious acceleration.

  • "This ‘starter’ version's biturbo 3.0-liter V-6 supplies an ample 329 horsepower and 354 pound-feet of torque. … The Benz biturbo feels as overachieving here as it does in the C400 sedan. Our early hunch predicts a quite-satisfying 0-60 time, sneaking in below six seconds for either the rear-wheel-drive or 4Matic all-wheel-drive versions." -- Automobile Magazine (CLS400)
  • "Conceding that the competition offers more fuel-efficient six-cylinder models and customers seem to like them, Benz has introduced the new CLS400 powered by a twin-turbo V-6. … Here in the CLS-Class, it provides more than enough power for most customers, with plenty of turbo-backed torque ready to execute a pass at any time. It's no monster like the twin-turbo V-8s in the CLS550 and CLS63 AMG, but it's plenty quick and very smooth." -- Motor Trend
  • "With its twin-turbocharged 4.7-liter V8 pumping out 402 horsepower, the CLS550 can rocket off the line, pass with authority and cruise effortlessly at high speed for hours on end." -- Kelley Blue Book
  • "Power and acceleration are abundant, allowing the CLS550 to launch strongly from a standstill or to perform passing maneuvers at high speed with confidence." -- AutoTrader (2014)

Handling and Braking

The 2015 CLS400 and CLS550 come standard with rear-wheel drive. Mercedes’ 4Matic all-wheel drive is optional on the CLS400 and CLS550 and standard on the CLS63 AMG S. Mercedes-Benz’s AirMatic air suspension system, which allows you to adjust suspension stiffness with Comfort and Sport settings, is available on the CLS400 and standard on the CLS550. Reviewers write that the CLS-Class feels light and nimble for a luxury large car, with ample cornering grip and responsive steering. They say that models fitted with the AirMatic suspension deliver both composed handling and a smooth ride.

  • "With reasonably quick steering and good throttle response, the CLS400 takes a corner pretty well for a luxury sedan -- excuse me, ‘four-door coupe.’" -- Motor Trend
  • "From behind the wheel, the CLS inspires confidence in hard cornering and high-speed lane changes, feeling both smaller and lighter than it actually is." -- Kelley Blue Book
  • "The adaptive air suspension and variable dampers provide secure handling and an impressive ride quality. The electrically assisted steering offers good feedback, loads up naturally and quickens the more you turn, making the CLS feel smaller than it actually is." -- Edmunds (2014)
  • "The CLS550 can take a fast turn with remarkable grip and minimal body roll." -- AutoTrader (2014)
Review Last Updated: 4/30/15

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