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First road test 2019 Mercedes-Benz CLS

Charlize Theron, Jennifer Lawrence and Alexandra Daddario are beautiful women. And for the guys, there’s Chris Hemsworth, Henry Cavill and Ryan Reynolds. So, you see, beauty is not only in the eye of the beholder, it can be obvious to all. The new 2019 Mercedes-Benz CLS, if it was a Hollywood actor, would be in this list.

2019 Mercedes-Benz CLS

The launch event for the new CLS took place in Barcelona, Spain. For all who have been there and soaked in the architecture, beaches, and people, the City of Gaudi is a true symbol of all that is beautiful in life. The correlation between the location and the car was palpable and set the tone for the drive event.

While some beauties offer little more than a pretty envelope, the Mercedes CLS is equal parts substance and looks. Knowing this, one can’t help but feel a sense of acknowledged superiority when driving. The 2019 CLS is replete with technology, performance on top of opulent luxury. Few other manufacturers can pull something off like the 2019 CLS and make look easy.

Mercedes experience

Mercedes can build cars, and trucks. In fact, try and think of one other carmaker that successfully builds and sells as many varying nameplates and body-styles as Benz does. From the G Class, X Class, to the A Class, S Class, AMG GT and up-coming Project One, the car company from Stuttgart has all niches and categories covered.

It’s no small wonder then that this latest CLS is nearly faultless. Actually, I’ll now go over the few issues I found with the car. Drive-wise, brake-pedal response felt wooden and barely responsive. The brakes worked but I felt compelled to really get on the pedal for something to happen. Steering is equally out of tune as its constant desire to return on-center, quite nearly resisting my inputs, became tiresome through constant switchbacks. Both of these elements need only to be re-tuned digitally to be fixed.

Leaves much to the imagination

The other qualm is an observable one and also happens to be one of the CLS’ highlights. The slopping roofline renders ingress and egress a chore and cuts severely into rear headroom. This same roofline is what has made the car famous, and the car industry take notice. In relatively no time flat, a number of Mercedes’ competitors introduced their own version of the 4-door coupé. How’s that for flattery?

The first generation CLS was breathtakingly gorgeous. With sales soaring, Mercedes essentially Heidi Montag-ed the 2nd generation CLS car in the hopes of selling more. Thankfully, Gorden Wagener, Chief Design Officer Daimler AG, saw the light, honed the original’s clean style and returned the CLS to its former glory.

Designer luxury

The new C257 2019 Mercedes Benz CLS is incredibly sleek and devoid distractions. The sole exception to this rule is the new predator face of Mercedes, or shark-nose. There are no sharp lines on the new shell where all the panels blend smoothly one into the other. The “base” 450 is more subdued while the AMG 53’s extra highlights such as wheels, and minor aero bits, make it racier and in my opinion. Think Charlize in Atomic Blonde, for example.

The new CLS is larger in every respect and the only area where this is noticeable is on board; the CLS is now a 5-seater. The cabin differs also by the fact that it is loaded with textures, controls, and displays. The waterfall center stack is framed up top by the standard 12.3” screen and the COMAND controls at the bottom. The vents that light up as part of the ENERGIZING comfort are interesting but seem somewhat out of place in a car of this stature. The whole of the environment is decidedly more S Class than E Class.

The reviewed 450 featured the optional Drive-Dynamic multicontour seats that, as part of the Comfort package, are nothing short of a must thanks to their massaging and dynamic adjustments. Of the many options available, I would strongly consider the 12.3 instrument cluster and one of the two Burmester systems (13-speaker 590 watts or 25-speaker and 1,450 watts). Smartphone Integration (Apple CarPlay and Google Android Auto), satellite radio and wireless phone charging are standard.

EQ Boosted straight-6 engines

The AMG 53 is the current star of the line-up. It includes a flat-bottomed Sport steering wheel, heavily bolstered seats lifted directly from AMG V8 cars, and more power. This probably makes it the most AMG of the non-AMG cars.

The new CLS is powered by turbocharged 3.0-litre inline-6-cylinder gasoline engines. The AMG 53’s clever twin-turbochargers produce 429-horsepower and 384 lb.-ft. of torque while the 450’s twin-scroll single turbo generates 362-horsepower and 369 lb.-ft. of torque from the same block.

Even though both cars use a 9-speed 9G-TRONIC automatic transmission and versions of Mercedes’ latest 4MATIC AWD system, the AMG 53 feels, and sounds, much sportier. The extra dollars, once the price will be announced, will be worth it. But that’s not all as far as performance is concerned.

With the new 2019 Benz CLS, Mercedes introduces their EQ Boost mild-hybrid technology. The 48-volt integrated starter/generator not only eliminates the need for parasitic belt-driven accessories but takes charge of the A/C compressor, and water pump. This, and the ability to sail or coast without engine power and engine start/stop functions, are related to fuel economy. The real upside however is the ability to temporarily boost output by a further 21-horsepower and 184 lb.-ft. of torque through the electric motor. As well, the integrated electric auxiliary compressor primes the chargers thus illuminating all forms of lag.

The CLS excels at both being a comfortable cruiser and a sporty sedan. Fitted as standard, the adaptive dampers transform the car to fit your mood, and to match the DYNAMIC select drive modes.

There are few cars of this nature on the market at the moment. The new 2019 Mercedes-Benz CLS is truly a halo car, more than ever in fact. Through the combination of all of its assets, it raises the desirability bar to a new level, much like the original W219 car. The 2019 CLS is arriving in showroom this Fall.

Charlize Theron, Jennifer Lawrence and Alexandra Daddario are beautiful women. And for the guys, there’s Chris Hemsworth, Henry Cavill and Ryan Reynolds. So, you see, beauty is not only in the eye of the beholder, it can be obvious to all. The new 2019 Mercedes-Benz CLS, if it was a Hollywood actor, would be in …

Review Overview

Performance - 85%
Driving Experience - 85%
Comfort - 95%
Security - 90%
Interior Design - 90%
Prestige - 95%


User Rating: 2.74 ( 3 votes)

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