I have been testing cars all over the world and when I got the opportunity to test one in Moscow, I could not but accept the offer readily. So at my disposal for a few days was the thoroughbred German CLS 350 CDI AMG coupé, a beautiful vehicle that Mercedes-Benz had in 2003 which for the first time combined the elegance and dynamism of a coupé with the comfort and functionality of a saloon. The CLS for many years remained the only four-door coupé in its class and since 2004 has sold more than 170,000 all over the world.
As Dr Joachim Schmidt, head of sales & marketing for Mercedes-Benz, says: “Customers all over the world have rewarded us for our courage in launching a completely new vehicle concept onto the market, and with its exciting design and refined sportiness, the new edition of the CLS also benefits from the fact that we are a whole generation ahead of the competition with our four-door coupé.”
Though a nervous little bit, as soon as I stepped into the CLS, I felt at ease or to say correctly, the car made me at ease! Yes the new generation is definitely a stunner; there is this new muscular and sporty exterior. What immediately strikes the eye is the innovative front design, which is reminiscent of the Mercedes-Benz SLS AMG. Visually, the radiator grille is not integrated into the bonnet but is formed separately. This highlights the long, sporty bonnet even further. The grille is dominated by the large central star, which underlines the car’s relationship to the other coupés of the brand and strengthens the brand identity. A distinctive and muscular sports car-like shoulder line above the rear axle highlights the athletic character of the new CLS. The flared wheel arches resemble the powerful thighs of a feline predator waiting to pounce. The CLS is the first passenger car in the world to offer LED high performance headlamps, which combine the exciting colour elements of LED technology —similar to those of daytime running lamps. The headlamps, with their 71 LED lamps in total, look exciting; and they serve to underline the unmistakable appearance of the CLS.
The interior of the CLS is also distinguished by a timeless design which combines straightforward elegance with innovative details and handcrafted perfection. An eye-catching feature is the wrap-around effect of the cockpit: a high line sweeps from the driver’s door over the instrument panel support and across to the front passenger door. The central display has also been integrated harmoniously into the upper part of the instrument panel. Five interior colours, five trim designs and also three qualities of leather are available to choose from. The interior is given an even more progressive look with the addition of piano lacquer or AMG carbon fibre trim elements. And of course this car is loaded with all the gadgets and gizmos you normally find in a car like this.
Intelligent lightweight construction plays a decisive role in bridging the classic conflict of objectives between low weight and high strength in the new CLS. With all-aluminium body, the new CLS is 24 kilograms lighter and this also aids in better fuel efficiency—Mercedes-Benz claims a six-litre to 100 kilometre mileage. The CLS is available in four engine options, two petrol and two diesel. The one I tested was a 350 CDI, three-litre diesel block churning out 265 horses. Of course, you can choose the more powerful 500 CDI also if you need more power.
The drive was excellent, the seven-speed automatic transmission, parktronic, lane assist made the drive a great experience in and out of the city. The CLS is a very practical city car also—with a lot of space and efficiency. I only missed the flat and flawless roads as Russia still may not be the best place for good roads and what a way to experience it when you get a flat tyre but let me tell you with the Run Flat technology on Board I was able to drive seamless without any problems to the dealership and get it changed. Mercedes-Benz is definitely a pioneer in technology and every product is a fine example of the German pedigree.
In India, the CLS faces competition from the likes of Audi A7 and BMW 640d Gran coupé but with AMG and works on offer the CLS is in its own league. Available for over a crore of rupees, the CLS AMG is a good answer for those looking for a practical city luxury car with guaranteed fun and sportiness.