Mercedes CLS: How this 4-door coupe brings its own touch of class

I don’t know if you’ve noticed or if you’re remotely interested, but there seems to be a car price category for almost everything these days. I’m waiting for one to give credit to a car best suited to help you walk the dogs.

But I think if someone made a category for sleek mid-size cars, the Mercedes CLS 4dr coupe would be a front runner.

It broke new ground when it came out all those years ago, and while it’s changed in many ways, it remains one of the most iconic mid-size luxury 4dr coupes (there aren’t too many of them).

The CLS is a big, flat affair that clings resolutely and symbolically to an era when refinement of looks and performance blended seamlessly. There are fewer of them these days, with big, bold designs steeped in ‘muscular’ looks and SUV leanings.

Radiator grilles enjoy special attention, often outrageously conspicuous and leave no doubt as to the identity of the cars.

The sleek CLS, meanwhile, doesn’t go to extremes to announce its genealogy, but because the brand now has such an instantly identifiable set of grilles there’s no fear of being recognized as anything other than a Merc.

The latest model has received the modernization treatment, which is gaining ground faster with each passing year for all brands. The cabin has been upgraded, there is a huge digital display, more technology, comfort and assistance.

However, a few disadvantages have not been physically eliminated – and not without changing the overall character of the car. I mean, the very shape of the vehicle, a 4-door coupe, necessitates a low roofline, and that in turn necessitates a strong, low stoop to get in and out. Well it did for me. That’s fine for young, flexible bodies, but it places demands on those of us who nature gifted us with older, less flexible bodies.

Two adults had plenty of room in the back (although they were tall, they only had a small issue with headroom getting in and out), while there was plenty of head, leg and elbow room up front.

Also because of the sloping position of the rear roof in particular, the view from the rear window is only moderate. It’s not a big issue, but worth mentioning.

Call it a sacrifice for sleek design.

Once you navigate the physical side of boarding, everything changes. Behind the wheel, you scan the road ahead of you at the end of what feels like a long bonnet. A beautiful cabin is at your disposal, as is the MBUX multimedia system.

Beneath that bonnet of the test car was a 2-litre diesel, another reminder of the once-popular power source. With a 9-speed automatic transmission, it was the ideal companion for a longer-than-expected trip to the Southeast. Well, maybe I’m spoiled, but the engine wasn’t the smoothest I’ve driven in a Mercedes.

It jerked a bit on startup for such a classy engine, but as is so often the case with diesels, it quickly settled into a smooth rhythm.

The engine delivers 194 hp and was never more than ample in its power delivery over the course of the journeys with a few decent passengers on board.

More significantly, however, and the second reason it might win in an Elegance Award category, would be its charitable treatment of Diesel.

I’ve done almost 850 km with it and had a third of a tank of gas left. I’m talking about a good mix of driving here; 350 km or so around Dublin city, usually with three or four on board.

The rest was long haul with three on board and a decent range of luggage.

It’s a phenomenal return because I didn’t just tickle along. I calculated the consumption per 100 km with 4.5 liters. That’s 60mpg. The tank capacity of the CLS model I tested was 66 liters.

This is an optional increased capacity tank; the normal has 50 liters. The reserve tank holds seven liters in both versions. However, a rough calculation showed that the test car would easily cover 1,200 km with this engine and tank.

That’s a big number and a joy to behold at a time like this, when every drop of diesel is as valuable as it is expensive.

We enjoyed our rides; Well, I was impatient with the navigation system, which even in experienced hands had its own ideas.

It is high time to complain about such things. But it still wouldn’t stop me from steering the car towards an award for elegance.


Mercedes CLS 220d Coupé, diesel, AMG Line, 1,950 ccm, 194 hp, 5.5 – 6.3 liters/100 km; VAT €270, 9G-TRONIC automatic. Assists include active lane keeping, high beam, blind spot, 19-inch alloys; AMG styling, brakes (larger discs on the front axle), interior, lowering; Digital radio, MBUX extended multimedia functions, steering wheel shift paddles, parking package with 360-degree camera, preparation for car sharing, widescreen cockpit (2 x 12.3-inch digital color HD displays, wireless charging for mobile phones. Mercedes CLS: How this 4-door coupe brings its own touch of class

Fry Electronics Team

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