2006 Mercedes-Benz CLS Class Photo
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ROMEI should be drinking in the vivacity of the Trevi Fountain. Or maybe the ruby-hued bottle of Chianti I liberated from the hotel minibar? No, instead I’m sitting in the back seat of a coupe — a four-door coupe — trying to wrap my brain around the very idea that such an animal exists.

Now, two-door sedans are a reality. Pretty much every BMW 3-Series two-door still qualifies as a sedan, by EPA measurements. But anything with four doors is plainly a sedan. Right?

Not by the yardstick applied by a growing number of car companies, who can identify those of you who still want four-door practicality but the sleeker silhouette of a vehicle with fewer orifices. Audi’s new A6 is one of these animals, but possibly the most hotly intent on selling the idea is Mercedes-Benz via its new CLS.

The CLS, Mercedes vows, offers up the “elegance and dynamism of a coupé with the comfort and practicality of a saloon.” Translation: you don’t lose the room or trunk space of a typical four-door, even though the body is styled to look more like a coupe. And in the case of the CLS, which shares roughly 35 percent of its body structure with the conventional E-Class four-door, most of the functional goodness is retained beneath an intriguing new skin.

The very Gaul

2006 Mercedes-Benz CLS 500

2006 Mercedes-Benz CLS 500

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You’ll look twice or even thrice at the CLS’s glam new shape, a gamine and slightly tawdry take on the E’s rather upright demeanor. (In Atlanta, a white E-Class is a hallmark of “Buckhead Betty” status, which wins you a lifetime of valet parking at Lenox Mall along with other ladies who lunch.) The CLS a hussy all right, with more voluptuous fender swells, a tighter rear end and a youthful cleft from nose to tail. If we can indulge in a cultural stereotype for a brief moment, our French ancestors would characterize the CLS as the mistress to the E-Class’ wifely duty.

Celebrity Drivers

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