- Stylishly aggressive design
- Powerful, refined V-8 engines
- Incredible handling and performance in AMG trim
- Rear-seat head room still tight
- High price tag
- Interior somewhat over-wrought
Carrying forward 2012's more muscular looks with inimitable style, the 2013 Mercedes-Benz CLS Class gets new high-tech options while keeping its surprising performance.
Elegant, sleek, and stylish, the 2013 Mercedes-Benz CLS Coupe glides into the new model year with just a handful of changes, but remains among the frontrunners of the luxury four-door coupe class.
Based on the E Class, but with a more rounded, coupe-like silhouette, the CLS Class's angles and edges were updated in 2012 for an edgier, more modern look. The result is a compelling, even athletic exterior and an interior that rides the border between glamorous and over-wrought.
On the road, the CLS Class is a relaxed, comfortable cruiser in any trim. The standard model the CLS 550, continues with its 4.6-liter twin-turbocharged 402-horsepower V-8 engine and seven-speed automatic transmission. Riding on Airmatic suspension with available 4Matic all-wheel drive, the CLS 550 is both comfy and capable. The performance-minded buyer will prefer the CLS63 AMG's 518-horsepower 5.5-liter twin-turbo V-8, however, with standard seven-speed MCT automatic transmission, Airmatic rear suspension, and start-stop technology. An optional performance package upgrades the CLS63 AMG's output to 550 horsepower and 590 pound-feet of torque.
While the front seats are spacious and plushly appointed, the rear seats are a bit tight on both head and leg room. Optional active seating adds active air-filled bolsters that grip driver and front passenger during more spirited driving.
Inside, the CLS Class takes the E Class's finery to the next level. Standard equipment includes a sunroof and leather upholstery, navigation, walnut wood trim, Attention Assist safety system, and 10 airbags. The CLS63 AMG adds to that spec with its monstrous drivetrain, an AMG-designed interior, and unique exterior appearance items, plus a range of higher-performance upgrades under the sheet metal.
On the safety front, the CLS Class continues to uphold Mercedes-Benz's reputation as a technology leader in the field, with standard Attention Assist to detect driver drowsiness, plus available upgrades including Pre-Safe braking assistance, Active Blind Spot Assist and Active Lane Keeping Assist, 10 airbags, and more.
Gas mileage isn't typically at the top of the list of concerns for a V-8-powered luxury sedan, but nonetheless, Mercedes-Benz has put considerable effort into making the most of both power and efficiency. The 2013 CLS 550 rates 17/25 mpg city/highway in rear-drive form, and 16/25 mpg with 4Matic all-wheel drive. The more potent CLS63 AMG rates nearly as highly, at 15/22 mpg and 18 mpg combined.