- Stylishly aggressive design
- Powerful, refined V-8 engines
- Incredible handling and performance in AMG trim
- Excellent front seats
- Impressive nfotainment and telematics features
- Rear-seat head room still tight
- High price tag
- Interior somewhat over-wrought
- COMAND is what it is
The 2014 Mercedes-Benz CLS retains its fashion-forward look, while adding efficiency and, in AMG form, even more impressive performance.
Well-rounded and luxurious, the 2014 Mercedes-Benz CLS-Class ranges from a stylish cruiser to a stunning performer, and most stops between. Only minimal changes have been made since the new CLS-Class was introduced in 2012, but then you don't mess with success.
Sharing its oily bits with the E Class, but with a more athletic, coupe-like silhouette, the CLS-Class presents a compelling, almost glamorous image--though some may find it a touch overwrought.
Behind the wheel, the CLS offers relaxed, comfortable cruising as its primary fare, though the high-performance CLS63 AMG adds a dash of agility and a strong dose of horsepower. The standard CLS 550 isn't underpowered by any means, with 402 horses from its 4.6-liter twin-turbo V-8 engine. A seven-speed automatic transmission is standard across most of the range.
An air suspension and all-wheel drive are also available, making the CLS comfortable in most road conditions, and capable even in snowy weather. The performance-minded will seek the CLS63 AMG for its 550 horsepower and upgraded suspension (and the quick-shifting MCT automatic transmission), but the AMG treatment also includes interior upgrades and a more aggressively styled exterior. AMG models gets all-wheel drive as standard equipment for 2014, and a new CLS63 AMG S Model joins the range with 577 horsepower and 590 pound-feet of torque.
Throughout the CLS range, the front seats are spacious and plush. Optional active seating adds active air bladders that hug and hold the driver based on the conditions. Rear-seat space is a bit more cramped, short on head and leg room, owing to the four-door-coupe profile.
Quality and equipment are a step above the CLS-Class' E-Class roots, with standard items like a sunroof, leather upholstery, navigation, walnut wood trim, advanced safety electronics, and 10 airbags.
The 2014 Mercedes-Benz CLS hasn't yet been rated by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) or the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS), but ample standard and available safety equipment makes the CLS a safe pick for safe driving.
Gas mileage isn't great when compared to modern luxury hybrids, but it's not abysmal, either, even in AMG trim. Ranging from the thirsty CLS63 AMG 4Matic at 16 mpg city, 22 mpg highway, and 18 mpg combined, to the comparatively efficient rear-drive CLS 550 at 18/27/21 mpg, the CLS range delivers gas mileage that's about average for its size and performance.