2015 Mercedes-Benz CLS Class Review

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Nelson Ireson Nelson Ireson Senior Editor
July 22, 2015

The 2015 Mercedes-Benz CLS-Class looks better than ever, offers upgraded tech and safety, and continues to post impressive performance.

For 2015, small visual updates to the Mercedes-Benz CLS-Class inside and out, plus a few under-the-skin changes help keep it fresh. Surprisingly, the most outward change is also the most subtle—the redesigned front end gives the CLS-Class a fresh face, but without any cartoonish signs of redesign. If anything, the 2015 CLS looks the way it always should have, modern and just on the line between bold and elegant. Inside, the 2015 CLS-Class wears Mercedes’ latest interior design theme with grace, wrapped in luxurious leathers and high-quality woods, with an aesthetic that seamlessly blends classic with high-tech.

The large, luxurious cabin of the CLS-Class pairs well with its elegant exterior, potent powertrains, and high-tech features, putting it among the top four-door luxury coupes on the market. 

Under the hood, the CLS 400 gets a 3.0-liter twin-turbocharged V-6 engine rated at 329 horsepower and 354 pound-feet of torque. It’s a brisk performer, never lagging in traffic, and easily passing at any speed. The CLS 550 uses the familiar 4.6-liter twin-turbocharged V-8 engine rated at 402 horsepower and 443 pound-feet of torque for even more impressive acceleration. Both rear-wheel-drive and 4Matic all-wheel-drive versions of the CLS are available. An AMG-tuned CLS 63 AMG is also available, cranking out up to 585 horsepower.

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But the real news under the skin of the new 2015 CLS-Class is the nine-speed automatic transmission, now standard equipment on the CLS 550 rear-drive models, and later expanding to other models in the CLS-Class range. This new transmission provides even more seamless, smooth shifting, and should improve gas mileage in the real world, thanks to the additional intermediary steps and higher top gear.

It’s not all performance and luxury with the CLS-Class, however. There’s a healthy dose of technology, too, much of it aimed at keeping the occupants safe. Standard equipment in this category includes Collision Prevention Assist Plus, which can help prevent rear-end collisions through the autonomous use of brakes if necessary. Optional extras include: Distronic Plus with Steering Assist, which offers many features of semi-autonomous driving; Pre-Safe Brake with pedestrian detection; Active Blind Spot Assist; Active Lane Keeping Assist; Active Parking Assist, and more.

On the other side of the technology front, the 2015 Mercedes-Benz CLS-Class offers a host of entertainment and information features, such as the COMAND Online system, operated through the central eight-inch color high-resolution display. From internet surfing while the vehicle is stationary to one-the-go Bluetooth streaming, weather, Google Local Search, StreetView, and more, the COMAND Online system, especially in conduction with Mercedes-Benz Apps, offers much for the tech-head to love.

The 2015 Mercedes-Benz CLS-Class arrived in the U.S. in the fall of 2014.

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2015 Mercedes-Benz CLS Class

Styling

The 2015 Mercedes-Benz CLS-Class offers fresh new styling inside and out, maintaining its position as a sedan to gawk over.

Last updated visually for the 2012 model year, the 2015 Mercedes-Benz CLS-Class brings a fresh new look for the new model year, with an updated exterior and a redesigned interior.

The new look retains the fashion-forward look of the coupe-styled sedan, sharpening its appeal with a new front end that cleans up the lines and updates to better match the newest of the Mercedes-Benz lineup. The long, arching curve that defines the CLS’ silhouette remains, with short front and rear overhangs enhancing the sleek, coupe-like side view.

Inside, the new interior design theme seen in the 2015 C-Class and 2015 S-Class brings the CLS-Class fully in line with the brand’s latest offerings. Classy and upscale, the new look and feel blends classic themes like real wood and metal trim in a thoroughly modern, luxurious style that will appeal to a wide range of buyers.

AMG models get an even more aggressive look outside, with larger air inlets, more aerodynamic elements, more aggressive wheels and tires, and, inside, special AMG-specific touches that add a definite performance air to match the potential waiting under the hood.

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2015 Mercedes-Benz CLS Class

Performance

Performance is brisk in all 2015 CLS-Class models, but the AMG variant is breathtakingly quick.

The 2015 Mercedes-Benz CLS-Class spans a broad range of performance, from the CLS 400 to the CLS 63 AMG, but all models offer ample power and brisk acceleration.

The newest performance-related offering for the 2015 CLS-Class is a nine-speed transmission, available first in CLS 550 rear-drive models, but expanding to other models in the range later in the model year. Adding extra shift points and revised gearing, the new nine-speed automatic proved both smooth-shifting and intelligent in its gear selection during our time with the car.

The entry point is the new CLS 400, powered by a twin-turbochared 3.0-liter V-6 engine rated at 329 horsepower and 354 pound-feet of torque. While Mercedes-Benz hasn’t yet released acceleration specs for the CLS 400, but from our drive time in the car, we note it provides quick and lively acceleration at any speed.

Next up the range is the CLS 550, powered by a 4.6-liter twin-turbocharged V-8 engine, rated at 402 horsepower and 443 pound-feet of torque. Where the CLS 400 is brisk, the CLS 550 is downright quick, hitting 60 mph in just 5.1 seconds.

At the top of the CLS-Class performance range sits the CLS 63 AMG. Powered by a 5.5-liter twin-turbocharged V-8 engine with up to 585 horsepower and 577 pound-feet of torque in S Model trim, the CLS 63 AMG offers nearly supercar-level acceleration and impressive handling for a large coupe-sedan thanks to AMG adaptive suspension. It’s the driver’s selection of the group, to be sure.

All CLS-Class models offer relaxed, comfortable cruising when desired, but also the ability to turn up the wick and engage a curvy road with grace—an impressive combination for a car of its size. AMG models burn even brighter, pushing both driver and car toward the absolute limits.

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2015 Mercedes-Benz CLS Class

Comfort & Quality

The cabin of the 2015 Mercedes-Benz CLS-Class benefits from upgrades this year, though the back seat is still a bit tight.

The 2015 Mercedes-Benz CLS-Class keeps all of its key passenger-comfort dimensions from last year, including the 113.2-inch wheelbase and the somewhat snug back seat.

In the front seat, the 2015 CLS-Class’s redesigned interior presents a beautiful environment for the eyes, but also for the occupants. Seats are roomy and comfortable, with ample adjustment (14-way electronic seats are standard) for a wide range of sizes and body types. Active bolstered further enhance comfort and stability in spirited driving, and seat ventilation is also available.

There are some compromises in the rear seat due to the swooping, arched coupe-like roofline, however. Headroom is not abundant, though only taller occupants are likely to notice. Adults fit fairly easily, but those seeking to transport three or four adults regularly may prefer the E-Class or S-Class.

The new model year’s upgraded interior brings with it new looks and even better-looking and -feeling materials, including real wood and metal trim, high-quality plastics, and stunning displays. Leather upholstery is standard, and AMG models can opt for Nappa leather for even richer textures.

In-cabin storage is fair, in the form of a space in the center console, door pockets, and a pair of large cupholders. Trunk space is fair, if smaller than the first-generation CLS-Class. An optional power-closing trunk lid eases use, too.

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2015 Mercedes-Benz CLS Class

Safety

The 2015 Mercedes-Benz CLS-Class packs first-class standard and available safety technology.

The 2015 Mercedes-Benz CLS-Class hasn’t been crash-tested by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) or Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS), but the brand’s reputation for solid construction and high-tech safety equipment should put buyers at ease.

With 10 standard airbags, Attention Assist monitoring driver alertness, active head restraints, Pre-Safe emergency brake assist, anti-lock brakes, stability and traction control, and more on the standard safety equipment list, the 2015 CLS-Class is at the front of the pack in safety gear.

Optional safety extras can boost assistance technologies to nearly next-generation status: Night View Assist Plus with pedestrian detection; Blind Spot Assist; Lane Keeping Assist; Distronic Plus with Steering Assist; Active Park Assist; and more are all available.

From a passive standpoint, visibility out of the CLS is generally good, though the rear-three-quarters view can be somewhat obstructed by the low roof and thick roof supports, depending on driver height. The standard rearview camera and parking assist systems help mitigate this, however.

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2015 Mercedes-Benz CLS Class

Features

Extensive standard features with room to upgrade even further make the 2015 CLS-Class an incredibly well-equipped car.

Like any Mercedes-Benz, and more than some, the 2015 CLS-Class offers an impressive set of standard and available features, from comfort to technology and more.

Standard equipment includes a 610-watt, 14-speaker harmon/kardon LOGIC7 audio system with Dolby Digital 5.1 surround sound, using a sound profile specific to the CLS. Included with the standard system are Bluetooth audio streaming, SiriusXM satellite radio, and the Gracenote music database, plus 10GB of hard drive music storage and iPod/MP3 compatibility. An optional Burmester sound system offers a beautiful upgrade for the ears and eyes, with its  exquisite speaker grilles and impressive sound.

For tech on the go, Apple iPad owners can opt for a docking station that allows rear-seat passengers to watch movies, surf the web, play music, and more. A built-in rear-seat entertainment system is also offered, with dual 7.0-inch screens, DVD player, and SD/USB input.

COMAND infotainment bundles control of the car’s major in-cabin functions with navigation, music, voice-activation, and more. The mbrace2 telematics system, also accessed through the COMAND interface, offers a wide array of remote services, including a Concierge function with 24-hour personal assistance. Mercedes-Benz Apps offer Google Local Search, Facebook, Yelp, and other app functionality.

AMG models offer many of the standard and optional features of standard CLS-Class models, including standard Collision Prevention Assist, an Alcantara headliner, AMG-specific wheels, and more.

For the individualist, Mercedes-Benz offers a wide array of paint, upholstery, trim, and wheel styles.

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2015 Mercedes-Benz CLS Class

Fuel Economy

Not yet rated by the EPA, the 2015 CLS-Class promises to improve on its previous ratings with a new nine-speed transmission and turbo V-6 engine.

The 2015 Mercedes-Benz CLS-Class achieves fairly good gas mileage ratings considering its size and performance. The base CLS400 in rear-drive form rates 20 mpg city, 30 mpg highway, and 24 mpg combined. Adding all-wheel drive knocks 2 mpg off the highway and combined ratings.

The CLS550 rear-drive gets a nine-speed automatic transmission that helps it achieve 17 mpg city, 26 mpg highway, and 21 mpg combined; the all-wheel drive CLS550 4Matic rates 17/24/19 mpg.

For the CLS 63 AMG crowd, gas mileage isn’t likely a priority, but it still does quite well considering the car’s size, luxury, and power. The 2015 CLS 63 AMG rates 16 mpg city, 22 mpg highway, and 18 mpg combined.

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October 15, 2015
2015 Mercedes-Benz CLS Class 4-Door Sedan CLS 550 4MATIC

Godd car, harsh ride on bumps.

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It is time to increase the horsepower and improve the ride on rough surface. Otherwise it is a great car.
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