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TheCarConnection.com's car experts studied road tests of the 2009 Mercedes-Benz CLS-Class to write this definitive review. TheCarConnection.com's editors also drove the Mercedes-Benz CLS-Class and contributed driving impressions and details where they help you make a better decision.
- Voluptuous body and racy profile
- Well-crafted interior
- Stunning power with AMG version
- Claustrophobic backseat
- Softer handling on base version
- Reduced visibility
Mercedes-Benz dubs the CLS a “four-door coupe.” That’s not much of an exaggeration, as the CLS has a very aggressive, coupe-like profile even though it’s mechanically related to the more traditional E-Class sedan.
In just its fourth model year on the market, the sensual Mercedes-Benz CLS-Class gets a mild face-lift for 2009, with a dramatic two-bar grille and a sleeker nose. New dual-five-spoke 18-inch wheels, a new rear bumper with trapezoidal dual exhaust pipes, and arrow-shaped LED taillights round out a few changes that make the CLS models quite eye-catching.
The thoroughly modern exterior styling is met with a more traditional appearance inside, with plenty of real wood veneers; a new three-spoke steering wheel and white-faced instruments have silver backgrounds to give the instrument cluster a more dashing appearance for 2009. A center-console display incorporates Bluetooth for hands-free cell phone operation, voice control of audio and phone, and a six-CD changer.
The CLS line includes two models: the CLS 550, powered by a 382-horsepower, 5.5-liter V-8 engine, and the high-performance CLS63 AMG, which sports an AMG-designed 6.2-liter V-8 that produces a muscular 507 hp and 465 pound-feet of torque. Fuel economy is less than that of most sedans; teamed with a slick-shifting seven-speed automatic, the CLS 550 gets 14 mpg city, 21 mpg highway—not a stunning achievement. The 507-hp CLS63 AMG is blurringly fast but even less efficient.
The 2009 Mercedes-Benz CLS 550 has a well-balanced rear-drive chassis and an air suspension, but the ride is almost too living-room-sofa-like and the steering a little slow to respond. The AMG version is a welcome improvement, offering firm yet supple handling without much of a sacrifice in ride quality. Overall, the 2009 Mercedes-Benz CLS 550 has an appealing luxury feel that's the opposite of the taut, tightly drawn handling of a BMW 5-Series, for example.