Because the Mercedes-Benz CLS-Class is made in very limited numbers compared to other luxury sedans, neither the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) nor the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) has performed any crash tests on the 2009 Mercedes-Benz CLS.
However, the CLS’s list of standard safety gear is impressive. In addition to the full complement of airbags (eight in all, according to ForbesAutos), the Mercedes-Benz 2009 offers numerous high-tech safety features that are not found on every vehicle. These include the company's Pre-Safe system. This may be the ultimate in "smart car" accident-avoidance technology; when an "imminent and unavoidable collision" is detected, the system takes a number of protective measures automatically. Edmunds notes, “The 2009 Mercedes-Benz CLS-Class comes standard with antilock disc brakes, active front head restraints, stability control, side curtain and abdomen airbags at all outboard positions and a driver's knee airbag. Also standard is the PreSafe system, which, when it senses an impending collision (via rapid braking and steering patterns), automatically tightens up the seatbelts, closes the sunroof and positions the right front seat for optimum airbag protection.” Cars.com reports that this system "pre-tensions seat belts, moves the seats into a safer position and closes the sunroof." Kelley Blue Book notes that standard safety equipment in the Mercedes-Benz 2009 CLS models includes "electronic stability protection" and "an advanced electro-hydraulic braking system."
The only negative issue noted is the Mercedes-Benz 2009 CLS's "low roofline and high beltline," which, according to ForbesAutos, can "impair outward visibility." In an otherwise mostly giddily gushing review of the 2007 model, Car and Driver says the high beltline "makes looking out of the car and around the various pillars like poking your head out of a trash can that's sitting in a jail cell."