The Mercedes-Benz CLS took our eyes in 2003 and effectively never returned them. You are drawn to its profile, that star in the grille, its four-door coupe curves and frameless windows capturing your attention, even before you are consciously aware of it. Now the third generation CLS seeks to take up where the previous parked up, and from my introduction to it at the Irish launch, I can confidently predict that the nations eyes will once more be drawn, heads will nod approvingly and lips will smack – street style like the 2018 CLS can do that.
Prices for the new CLS diesel start at €64,805 for the CLS 300d Automatic, with the CLS 350d Automatic 4MATIC asking €76,965 to share its company, whilst a donation of €85,760 is required to declare ownership of the CLS 450 Automatic 4Matic.
The Original of the Species
Running on E-Class underpinnings, the CLS carries visual DNA from the Mercedes-AMG GT and now provides five-seat comfort, (up one seat from the precious models), wrapped in clothing that it pioneered, its sloping front and rear, its high-arched waistline the forerunner for others – the Audi A7, Porsche Panamera and BMW 6-Series all joining the niche segment created by the CLS some eighteen years ago.
2018 CLS Dimension Difference
The 2018 CLS stands on a wheelbase of 2935mm, which is 61mm more than the model it replaces. It has also grown in length, now 4988mm, up from 4937mm from the previous model. Its width is now 1890mm – up from 1881mm, and its height is now 1428mm, up from 1418m).
CLS Diesel Engines
We will have to wait until 2019 to see the rear-wheel drive CLS 220d. Until then the CLS 300d, also rear-wheel drive, is expected to be the popular choice in Ireland, with the 6-cylinder CLS350d 4MATIC and similar-cylindered CLS400d 4MATIC further down the menu. Those with the need can opt for the CLS 450 4MATIC V6-cylinder petrol version with its energetic 362BHP.
CLS – The Inside Story
Sitting into the CLS your hands fall to the multi-function steering wheel, as in the S-Class. You then find yourself wrapped in bespoke seating, the familiarity between it and the E-Class equally welcoming, as your eyes scan the 12.3” dual digital screens, the colour-changing air vents, its ambient lighting giving you 64 choices of colour, the ooze of quality drips of every switch and surface. Boot space is 520 litres, with the rear seats offering a 40/20/40 split.
The new CLS comes with latest touch-screen infotainment, safety and driver assistance systems that include Lane Keeping Assist, Adaptive Cruise Control, Anti-Collision, all of this bordering on full-automation, giving reasonable expectation that the next generation CLS in roughly five year’s time, will have a copious level of artificial intelligence.
On the Road
Out through the village of Enniskerry and onto the Dublin/Wicklow Mountains is hardly the average territory for CLS owners. That said, during my short test drive the CLS dealt with the vagaries of the Sally and Wicklow Gaps with the aplomb expected from its well-bred heritage.
Executive cars like the CLS have come a long way in recent years, their ability to boogie admirable, sway and roll of heretofore resigned to the past. Certainly, a more extensive drive would be required to properly assess its liveability, but initial impressions are very positive.
My test car was the CLS300d, powered by a four-cylinder turbodiesel, with 245bhp and delivering its drive through a numerically impressive 9-speed automatic. The larger six-cylinder 350d with its 286bhp will delight those looking for that smoothness that only six can bring.
As a grand tourer, the 2018 Mercedes CLS ticks a lot of boxes. Now coming with that fifth rear seat, it has the style to vogue it on the High Street and the sportiness to entertain in the mountains. Best prepare your eyes for some automotive fixation.
Motoring Correspondent beepbeep.ie
Member of the Association of Priofessional Motor Press
Voting juror on Irish Car & Irish Van of the Year