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2012 Mercedes-Benz CLS-Class

Overview
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2012 Mercedes-Benz CLS-Class Review

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When the Mercedes-Benz CLS first launched in 2004, it was touted as a four-door coupe, combining the emotion and charisma of a sleek two-door with the comfort and practicality of a traditional four-door sedan. With it, Mercedes established a new tier of elegance within its line-up. For 2012, the CLS arrives for its second act. Still a head-turner, the new Mercedes-Benz CLS sedan now trades some of its sensuality and artfulness for a dose of aggression and sporting character. The 2012 CLS550 looks and feels more like a driver's car, and is backed by a robust 402-horsepower engine. Not enough oomph for you? An uber-powerful AMG version is also available. Although the Mercedes CLS's disposition has clearly changed a bit, the car's exclusivity remains perfectly intact.

You'll Like This Car If...

The 2012 Mercedes-Benz CLS is for affluent buyers looking for an equal-parts blend of sophistication and dynamism. It is for those who want to enjoy luxury-sedan comforts, but who also have the desire to make a bold fashion statement. You will turn more than your fair share of heads with the Mercedes CLS. Guaranteed.

You May Not Like This Car If...

For those shopping specifically for a Mercedes, but are still mindful of the bottom line, the CLS550 may seem a bit too pricey, especially since the Mercedes E550 offers much of the same for a noticeably lower sticker. The question then becomes, is the CLS's unique styling worth the price premium?

What's New for 2012

The 2012 Mercedes-Benz CLS550 brags a meaner, more coupe-like design and driving dynamics to match. Ride and handling have both been improved, and a more powerful engine has arrived. Within, you'll find a better-defined cockpit and a larger roster of tech highlights.

Driving the CLS-Class

Driving Impressions The 2012 Mercedes-Benz CLS550 is a true driver's car. Power comes from a hearty 402-hp 4.7-liter twin-turbo V8 that allows the sedan to launch strong from the line and accelerate...

effortlessly in mid-sprint. Passing power is in abundance, to say the least. And though there is a 518-hp AMG model on the way – MSRP: $94,900 – it hardly seems necessary. In terms of driving dynamics, the Mercedes CLS550 has improved on all fronts. Steering, in particular, is laser precise, putting the CLS right on par with BMW 5 Series and 6 Series cars when it comes to sheer driver control. The new CLS inspires confidence through hard cornering and high-speed lane changes, and it feels smaller than it actually is. But when you're not pushing it hard, the 2012 CLS assumes a relaxed personality. It offers a smooth ride as it glides along, whether on long country sweepers or bumpy city streets.

Adaptive Highbeam Assist
This innovative camera-based system can detect oncoming vehicles and automatically dip one or both headlight beams, while also adjusting their range, in order to create the ideal lighting conditions for both you and the oncoming driver. Also enhancing the Mercedes CLS550's lighting package are optional full LED headlamps.

Electromechanical Direct-Steer System
The 2012 Mercedes CLS550 is the first Benz to have this newly-engineered system. Responsive and precise, it is one of the primary reasons for the CLS550's newfound driving dynamics. Beyond its sporting nature, the system contributes to the vehicle's overall efficiency by only drawing energy when actual steering is taking place.

2012 Mercedes-Benz CLS-Class Details
2012 Mercedes-Benz CLS-Class photo Interior

Inside, the 2012 Mercedes-Benz CLS offers all the lavishness and technology one would expect at this price point. Mercedes always seems a half step ahead of its competitors in this area. With the CLS, all that is intimated on the outside continues within. You get that notion at all four seats, but most intensely in the driver's position. The Mercedes CLS cockpit is defined by near-perfect ergonomics and a solid, tactile feel. Seats are highly-bolstered and designed for both spirited driving and long-distance cruising. From splashes of rich burl wood trim to full leather interior, upscale luxury abounds here.

Exterior
2012 Mercedes-Benz CLS-Class photo

The 2012 Mercedes-Benz CLS is as distinctive as ever. Its signature roofline and shapely greenhouse give the car a flowing, uninterrupted form that extends rearwards to a sleek fastback profile. But this year, the CLS takes on a harder-edged personality, exuding a nice shot of performance character. It is spearheaded with a larger, more ominous big-star grille, flanked by optional full-LED headlamps. Body lines are more sharply sculpted, and the Mercedes CLS moves further into coupe territory with its longer hood and shorter overhangs. Overall, the new CLS is simply a more aggressive-looking package.

Notable Equipment
Standard Equipment

In addition to a 4.7-liter twin-turbo V8 mated to a seven-speed automatic transmission, every 2012 Mercedes-Benz CLS550 features an adjustable air suspension. Inside, you'll find a navigation system, 14-speaker harman/kardon sound system, 14-way power front seats, and many of the other goodies you'd expect in a 2012 model year luxury car. In the name of safety, the Mercedes CLS provides 12 airbags, Attention Assist drowsiness monitor, Electronic Stability Program and Bi-Xenon headlamps.

Optional Equipment

Top options on the Mercedes CLS550 include full LED headlamps, a back-up camera, heated and ventilated front seats, iPod interface, split-folding rear seats and an electric trunk closer. Available driver assist technologies – more than a dozen in all – include such innovations as Adaptive Highbeam Assist, Distronic PLUS cruise control, Active Blind Spot Assist, Active Lane Keeping Assist, Parktronic with Advanced Parking Assist, and Night View Assist PLUS with Pedestrian Detection. To enhance the performance equation, there's a Sport Package for the 2012 CLS550 that adds high-performance tires plus AMG-styled wheels and steering wheel.

Under the Hood

The 2012 Mercedes-Benz CLS550 is powered by a smaller-but-more-powerful engine than last year's CLS: a 4.7-liter twin-turbo V8 in place of the previous 5.5-liter V8. Output is 402 hp – 20 more than before – and 443 lb.-ft. of torque. Power delivery is smooth and full-bodied (yes, much like a well-brewed stout), matched with quick, seamless shifts. It's always a hoot to have that much brute force at one's disposal. EPA fuel economy for the 2012 Mercedes CLS – 17 city/26 highway – are much better than the 2011 CLS550 (14 city/21 highway), even with the uptick in power.

4.7-liter twin-turbo V8
402 horsepower @ 5,000-5,750 rpm
443 lb.-ft. of torque @ 1,800-4,750 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 17/26 (automatic)

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2012 Mercedes-Benz CLS-Class Consumer Reviews

Overall Rating
9.1
Out of 10

Based on 16 Ratings for the 2012 - 2014 models.

Review this car
  • Value
    8.2/10
    Quality
    9.0/10
  • Reliability
    9.5/10
    Performance
    9.4/10
  • Comfort
    9.3/10
    Styling
    9.3/10

Gorgeous Car

By on Friday, July 04, 2014

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 15,000

10 10.0
overall rating 10 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
10/10
Value
10/10
Reliability
10/10
Quality
10/10
Performance
10/10
Styling
10/10
Comfort
10/10

Cons: "None"

Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 10

"The CLS is a beautiful, stunning car on the exterior and with it's high performance engine - such fun to drive. It's a perfect car - high performance, looks, personality, all - wheel drive (a must in the snowy winters we have) PLUS - great gas mileage!"

2 people out of 4 found this review helpful

THIS CAR LOOKS GOOD AND DRIVES BETTER-4 DOOR COUPE

By on Friday, April 18, 2014

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 17,240

10 9.0
overall rating 9 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
9/10
Value
10/10
Reliability
9/10
Quality
9/10
Performance
10/10
Styling
10/10
Comfort
10/10

Pros: "Great fun to drive car.produces lots compliments"

Cons: "Wish car had better factory tires!"

Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 9

"Great handling car, which still draws compliments. Great driver's car, with an engine which performs and sounds good, too! Rear seats fold down, to increase luggage capacity. Sporty drive and look in a 4 door couple! Another AMG success!"

4 people out of 7 found this review helpful

Now THIS is the car I've been waiting for!

By on Wednesday, February 26, 2014

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 1,100

10 10.0
overall rating 10 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
10/10
Value
9/10
Reliability
10/10
Quality
10/10
Performance
10/10
Styling
10/10
Comfort
10/10

Pros: "Drives great, so comfortable, beautiful!!"

Cons: "No power folding exterior mirrors-??"

Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 10

"Didn't think I could ever give up the BMW driving experience... test drove every luxury sedan (Audi, Lexus, BMW, Jag, Porsche...) and this just blows them all away. Best of all worlds with the power, performance, handling, luxury, and features. It makes me WANT to drive, and what a joy to take others for a ride. Select sport/comfort transmission at the push of a button. Fuel economy is not bad with the eco start/stop feature. Things like the power seat with massage and gorgeous wood/leather steering wheel with thumb grips and paddle shifters are just icing on the cake. Tons of storage between the center console, glove box, and under seat compartments. Flawless bluetooth streaming of calls and music. Speakers everywhere for the Harman Kardon surround sound. MB customer service is outstanding. I'm hooked and I'll never look back!"

7 people out of 11 found this review helpful

I have fallen in Love with it.

By on Sunday, February 09, 2014

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 39,000

10 9.0
overall rating 9 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
9/10
Value
7/10
Reliability
9/10
Quality
10/10
Performance
8/10
Styling
8/10
Comfort
9/10

Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 10

"Handles great, I love the innovative safety technology,beautiful look. Tires and wheels are the only issue. As is typical with sports wheels (20 in) I have to watch out for bumps that may damage wheels and tires are expensive to replace.I do get the wheels touched up periodically ($120). I would buy it again in a heartbeat."

1 person out of 1 found this review helpful

wow

By on Saturday, February 08, 2014

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 19,000

10 10.0
overall rating 10 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
10/10
Value
10/10
Reliability
10/10
Quality
10/10
Performance
10/10
Styling
10/10
Comfort
10/10

Pros: "all around beautiful car,"

Cons: "back seat is slightly tight but not uncomfortable"

Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 10

"This car is sleek, fast, well appointed and fun to drive. The 4 matic works great in inclimate weather. Favorite features are the distronic cruise, messaging seat and the awesome HK sound system. I typically don't drive at excessive speed but when you feel the need, this thing literally sucks you to the seat and growls. All around beautiful machine, quality throughout. Nice trunk space too."

2 people out of 2 found this review helpful

There is a place for your sunglasses

By on Wednesday, January 08, 2014

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 16,000

10 9.0
overall rating 9 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
9/10
Value
Not Rated
Reliability
Not Rated
Quality
Not Rated
Performance
Not Rated
Styling
Not Rated
Comfort
Not Rated

Cons: "easy to bump on cruise control"

Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 10

"I don't know why everyone keeps stating there is no where to put your sunglasses, perhaps they haven't done a full inspection of the interior? You can put your sunglasses in the holders that are under both of front two seats. I use this area somtimes to hold my shoes (hate driving in heals) but it can also hold sunglasses. The middle holder is also quite big, it holds chanel 2.55 without a problem (except for the 227 model..to big) :). This is a great, fun car to drive and I would definitly recommend it. My husband bought me this when it first came out in 2012 and I am still not bored with it"

3 people out of 3 found this review helpful

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