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2012 Mercedes-Benz CLS-Class

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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
9.4
Out of 10

Based on 25 Ratings for the 2012 - 2016 models.

Review this car
  • Value
    8.7/10
    Quality
    9.4/10
  • Reliability
    9.7/10
    Performance
    9.6/10
  • Comfort
    9.4/10
    Styling
    9.4/10

Nicest High end car I have owned.....

By on Wednesday, May 11, 2016

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 1,200

10 9.0
overall rating 9 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

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

Pros: "Quick, sleek and comfortable."

Cons: "Telephone/Electronics need an update to 2016 stds"

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

"This car has most everything I was looking for....power, comfort and amenities. The phone system in the car is a drawback as it is not voice responsive. I had a 2014 Corvette convertible and was looking for something that was easier on my aging back, but was still sexy and quick......This for now is meeting those needs."

4 people out of 7 found this review helpful

Untouchable

By on Wednesday, February 17, 2016

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 7,000

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
8/10

Pros: "power, quality"

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

"this is my third CLS, but this time I went for the S model AMG, and its unbelievable, although the 550 is crazy on its own, but CLS63 s AMG is in class by it self, when MB says 3.4 seconds to 60 they are being conservative, its little faster, not many cars can out run this baby."

2 people out of 5 found this review helpful

She's a brick house...

By on Sunday, November 8, 2015

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 5,000

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
9/10
Comfort
10/10

Pros: "Sexy, fun to drive, solid performance"

Cons: "It's a coupe- limited vision from back windows"

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

"I never thought a car could be this much fun to drive. She's solid, holds the road like a big cat and her power will knock your socks off. Instant, no hesitation performance. A remarkable feat of engineering."

20 people out of 30 found this review helpful

Most amazing vehicle I've ever driven

By on Monday, September 7, 2015

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 500

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: "I love to drive this BEAST"

Cons: "The navi system is a tick behind the competition"

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

"First of all the car is drop dead gorgeous. The deep red with the saddle/black interior looks awesome. I can't tell you impressed I am after a couple of hundred miles. So smooth, solid and luxurious. The fit, finish & quality are truly impressive. I am I life long Lexus guy and I will point out the differences. This is my first German car. I was looking for luxury, power and good looks in a 4 door car. In my opinion, nothing looks better in that class than the MB CLS. I did not buy the 550 because I thought the 400 had more than enough power and I like a little more gas mileage. Also, the money I saved could go into equipment. Specs: 1. 2016 CLS 400 2. P1 & P2 3. Semi aniline leather 4. Distronic pkg 5. Park assist 6. Folding rear seats 7. Wheel package 8. Multi contour seats Positives: Very well made, gorgeous interior and yes I do like the Ipad on the dash. It's nice and big and it's right in your face. The technology is excellent, especially the distronic package, It does work very well. Great handling and plenty of power. Spacious and super comfortable. Negatives: I don't believe the music interface and the navigation is quite up to Lexus in the way it works and performs. WHAT IS WITH THOSE STUPID DOOR LOCK PINS? I never liked the back tires larger than the front tires, rotation issues. It makes no sense to me. Overall, I am totally blown away with this car. It is a pleasure to get in it every day. Ordered it on Memorial day, arrived in port on 9/1, delivered 9/4. Loving it ever since."

17 people out of 28 found this review helpful

Awesome!

By on Saturday, August 8, 2015

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 33,500

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
9/10
Comfort
9/10

Pros: "great price, comfortable, rolling along at 140mph"

Cons: "none"

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

"CLS63 AMG is Number 5 of the Mercedes-Benz line. I am permanent & total disabled no complaints, Overall a #10 for a Grand vehicle."

7 people out of 15 found this review helpful

Best car I have ever owned.

By on Wednesday, July 15, 2015

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 43,000

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
9/10

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

"Better than other MB models I have owned, my current is a 2013 and I recenely ordered a new 2016 to be delivered next week."

10 people out of 17 found this review helpful

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