KBB Editors' Overview
By KBB.com Editors - Updated Date: 10/10/2012
Hailed as the first "4-door coupe," the Mercedes-Benz CLS for 2013 carries on as the segment's most attractive 4-door coupe – in rear-wheel (RWD) or all-wheel-drive (AWD) forms. No longer alone in the segment it created, the CLS has many imitators but few real rivals. That's because the CLS's combination of looks, performance, interior style and overall exclusivity is not easy to replicate, let alone improve upon. The 2013 CLS comes in two variations, one being the rather formidable 402-horsepower CLS550, and the other just your run-of-the-mill 518-horsepower CLS63 AMG, a performance variant designed by Mercedes' in-house tuner. While both cars will turn heads as quickly as they can dash to 60 mph, the CLS63 AMG is the one to gun for, but only if you can manage the near $100,000 price tag.
You'll Like This Car If...
If you're looking for a stylish coupe that makes a statement wherever it goes, but you sometimes have the need to shuttle clients or kin to and fro, the 4-door design of the 2013 Mercedes-Benz CLS Coupe is the most logical solution.
You May Not Like This Car If...
If the 2013 Mercedes CLS's styling has you all atwitter, but its $75K starting price has you singing the blues, a less pricey German 4-door coupe, such as the VW CC, might be able to fill the gap. Those who truly need room for four adults will find the CLS's rear seat of little value.
What's New for 2013
Changes to the 2013 Mercedes-Benz CLS are limited to the upgraded mbrace2 telematics that includes access to in-vehicle apps.
The 2013 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. If, however, you feel the need for more power, look to the 518-hp CLS63 AMG model that can dash to 60 mph in just 4.4 seconds. Both models offer steering that 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 2013 CLS assumes a relaxed personality. It offers a smooth ride as it glides along, whether on long country sweepers or bumpy city streets.
ADAPTIVE HIGH-BEAM 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 headlights.
ELECTROMECHANICAL DIRECT-STEER SYSTEM
Responsive and precise, it is one of the primary reasons for the 2013 Mercedes CLS's impressive driving dynamics. Beyond its sporting nature, the system contributes to the vehicle's overall efficiency by drawing energy only when actual steering is taking place.
Inside, the 2013 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 burled wood trim to full leather interior, upscale luxury abounds here.
The 2013 Mercedes-Benz CLS is as distinctive as ever. Its signature roofline and shapely greenhouse give the car a flowing, uninterrupted form that extends rearward to a sleek fastback profile. But, unlike Mercedes' other sedans, 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 headlights. Body lines are 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 than you'll find on an E- or S-Class.
Notable Standard Equipment
In addition to a 4.7-liter twin-turbo V8 mated to a 7-speed automatic transmission, every 2013 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 amenities you'd expect in a 2013 luxury car. In the name of safety, the Mercedes CLS provides 12 airbags, Attention Assist drowsiness monitor, Electronic Stability Program and bi-xenon headlights.
Notable Optional Equipment
Top options on the Mercedes CLS550 include full LED headlights, a rearview camera, heated and ventilated front seats, iPod interface, split-folding rear seats and an electric trunk closer. Available driver assist technologies include 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. The CLS63 AMG can be equipped with carbon ceramic brakes, Bang & Olufsen audio and a Performance Package that bumps horsepower to 550 and torque to 590 lb-ft.
Under the Hood
The 2013 Mercedes-Benz CLS550 is powered by a 4.7-liter twin-turbo V8 producing 402 hp 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. Of course, it's twice the hoot when you step into the CLS63 AMG, because it is equipped with a twin-turbocharged 5.5-liter V8 good for 518 horsepower and 516 lb-ft of torque. Tack on the optional Performance Package and those figures jump to 550 and 590 respectively.
4.7-liter twin-turbo V8
402 horsepower @ 5000-5750 rpm
443 lb-ft of torque @ 1800-4750 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 17/26 mpg (RWD), 16/25 mpg (AWD)
5.5-liter twin-turbo V8
518 horsepower @ 5250 rpm
550 horsepower @ 5250 with Performance Package
516 lb-ft of torque @ 1750-5000 rpm
590 lb-ft of torque @ 1750-5000 rpm with Performance Package
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 16/25 mpg
The 2013 Mercedes-Benz CLS550 has a Manufacturer's Suggested Retail Price (MSRP) starting around $73,000. That's more than $20,000 over an E550 coupe, a price premium you may not be willing to pay for a more opulent outer show. Mercedes' 4Matic AWD bumps the price up by another $2,500. The CLS63 AMG starts just shy of $98,000 and can go as high as $150,000 fully equipped. Although there are not many direct competitors to a Mercedes CLS, it will be cross-shopped against the new BMW 6 Series Gran Coupe and Audi A7. To see what others in your area are paying for CLS models, check out the Fair Purchase Price on KBB.com. As with past Mercedes CLS models, the new CLS-Class is expected to hold strong long-term residual values, on par with the rest of the Mercedes brand.