Despite the four clearly visible door handles, Mercedes-Benz affixes a coupe designation to its CLS for 2014, primarily due to the car's long hood, narrow side windows and racy fastback rear end. Indeed, the CLS is a head turner, and although it now faces competition from both BMW and Audi, it's not an easy benchmark to beat. In the CLS, buyers will find a combination of style, performance and that elusive sense of exclusivity that escapes so many rival brands. With 402 horsepower under the hood, the CLS550 is no slouch. But, if only the best will do, the 577-horsepower CLS63 AMG S performance variant is the brass ring to grab. 4Matic all-wheel drive (AWD) offers a boost to both dry-pavement performance and snow-covered sojourns.
You'll Like This Car If...
Those who desire the individual styling only a coupe can provide, but who must also occasionally usher family or clients will find much to like in the 2014 Mercedes Benz CLS. A lofty sticker price should ensure you'll be part of a small, elite club.
You May Not Like This Car If...
The 2014 Mercedes-Benz CLS doesn't come cheap, and despite its 4-door layout, rear seat space is rather cramped. An Audi A7 or BMW 6 Gran Coupe might be a better choice, as might a less expensive car, such as the Volkswagen CC.
Changes to the 2014 Mercedes-Benz CLS are limited to the AMG model, which gains more horsepower, standard 4Matic all-wheel drive and a new 577-horsepower high-performance S trim.
Driving the CLS-Class
The 2014 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 550-hp CLS63 AMG or the more potent 577-hp CLS63 AMG S models, both of which can produce 60 mph runs in less than four seconds. Both models offer steering that is laser-precise, putting the CLS in the same league as BMW's 6 Series Gran Coupe. The 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 2014 CLS assumes a relaxed personality, offering a fairly civilized ride so long as the pavement remains smooth.
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 2014 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.
2014 Mercedes-Benz CLS-Class Details
Inside, the 2014 Mercedes-Benz CLS offers all the lavishness and technology one would expect at this price point. Elevated levels of detail can be found in the dash design, the intricate stitching on the seats and door panels, and the unique wood trim colors and textures. The 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. However, don't look for matching comfort in the rear seat area, where both headroom and legroom are in short supply.
For 2014, the 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.
In addition to a 4.7-liter twin-turbo V8 mated to a 7-speed automatic transmission, every 2014 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 2014 luxury car. In the name of safety, the Mercedes CLS provides 12 airbags, Attention Assist drowsiness monitor, Electronic Stability Program and bi-xenon headlights.
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 4Matic and AMG S 4Matic can be equipped with carbon ceramic brakes, Bang & Olufsen audio and a limited-slip rear differential (standard on AMG S).
Under the Hood
The 2014 Mercedes-Benz CLS550 is powered by a 4.7-liter twin-turbocharged V8 producing 402 horsepower and 443 lb-ft of torque. Power delivery is smooth and full-bodied, matched with quick, seamless shifts. It's always a joy to have that much brute force at one's disposal. Of course, it's twice as much fun when you step into the CLS63 AMG, because it is equipped with a twin-turbo 5.5-liter V8 good for 550 hp and 531 lb-ft of torque. The CLS63 AMG S bumps output to 577 hp and 590 lb-ft of torque. Top speed for the 63 AMG is limited to 155 mph, while the S tops out at 186 mph.
For 2014, the Mercedes-Benz CLS550 has a Manufacturer's Suggested Retail Price (MSRP) starting around $73,000. That's a $20,000 leap over the equally desirable E550 coupe. Mercedes' 4Matic AWD bumps the price up by another $2,500. The CLS63 AMG 4Matic starts just north of $100,000 while the S trim starts around $107,000 and when fully loaded, tops out close to $150,000. Although there are not many direct competitors to a Mercedes CLS, it will be cross-shopped against the 2014 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.