By Joe Tralongo, Contributing Editor
KBB Expert Rating: 7.8
The idea of the “4-door coupe” was invented by Mercedes-Benz, and no one yet has built a better example than the 2016 CLS-Class coupe, which comes in rear-wheel or all-wheel-drive (RDW, AWD) form. Pitted against such newcomers as the Audi A7 and BMW 6 Gran Coupe, the CLS still looks fresh and vibrant, although last year’s refreshed front end somewhat diminished the original car’s streamlined appearance. As brilliant on an enclosed track as it is on the open road, the 2016 CLS coupe from Mercedes-Benz offers its owners a sense of exclusivity and envy few cars can match. If you can swing the nearly $110,000 asking price, the 577-horsepower CLS63 AMG S 4Matic is your guest pass to a world shared only by a privileged few.
If you’re looking for a high-end luxury performance car and don’t really care about back-seat legroom or trunk size, the Mercedes-Benz CLS-Class coupe for 2016 will likely win you over. Powerful, attractive and somewhat rare, the cars of the CLS-Class will always be desirable.
For some, a coupe isn’t a coupe if it has four doors. If comfort and utility are as important as performance and prestige, a nice S-Class or even BMW 7 Series will likely make a better choice. If money is a concern, surprise yourself by test-driving Hyundai’s affordable Genesis sedan.
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The 2016 Mercedes-Benz CLS550 4Matic gains a 9-speed automatic transmission. A new Night Package is introduced and improvements are made to the mbrace Connected Car Services system, including a remote-start function. Last year’s proprietary media interface cables have been replaced by a USB port.
Mercedes-Benz’s CLS550 4-door coupe for 2016 isn’t going to win anyone over from the back seat, but for the one lucky enough to be behind the steering wheel, it’s a...
... little slice of heaven. The 402-horsepower turbocharged 4.7-liter V8 in the CLS550 is simply perfection, delivering up rapid acceleration and passing power while emitting the most hypnotic growl. With 577 horsepower and enough torque to rattle the lug nuts, the CLS63 AMG S 4Matic coupe is AMG engineering at its finest, capable of sprinting to 60 mph in less than four seconds. With its racing-tuned suspension and 9-speed transmission, the AMG variant can run comfortably with the Audi S7, Porsche Panamera Turbo and BMW M6 Gran Coupe. When pushed, the CLS inspires confidence both in the turns and on the freeway. The stiff suspension, however, makes for a rather stern around-town driving experience.
ADAPTIVE HIGH-BEAM ASSIST
The Adaptive High-Beam Assist in the 2016 CLS by Mercedes employs cameras that sense approaching vehicles and can then dim one or both high beams. The system is even smart enough to adjust the beam’s range.
ELECTROMECHANICAL DIRECT-STEER SYSTEM
The system most responsible for the CLS-Class 4-door coupe’s responsive and linear driving feel is its electromechanical direct-steer system. The system not only improves handling, it saves fuel by only drawing power away from the engine during steering input.
Inside, the 2016 Mercedes-Benz CLS coupe 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 2016, the Mercedes-Benz CLS-Class 4-door coupe is as distinctive as ever. Its signature roofline and shapely greenhouse give the car a flowing, uninterrupted form that extends rearward to a new, more muscular fastback profile. Recent changes to the front-end styling link the CLS to other Mercedes-Benz sedans. 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.
The CLS400 will use conventional steel springs for its suspension, with all other CLS models employing an adjustable air suspension. Also standard are 14-way-power and heated front seats, leather upholstery, automatic climate control, multi-color ambient lighting and an 8-inch audio display screen. Inside the CLS550, you’ll find a navigation system, 14-speaker harman/kardon sound system and many of the other amenities that are optional on the CLS400. In the name of safety, the Mercedes CLS provides 12 airbags, Attention Assist drowsiness monitor, Electronic Stability Program and bi-xenon headlights. A limited-slip rear differential is standard on the AMG S.
Top options on the Mercedes CLS include full LED headlights, a rearview camera, heated and ventilated front seats, 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 S 4Matic can be equipped with carbon-ceramic brakes and Bang & Olufsen audio.
The CLS400 is powered by a 3.0-liter twin-turbo V6 and pumps out an impressive 329 horsepower, which is more horsepower than offered by the entry-level Audi A7 or BMW Gran Touring. The 2016 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 S 4Matic, which bumps output to 577 horsepower and 590 lb-ft of torque. Top speed for the 63 AMG S is limited to 186 mph.
3.0-liter twin-turbocharged V6 (CLS400)
329 horsepower @ 5,250-6,000 rpm
354 lb-ft of torque @ 1,600-4,000 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 20/30 mpg (RWD), 20/28 mpg (AWD)
4.7-liter twin-turbocharged V8 (CLS550)
402 horsepower @ 5,000-5,750 rpm
443 lb-ft of torque @ 1,800-4,750 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 17/26 mpg (RWD), 17/24 mpg (AWD)
5.5-liter twin-turbocharged V8 (CLS63 AMG S 4Matic)
577 horsepower @ 5,500 rpm
590 lb-ft of torque @ 2,000-4,500 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 16/22 mpg
For 2016, the Mercedes-Benz CLS400 has a Manufacturer’s Suggested Retail Price (MSRP) starting close to $68,000. That's nearly a $13,000 leap over the equally desirable E400 coupe. Mercedes’ 4Matic AWD bumps the price up by another $2,500. The CLS550 starts around $75,000, while the CLS63 AMG S 4Matic pushes the price to $109,000 and tops out close to $150,000 when fully loaded. Although there are not many direct competitors to a Mercedes CLS, it will be cross-shopped against the 2016 BMW 6 Series Gran Coupe, Porsche Panamera 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.