New 2018 MercedesBenz MercedesAMG CLS Sedan New 2018
MercedesBenz MercedesAMG CLS Sedan

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KBB Editor's Overview

By KBB.com Editorial Staff

If you’re going to be a bear, be a grizzly. If you’re considering one of Mercedes-Benz’s 4-door CLS “coupes,” make it the AMG-built CLS63 S. It’s the alpha version of Mercedes’ handsome CLS models, and it’s powered by a hand-built twin-turbo V8 that produces 577 horsepower and 590 lb-ft of torque. Power is sent to all four wheels via an AMG MCT 7-speed automatic transmission, propelling this luxurious sport sedan to 60 mph in a scant 3.5 seconds. The design of the CLS63 S compromises rear-seat room and trunk volume a bit, but the shape of this 2nd-generation sedan has held up well to the test of time, and it remains well suited to take on challengers such as the Audi RS 7. The non-AMG 2018 Mercedes-Benz CLS models are reviewed here.

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You'll Like This Car If...

If you’re completely smitten with power and style, but need a back seat on occasion, the 2018 Mercedes-AMG CLS63 S should be on your radar. This Mercedes makes a statement with how it looks and how it drives, not how it carries back-seat passengers.

You May Not Like This Car If...

If you think a large sedan should accommodate four full-size adults comfortably while also boasting a large trunk, the CLS is not for you. Consider a Mercedes-Benz E- or S-Class instead, or perhaps a BMW 7 Series, Genesis G90 or Cadillac CT6.

What's New for 2018

The Mercedes-AMG CLS63 S is unchanged for 2018. Its replacement, the 2019 Mercedes-AMG CLS53 — a new CLS powered by an inline-6 with a turbocharger and an electric supercharger — makes its debut late in 2018.

Driving It

Driving Impressions

In the 2018 Mercedes-AMG CLS63 S, with its rear-biased 4Matic all-wheel-drive system and tight suspension with electronically controlled damping, you tend to forget you’re in a big sedan. In Sport handling mode, automatic brake intervention minimizes understeer, that tendency of a car to go straight when you want it to turn. A start/stop system saves fuel by shutting the engine off at traffic lights, but this can be switched off by the driver. On the road, the CLS63 S gobbles up the miles with ease, and its hand-assembled twin-turbo V8 makes light work of mountain grades and high-speed passing maneuvers. EPA highway fuel economy is rated at 22 mpg, a respectable figure given the otherworldly thrust of this Mercedes sedan, which competes favorably with the Audi RS 7, BMW M6 Gran Coupe and Porsche Panamera.

Favorite Features

AMG GAUGES
With red indicators and silver metallic bezels, the AMG-exclusive gauges are especially handsome. In Warmup mode, oil and coolant temperatures are displayed, and in Race mode, a RaceTimer can record lap times on a dedicated racing circuit. While the timer probably won’t be used all that often, you’ll want to show this trick feature to your friends.

THAT GLORIOUS V8
Hand-assembled in Affalterbach, Germany, the 5.5-liter bi-turbo V8 engine gives the CLS63 S its raucous personality and phenomenal capabilities. Thanks to direct injection, multispark ignition, and increased fuel-injection pressure, 577 horsepower is on tap with a simple dip of the driver’s right foot.

Vehicle Details

Interior

The CLS63 S is opulent inside, thanks to semi-aniline leather upholstery, 14-way power front sport seats (with memory), attractive multicolor ambient lighting, and conveniences such as Android Auto and Apple CarPlay. Also, there’s a handy central controller with a high-quality feel, plus an 8-inch information display and five (not four) different types of wood trim. In addition to excellent ergonomics, the cabin has deeply bolstered seats that offer good cornering support while managing to be comfortable over the long haul. But be warned: Rear headroom and legroom are not abundant.

Exterior

By all accounts, the standard CLS is a stunning car, a coupe-like sedan with an arching roofline. The Mercedes-AMG CLS63 S ups the aggression with a signature double-crossbar grille, a deep air dam (with mesh air intakes) and sculpted side sills that have matte silver inserts. Completing the visual upgrades are a rear valance that frames four AMG tailpipes, plus a black diffuser and a functional rear spoiler.

Notable Standard Equipment

For improved grip and agility, the CLS63 S has a 1.6-in.-wider front track and a more rigid rear subframe, plus additional wheel camber. There’s also a limited-slip rear differential, for improved acceleration out of tight corners. Inside, the leather-covered front seats offer 14-way power adjustability, and the center console extends back between the two rear seats. In addition to brushed aluminum pedals and aluminum shift paddles, the 2018 CLS63 S has illuminated AMG door sills, a performance steering wheel, a rearview camera, Collision Prevention Assist Plus, and a powerful Harman Kardon audio system.

Notable Optional Equipment

Beyond AMG ceramic brakes ($8,950), the CLS63 S is available with carbon-fiber and Black Piano Lacquer wood trim ($2,850), matte-black forged AMG wheels ($500), an AMG carbon-fiber engine cover ($1,500), and even an illuminated 3-pointed star on the grille ($450). A Driver Assistance Package ($2,250) features Distance Plus with Steering Assist, plus Lane-Keeping Assist and Blind-Spot Assist. If you want only the Blind-Spot Assist and Lane-Keeping Assist, they comprise the optional $875 Lane-Tracking package. With the $2,200 Premium Package, you get an electronic trunk closer and power-folding mirrors, plus vented front seats and Keyless Go, Mercedes’ keyless vehicle operating system.

Under the Hood

Only one engine is available in 2018 Mercedes-AMG CLS63 S, and it’s a good one: a hand-assembled 5.5-liter twin-turbo V8 that produces 577 horsepower and 590 lb-ft of torque. This aluminum-block powerplant, with twin turbos nestled in the vee of the engine, sends power to all four wheels via AMG’s 7-speed Speedshift automatic. Top speed is limited to 186 mph.

5.5-liter twin-turbocharged V8
577 horsepower @ 5,500 rpm
590 lb-ft of torque @ 2,000-4,500 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 16/22 mpg

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Pricing Notes

The 2018 Mercedes-AMG CLS63 S starts at around $110,000; that climbs close to $150,000 when the car is fully loaded with options including those pricey ceramic brakes. Buyers should cross-shop this potent German luxury sedan against the BMW 6 Series Gran Coupe, Porsche Panamera Turbo and Audi RS 7. Worth noting: A replacement for the CLS63 S, the CLS53, arrives by the end of 2018, powered by a turbocharged and electric-supercharged 3.0-liter inline-6 with 429 horsepower. As always, to see what others in your area are paying for the 2018 Mercedes-AMG CLS63 S, check out the Fair Purchase Price on KBB.com.

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