When Mercedes-Benz CLS made its debut in 2006, it pioneered the “four-door coupe” niche. Mercedes calls it a coupe because of the sloping roofline that gives it a distinctive two-door look. Since then, this style has survived and inspired other manufacturers to build the same vehicle.
The 2018 Mercedes-Benz CLS-Class maintains its favorable position with a powerful engine, excellent handling, high comfort, luxurious interior and available advanced safety features. Along with rivals such as the BMW 6 Series Gran Coupe and A7 Audi, the CLS-Class is an appealing choice if you like the idea of a sedan that has a coupe-like look. Note that CLS will be redesigned for the 2019 model year. It will boast new styling and Mercedes latest technology.
For 2018, Mercedes has dropped the entry-level CLS 400 from the lineup. A rearview camera is now standard for all CLS trims.
Trim levels and features
The 2018 Mercedes-Benz CLS-Class is a four-door, four-passenger luxury sedan with coupe-like style. Its available in three trims levels: CLS 550, the CLS 550 4Matic and AMG CLS 63 S.
Standard equipment for the CLS 550 includes 18-inch wheels, an adaptive air suspension, LED headlights, automatic wipers, a sunroof, auto-dimming mirrors, a power-adjustable steering wheel, dual-zone automatic climate control, front-seat memory functions, power-adjustable and heated front seats, leather upholstery, (an 8-inch screen, a navigation system, Android Auto and Apple CarPlay smartphone integration, the COMAND infotainment interface with knob controller and a 14-speaker Harman Kardon sound system. Also standard is a forward collision warning with automatic braking.
For more features, Mercedes offers a few main option packages to look out for. The Premium package adds automatic high beams, adaptive headlights, keyless entry and ignition, a power trunk lid, power-folding mirrors, a power rear sunshade and ventilated front seats. The Lane Tracking package adds lane departure warning and blind-spot monitoring. The Driver Assistance package adds adaptive cruise control, additional forward collision mitigation technology, steering assist, rear-end collision cabin preparation, active lane-keeping assist and active blind-spot assist. The Parking Assist package adds an automated parallel parking system, front and rear parking sensors, a surround-view monitor.
Stand-alone options include an illuminated Mercedes logo in the grille, a heated steering wheel, a multicontour front seat, rear-seat side airbags, split-folding rear seats and a premium Bang & Olufsen audio system.
The 2018 Mercedes-AMG CLS 63 S gets a more powerful engine, all-wheel drive along with summer tires, 19-inch wheels, upgraded brakes, a sport exhaust system, a limited-slip differential, upgraded LED headlights, unique styling elements, an automated parallel parking system, front and rear parking sensors, a sport steering wheel, special gauges and interior trim, an IWC Ingenieur analog clock, more aggressively bolstered sport seats, upgraded leather upholstery and power rear sunshade.
Many optional packages are available and similar in content to those for the CLS 550. Carbon-ceramic brakes are a stand-alone option.
The 2018 Mercedes-Benz CLS 550 is powered by a turbocharged 4.7-liter V8 engine that produces 402 horsepower and 443 pound-feet of torque. A nine-speed automatic transmission sends power to the rear wheels and all four wheels in the case of the CLS 550 4Matic. In performance testing, a rear-wheel-drive CLS 550 accelerates from zero to 60 mph in just 4.6 seconds, which is very quick even for this segment. EPA estimated fuel economy is 21 mpg combined (18 city/26 highway) with rear-wheel drive and 20 mpg (17 city/25 highway) for the 4Matic.
The 2018 Mercedes-AMG CLS 63 S get a turbocharged 5.5-liter V8 that generates 577 hp and 590 lb-ft of torque. A special AMG-tuned seven-speed automatic transmission and all-wheel-drive system are standard. Mercedes estimates the CLS 63 S will go from zero to 60 mph in just 3.6 seconds, which is sports car territory. EPA fuel economy rating at is 18 mpg (16 city/22 highway).
The 2018 Mercedes-Benz CLS-Class sloping roofline is one of the most distinctive characteristics, but it’s not without flaws. The back seat headroom is suffered as a result, making it unsuitable for taller passengers. The CLS also only has two seats in the back with the center console in the middle. For those who often carry passengers, the cheaper five-seat E-Class is a better choice.
As you would expect from Mercedes-Benz, the materials quality and construction is excellent, but the interior look and control are taken from previous brand designs. It lacks the organic curve, a large screen display and a general sense of premium that you will find on the E-Class, but you might prefer the CLS blockier, more classically German aesthetic.
The AMG CLS 63 S adds a distinctive sporty style to the cabin, with exotic sports seats and unique trim and stitches selection. The AMG also moves the gear selector from the steering column to the center console, eliminating the large cupholders and reducing some interior storage for your personal items.
The cargo space is generous, with a trunk that can hold up to 15.3 cubic feet. Note that the optional Bang & Olufsen audio system significantly reduces trunk space.
Release Date and Price
The 2018 Mercedes-Benz CLS-Class is on sale and arriving now at dealers nationwide. Key competitors include the Audi A7, Porsche Panamera and BMW 6 Series Gran Coupe sedan.
Official pricing for the CLS 550 starts at $76,145 (include a $995 destination fee). The 4Matic all-wheel-drive system adds $2,500 to the price tag. The performance-focused AMG CLS 63 S costs $109,895.