The Mercedes-Benz CLS-Class has been a trendsetter since it first appeared on the scene. A decade ago, it ushered in the concept of a four-door car with a coupelike roof line, and that design has since spread throughout the automotive industry in the form of dedicated "four-door coupes." Several of those compete with the CLS directly, and it's fair to say that the CLS has influenced the design of regular old four-door sedans as well. Boxy is no longer acceptable, sleek is the new norm and the CLS can take much of the credit.
The CLS550 comes standard with 18-inch wheels, automatic LED headlights and running lights, automatic wipers, a sunroof, forward collision and driver inattention warning systems, dual-zone automatic climate control, heated 10-way power front seats (with four-way lumbar adjustment), driver memory settings, a power tilt-and-telescoping steering wheel, Bluetooth phone and audio connectivity, the COMAND technology interface (with an 8-inch display screen), a Garmin-sourced navigation system, a CD player, HD radio, an auxiliary audio jack, a USB port and a media player interface. The CLS550 has a more powerful engine plus an adaptive air suspension (optional on the CLS400), the upgraded navigation system and the Harman Kardon sound system. Its Premium package features all the elements of the two CLS400 versions that aren't already standard. The Night package adds gloss black exterior elements, red interior stitching, a sport steering wheel and a manual shift mode for the transmission. Available on all trims is the Lane Tracking package that includes blind-spot and lane-departure intervention systems. The Driver Assistance package adds adaptive cruise control with stop-and-go functionality and steering assist, an enhanced blind-spot warning and intervention system, rear cross-traffic alert and an enhanced emergency braking system that includes pedestrian detection. A heated steering wheel can be added to either of these packages.
The CLS550 is powered by a turbocharged 4.7-liter V8 good for 402 hp and 443 lb-ft of torque. A nine-speed automatic and rear-wheel drive are standard; all-wheel drive is optional. During Edmunds performance testing, a CLS550 with rear-wheel drive went from zero to 60 mph in just 4.6 seconds, which is very quick even for this lofty segment. EPA-estimated fuel economy is 21 mpg (17/26) with rear-wheel drive and 20 mpg.
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