When Mercedes first launched the CLS in 2004 it claimed it had invented a new market sector. That’s something most major manufacturers seemingly every few months these days, with varying degrees of credibility. But with the CLS four-door coupe, Mercedes seemed to have managed it.

Although there had been big two-door coupés in the Mercedes range before, the four-door Mercedes CLS genuinely was the first of a new line. Unveiled as a concept in 2003, the Vision CLS was clearly going to make production. The concept was a hit, and so was the production car. For a time it had the market to itself - some 170,000 were sold and only recently have Audi and BMW replied with the A7 and 5-Series GT respectively. That made the CLS's replacement - this second-generation car - a formality.

Following the arrival of the latest-generation E-class, which the CLS uses as its underpinnings, Mercedes updated its four-door coupé. Again it is pitched a little above an E-class in price and, again, its engine range is not dissimilar to the more staid saloon’s.

Getting in to the CLS range isn’t cheap, with the entry-level car approaching £50,000 in price, especially with options. All mainstream models wear Mercedes’ eco BlueEfficiency badges, the CLS250CDi kicking off the range, with the alternative diesel being the 350CDi. Petrol power comes from the 350 and 500 models, while the storming 517bhp 63AMG (which unsurprisingly doesn’t get a BlueEfficiency badge) tops the range (and is reviewed separately on this site).

Top 5 Luxury saloons

  • Mercedes-Benz S-class
    'Sporty' Mercedes have a three-pointed badge in the grille. Luxury Benzes get a three-pointed star atop the grille

    Mercedes-Benz S-class

    1
  • Tesla Model S
    The Tesla Model S is an upmarket rear-wheel-drive electric saloon

    Tesla Model S

    2
  • The latest XJ is a big departure from its predecessor, stylistically

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    3
  • Audi A8
    The third generation Audi A8 is the best yet - and by some margin

    Audi A8

    4
  • The BMW 7-series features a new platform and entirely new bodyshell

    BMW 7-series

    5

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