What is it?
The Mercedes CLS 350 BlueEfficiency is the most efficient of the petrol versions of the new CLS saloon, or four-door coupe, as you might prefer to call it.
The new look brings a welcome muscularity to the CLS, without destroying the elegance of the original concept, and there’s plenty of space inside for four people and their luggage.
What’s it like?
The most impressive feature of our test car was the Eco-mode stop/start drivetrain, unusual in an automatic, which shut down and fired up the 3.5-litre V6 incredibly quickly and smoothly. In the time it took to swap your foot from the brake to the accelerator, the engine had spun up and was already providing torque to start pulling away.
It doesn’t ride quite as well as the equivalent E-class, but the chassis feels more focused and bump absorption is still very good on the 18-inch wheels.
The steering is one of the better electrical systems, though the weighting lacks consistency across the first quarter turn in each direction, compared with the best hydraulic systems.
Should I buy one?
At a few pounds short of £50,000, the CLS 350 BlueEfficiency has a slight price premium over its most obvious competitor, the Audi A7.
The cars are very equally matched and most buyers would probably make the decision between the two based on the appeal of their looks and the presence of various technologies or options - Quattro drivetrain or Distronic safety system, for example.
It’s worth pointing out that the sophistication of the CLS’s drivetrain meant that we managed an average of 31.7mpg over 300 miles of mixed town and country driving, which is impressive for any petrol automatic saloon, let alone one that can do 0-60mph in well under seven seconds.
Price: £49,988; Top speed: 155mph (limited); 0-62mph 6.1sec; Economy: 41.5mpg; CO2: 159g/km; Kerb weight: 1735kg; Engine: V6, 3498cc, petrol; Power: 302bhp at 6500rpm; Torque: 273lb ft at 3500rpm; Gearbox: 7-spd auto