Until BMW launches a replacement for the 6 Series Gran Coupé, the only real rival to the CLS is the Audi A7, which currently starts at £48,045, ahead of its replacement by a second generation early next year.
Price wise, the CLS range so far tops out with the 400d at £60,410, but the most powerful unit at launch is the 3.0-litre petrol engine in the 450 4Matic, with a 48V electric system and EQ Boost integrated starter motor providing mild hybrid properties. It has a claimed 0-62mph time of 4.8sec and limited 155mph top speed. It delivers a nominal 362bhp and 369lb ft, with an additional 22bhp and 184lb ft available for short periods when the integrated starter motor is triggered.
The range uses petrol and diesel in-line six-cylinder engines. All are turbocharged and mated to Mercedes’ in-house nine-speed 9G-Tronic automatic gearbox and with 4Matic four-wheel-drive system as standard. The 350d and 400d share the new 2.9-litre diesel engine in two states of tune.
For the 350d, 400d and 450, Mercedes claims respective fuel economy figures of 48.7mpg, 47.9mpg and 36.2mpg, with CO2 emissions of 156g/km, 156g/km and 184g/km respectively. The CLS is only available in AMG Line trim – this means 19in alloys, a parking pack with reversing camera, ambient lighting and Mercedes' Agility Control adaptive dampers all come as standard.
Shortly after launch, Mercedes plans to introduce the 350. It runs a new turbocharged 2.0-litre petrol engine also featuring electronic boosting qualities. Also planned is the 300d, which employs Mercedes’ widely used turbocharged 2.0-litre four-cylinder diesel engine tuned to deliver 242bhp.
A new CLS 53 is planned to join the mechanically identical E53 coupé and E53 cabriolet models in a three-strong line-up of new AMG models to be unveiled at next year’s Detroit motor show, all featuring a newly developed in-line six-cylinder engine with mild hybrid properties.
The new petrol engine will usher in electric boosting via an integrated starter motor for added performance potential and is Mercedes’ answer to the likes of the upcoming second-generation Audi S7 and recently introduced BMW M550i.
Details remain scarce, although insiders suggest the engine and integrated starter motor will deliver a combined 450bhp. In the facelifted S500, the new engine provides a nominal 429bhp, with an additional 22bhp delivered by the integrated starter motor for a total of 440bhp.