Currently reading: 2021 Mercedes-Benz CLS gains design tweaks, new MHEV option
Four-door coupé receives new diesel powertrain; hot AMG version gets new look and a limited edition

The Mercedes CLS has been given a mid-life makeover, gaining a raft of styling upgrades, a new mild-hybrid diesel powertrain and a limited-edition version of AMG’s range-topping 429bhp CLS 53 4Matic+.

The four-door coupé received a number of updates to its driver assistance and infotainment systems last year, so this facelift focuses on design changes, including a revised grille and bumpers.

The entry-level Avantgarde car, for example, wears a redesigned front bumper with a contrasting chrome splitter, and it receives a black diffuser insert at the rear. The performance-inspired AMG Line car, meanwhile, gets bespoke air intakes, black trim details and a subtle lip spoiler.

A pair of new 19in wheel designs is available across the range, while the larger 20in wheels can be painted in new colours. Also new for 2021 is the Spectral Blue Metallic paint shown here.

The interior now features a number of new trim options, with additional use of leather and a new steering wheel design. The centre console can be finished in a choice of wood finishes, and new colour options have been introduced for the leather seats. 

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The new powertrain, badged 300d, features a 248bhp 2.0-litre four-cylinder diesel engine assisted by a 20bhp 48V integrated starter-generator. It achieves official CO2 emissions of 144-153g/km with fuel economy of 48.7-51.3mpg. It sends the CLS from 0-62mph in 6.4sec and on to a top speed of 155mph.

The hot CLS 53 has also been given a spruce-up, including a redesigned AMG grille and bumpers plus two new Night Package options, which swap the black windscreen surround for polished aluminium and bring darkened chrome for the front grille and rear badging. 

A new Limited Edition, of which just 300 examples will be made, adds racing stripes, five-spot alloy wheels, high-gloss black exterior elements and the AMG Dynamic Plus package as standard. It is available exclusively in white or grey and comes with black five-spoke alloy wheels with a polished lip.


Read our review

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Fully-loaded, big-hitting diesel CLS shows the potential perils of ticking too many options boxes on your order form

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The updated CLS will cost from around £60,000 and UK deliveries will start in July. 


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James Attwood

James Attwood, digital editor
Title: Acting magazine editor

James is Autocar's acting magazine editor. Having served in that role since June 2023, he is in charge of the day-to-day running of the world's oldest car magazine, and regularly interviews some of the biggest names in the industry to secure news and features, such as his world exclusive look into production of Volkswagen currywurst. Really.

Before first joining Autocar in 2017, James spent more than a decade in motorsport journalist, working on Autosport,, F1 Racing and Motorsport News, covering everything from club rallying to top-level international events. He also spent 18 months running Move Electric, Haymarket's e-mobility title, where he developed knowledge of the e-bike and e-scooter markets. 

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