Well that didn’t take long. Only four weeks ago, there we were, getting our first taste of the third-generation Mercedes CLS four-door coupe in oddly snowy Spain – and now we’re poised to shade in the detail on the car’s British-roads performance.
The new CLS went on UK sale earlier this month, and having sampled it chiefly in range-topping ‘AMG 53’ form before, we’ve been getting acquainted with the one-rung-down performance diesel version: the CLS 400d.
You read that last bit right, by the way. Mercedes-Benz hasn’t traditionally tackled Audi and BMW at the very top of the diesel-sipping executive model tree, but the arrival of its new families of straight six turbocharged engines changes things.
And so, in addition to a CLS 350d with 282bhp, you can get this CLS which offers 335bhp and more than 500lb ft of torque, as well as 0-62mph sprinting in 5.0sec and lab test CO2 and economy stats almost identical to those of its less powerful diesel brother.
This CLS doesn’t have the intelligent motor/alternator of the AMG and -450 48-volt hybrid versions, but it is different from its predecessor in as much as it’ll seat five people.
A sign of styling to come from Mercedes-Benz
It’s also supposed to be a particularly reliable telltale of the look of future Mercedes saloons and coupes, with its island bonnet, wide-based front grille and smooth, taut surfacing language.
It seemed a fine-looking car in this tester’s eyes – although probably prettier in a colour other than our test car’s ‘ruby black’ paint – but you don’t need me to tell you whether you like the look of it.
You’d like the CLS’ enveloping, sophisticated cabin, I reckon. The car doesn’t have the headroom of a typical executive saloon in either front or back rows, but it’s got decent legroom and can accommodate a 6ft 3in driver without any sense of restrictiveness.
In front of you is a fascia of good fit and finish that looks and feels really lavishly decorated; has adaptive digital instruments and a first-rate (admittedly optional) ‘Comand Online’ infotainment system; and probably appeals just as much after dark as it does in the daylight, thanks to some lovely ambient lighting features.
The CLS’ air vents glow red when you turn up the heat and blue when you turn up the AC, for example. But the rifling effect around their rims is their crowning glory for me. Almost nobody’s doing metal garnish as well as Mercedes right now.