Neither the Mercedes-Benz CLS nor any of its direct rivals is what you'd consider an affordable car. Despite the lack of convenience compared with the E-Class, the CLS is to all intents and purposes an executive-plus-priced car; think £50k rather than £40k for a mechanically equivalent E-Class.
The CLS is so well equipped that we’d expect most customers to live without the plethora of options available. Even navigation is standard on the 250 d, although you have to move up to V6-powered models to get the full COMAND system. Even then, the CLS is competitively priced next to an Audi A7 and the BMW 5 Series GT.
Most running costs should be class representative, with the four-cylinder diesel claiming an impressive 54.3mpg and 135g/km of CO2. That makes it a particularly effective company car, with performance figures not that far from the bigger diesel. Losing 1.3sec in the 0-62mph race is a fair result given the 350 d’s 46.3mpg and 160g/km. There’s at least a £3500 premium for the 350 d, too.
The V6 petrol CLS’s economy was excellent for a 3.5-litre V6 offering substantial performance. Overall, we averaged 29.1mpg, with a touring figure well into the 30s – the official claimed average is 40.9mpg.
Residual values of the CLS are reasonably strong and sit well above 40 percent after three years and average miles. The niche appeal of the CLS and the initial cost mean it doesn’t do quite as well as the E-Class on that score.
As with performance and handling, the CLS 63 S is so far removed from the standard CLS in comparison that it may as well be a separate model. We returned an average of just 19.8mpg (25.8 at a cruise) and it sits in the highest tax band despite the new twin-turbo unit being vastly more efficient than the old naturally-aspirated V8. Our test car also came equipped with £40,000 of options.