First DriveFully-loaded, big-hitting diesel CLS shows the potential perils of ticking too many options boxes on your order form.
First DriveSleek four-door coupé gets a thorough refresh which maintains its appeal as an stylish alternative to more expensive luxury saloons
What is it?
Merc’s pleasingly individual four-door coupé, now with diesel power from a new 3.0-litre V6. The price tag, specs and trim levels broadly equate to those of the CLS 350; emissions and economy (202g/km and 37mpg on average, compared to 241g/km and 28mpg in the petrol car) do not.
What’s it like?
Seriously impressive. The turbodiesel’s 376lb ft is available from 1400rpm, and you can feel it every time your foot so much as tickles the throttle: there’s masses of urge, making the CLS hugely satisfying companion on everything from motorway to B-road. It’s refined, too: the engine note is more throbbing and gruff at idle than the petrol V6’s, say, but never to the point of harshness and it fades into the background on the open road.
We averaged around 32mpg in 500 hard-driven miles, which means a real-world touring range of about 550 miles. Otherwise, the 320 CDi shares the other CLS virtues and the odd vice: it’s head-turningly good to look at, not quite as sharp as a 5-series to drive but accomplished and super-comfortable all the same, and uncomfortably short of head- and legroom in the rear. It’s pricey, too, but feels special enough to justify it.
Should you buy one?
Yes. This could just be the best car Merc makes at the moment, although that may change when we drive the new S-class.