There must be a sticker on the back of the Batmobile that reads ‘My other car is a Merc CLS’. Truth is, the sexiest Mercedes saloon ever looks more like the product of DC Comics’ art department than Mercedes’ sometimes rather hesitant design studio.
Certainly it’s doubtful if a four-door saloon has ever exuded a more moody and menacing presence; the head-swivelling impact of our CLS 500 on pedestrians and passers-by was every bit as powerful as any supercar’s.
We like the CLS. Ex-European editor Peter Robinson enthused over the CLS 350 last September, calling the boldly styled four-door an ‘emotional Benz’ likely to win over those who find the BMW 6-series and Jaguar XJ cabins too restrictive.
Then the monstrously quick 469bhp 5.4-litre supercharged V8 CLS 55 administered a bloody nose to the BMW M5, not only refusing to be out-dragged by the 500bhp M-car but also handling with a suppleness and athleticism alien to the identically-engined E 55.
And it was the car with that mighty hand-built AMG engine I reacquainted myself with to establish some benchmarks before trying what, on paper, should be the real-world star of the CLS range, the naturally-aspirated 306bhp, 5.0-litre V8.