Test Drive Report – Mercedes-Benz CLS Class 320 CDI
Rubbing shoulders with the S-Class within the overall Mercedes-Benz model line-up, the CLS-Class is a series with its own distinctive and separate identity. A model range that attractively combines the features of a coupe with those of a four-door saloon.
Of the four models available in Ireland, the entry level version is the CLS 320 CDI priced at €84,850 ex-works. This is followed by the 292 bhp CLS 350 CGI petrol costing €87,615 and the V8, 388 bhp CLS 500 at €113,220. Holding the top-of-the-range position is the mouth watering 514 bhp CLS 63 AMG available at €163,925.
Visually, the CLS is very pleasing to the eye. Stylish in a way that makes it a classic car of its generation, it has an attractively low profile that gives it a poised-for-action appearance. The only disadvantage with these sharp lines, is that the curvature at the rear doors restricts entry and exit somewhat.
In the CLS 320 CDI (tested), power is provided by a 224 bhp, V6 common rail diesel injection engine with four valves per cylinder delivering an impressive reserve of power and torque. Contrary to the factory fuel consumption figures, my recording read 6.8 L/100 kms compared to 8.1 litres per kilometre quoted.
Transmission comes from Mercedes-Benz’s own 7-speed automatic system. Shift operation is smooth, allowing it to deliver faster intermediate sprints when accelerating. A multiple downshift function allows the driver to skip individual gears thereby reducing fuel consumption and emission levels.
Fine wood trim on the dashboard is complemented by standard leather upholstery with matching leather steering wheel and gear selector lever.
Individually heated front seats have 4-way electronic adjustment and can be configured to provide the ideal position, especially for those long journeys. The spacious passenger seating area has individual rear seats separated by an extended centre console.
Speed-sensitive power steering, an adaptive brake system and climate control, make the CLS a pleasure to drive. Dashboard layout includes automatic climate control with independent adjustment for all four seats and an easy-to-use infotainment unit with steering wheel controls. While luggage compartment volume in the boot is a generous 505-litres, the narrowness of the door pockets were noted.
Safety is high on the agenda here. An adaptive brake system helps optimise other safety functions such as ESP, ASR, ABS and BAS and, in emergency braking situations, adaptive brake lights alert traffic following from behind by flashing continuously and by automatically activating the hazard warning lights.
Priced at €87,250, the Mercedes-Benz CLS Class 320 CDI will still have interest from the corporate sector, primarily for its magnetic appeal and low running costs.
As one would expect in a car of this standard, an extensive list of lifestyle accessories and optional extras are also available.
Make/Model; Mercedes-Benz CLS Class 320 CDI
Engine; 3.0 litre .6 cylinder turbo diesel
Power; 224 bhp @ 4,500 rpm
Torque; 540 Nm @ 1,600 rpm
Transmission; 7-speed automatic
Emissions; 200g/km CO2
Consumption; 8.1litre/100km (combined)
Tax; VRT – 32 per cent; motor tax – €1050
CO2 emissions; 200g/km