The 2019 Mercedes-Benz CLS Coupe represents the third iteration of a four-door coupe that started its own segment. The new model marks a big redesign. There are two major updates that stand out with the new CLS, the appearance and the powerplant.
The new CLS coupe features a drastically different design than the last model, particularly in the front end. Comparing the new and old side by side, the new CLS coupe has a much more aggressive and angular appearance. One thing hasn’t changed, the CLS still features a four door coupe bodystyle, favoring a sloping roof line rather than a traditional passenger cabin. Styling is always subjective, of course, but this new CLS coupe is a serious departure from the car’s last two generations.
Mercedes-Benz fitted the 2019 CLS coupe with a completely new powertrain for 2019. In fact, it is the first Mercedes-Benz with an inline 6-cylinder engine since the S320, which stopped production in 1999. The new engine in question is a 3.0L turbocharged inline 6-cylinder unit with a 48-volt integrated starter generator. In the new CLS450, it produces 362 horsepower and 369 lb-ft of torque. It’s also a mild hybrid, with a 48-volt EQ Boost electric assist feature that provides an additional 21 horsepower and an extra 184 lb-ft of torque. Power is sent to either the rear wheels or all four wheels through a 9-speed automatic transmission.
Mercedes claims the rear-wheel drive CLS coupe will hit 60 mph in 5.1 seconds, while the AWD model will get there in 4.8 seconds. It’s not clear at this time just how much the EQ boost has helped fuel economy, as the EPA hasn’t published figures for the 2019 CLS.
The CLS Coupe will also come in an AMG version, the AMG CLS 53. The AMG model will still utilize the same 3.0L 6-cylinder mild hybrid powerplant and 9-speed transmission, powering all four wheels as standard. Being an AMG, you would expect the CLS 53 to be more powerful, and it is. Power gets bumped to 429, and torque is up to 384. The extra power allows the CLS 53 to hit 60 mph in 4.4 seconds.
The inline 6 motor is known for its smoothness. When paired with a mild hybrid system that aids in start-stop functionality and a 9-speed automatic from mercedes, the CLS coupe has one of the smoothest drivetrains I have ever experienced. The CLS coupe drives like butter, while still providing plenty of power to get out of its own way. While it is dissapointing to no longer have a twin-turbo v8 under the hood, this powerplants exceptional driveability more than makes up for the lack of two cylinders.
Ride & handling
Our tester had the optional air suspension setup. The ride was exceptionally comfortable, soaking up bumps without any fuss. It’s not so aggressively sporty as an AMG product. The air suspension allows for some cornering fun if you please. Even in sport+ mode, the CLS was really comfy, but still fun to drive.
Despite sharing its chassis with the E-Class, the new CLS has some major differences. There’s the straight-six powerplant, as opposed to V6 units in the E-Class. Mercedes also dropped the ride height of the CLS 15 millimeters lower than the standard E-Class sedan. However, using the air suspension on the CLS, you can raise the suspension back up 15 millimeters if you want a more comfortable ride at speeds up to 50 MPH.
The biggest problem for me with 4-door coupes is that the sloping roofline takes away headroom in the rear seats. The trunk, which has an automatic liftgate, is plenty spacious for several suitcases, or presumably in a mercedes-benz, a couple sets of golf clubs.
Four adults will fit with no problem, and mercedes have added a middle seat in the rear. This is the first CLS coupe that seats 5. However, taller passengers may complain about the backseat. Like I mentioned, headroom is a real problem for anybody over 6-feet tall in the back. For reference, I am 6’2. My head was easily touching the ceiling. However, I am happy to report that legroom is more than adequate for me to be able to sit behind myself.
The CLS coupe practically started the four-door coupe body style when it first came out in 2004. Since then, the other German manufacturers have followed suit. Competition for the new CLS includes the Audi A7, the BMW 6 Series Gran Coupe, and the Porsche Panamera.
The 2019 Mercedes-Benz CLS is sportier than the A7, but not as aggressive as the 6-series or Panamera. It sits more on the luxury side of the scale.
Pricing has not yet been announced. For reference, the previous model starts at $75K plus an additional $2K for AWD. The AMG CLS 63 starts at $108,900. Our 2019tester had about $15k in options, but no final price was given.
That $15k in options didn’t just go into a new face an engine, no, the CLS coupe is chock full of tech and driver safety features that are very familiar to the mercedes E and S class. Adaptive cruise control, map-based speed adjustment, active lane keep assist, automated emergency braking and impulse side assist are all available. If you don’t recognize that last one, basically, the CLS coupe will sense an impending collision, then use the seat bolstering to force the passengers towards the middle of the vehicle, giving them the best protection in an accident. The CLS coupe also has a nifty 360 degree top down camera and 64 different colors of ambient interior lighting.
This brings me to the one technological letdown of the CLS coupe, the infotainment system. This is the same system used in a wide variety of Mercedes-benz products and it is no fun to use. Despite having a massive display, touchscreen functionality is lost in favor of a scroll wheel and touchpad combination that is really frustrating to use. One upside though, the CLS coupe does have apple car play and android auto, so not all hope is lost.
The CLS coupe is set to go on sale at the end of 2018, we should know more about pricing and fuel economy closer to the release date.
Overall, the 2019 Mercedes-Benz CLS coupe is a very luxurious place to be. I think the best way to describe the CLS is that it is simply a more stylish E-Class. It drives almost identically to an E-Class, but forgoes practicality in the name of style, while still maintaining daily usability.
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