Packed with tech

Nuneaton Telegraph - - FRONT PAGE - By Max­ine Ash­ford COVENTRY TELE­GRAPH

WHEN the orig­i­nal Mercedes-Benz CLS was launched back in 2005, it was deemed quite a pi­o­neer­ing car be­cause it of­fered the rak­ish styling of a coupe com­bined with the prac­ti­cal­ity of a four-door sa­loon and that was a first for the in­dus­try.

Now, 13 years down the line, Mercedes has just launched the all-new third gen­er­a­tion CLS and while it still of­fers the same dra­matic styling and all-round prac­ti­cal­ity of its pre­de­ces­sors it also boasts a wealth of on-board tech­nol­ogy in a lux­u­ri­ous cabin.

The new CLS fea­tures a more pro­nounced front end with dis­tinc­tive air scoops and a wider grille to ac­cen­tu­ate the car’s width along with the low-set head­lights.

The di­a­mond-ef­fect grille, pri­vacy glass, elec­tric slid­ing sun­roof and 19-inch al­loys com­plete the dy­namic ap­peal.

The in­te­rior is one of the finest on of­fer in to­day’s mar­ket and oozes class with black leather up­hol­stery, el­e­gant grey open-pore ash wood trim, air vents that are in­spired by jet en­gine tur­bines, 64-colour am­bi­ent light­ing and a pair of 12.3-inch dis­play screens that spread from the cen­tre of the dash­board to the right of the steer­ing wheel and sit neatly be­hind a glass panel.

One of the screens is where all the in­fo­tain­ment set­tings are found while the other of­fers in­for­ma­tion on the car’s vital signs such as speed, revs and fuel lev­els etc. This screen, which is po­si­tioned be­hind the steer­ing wheel, can be set in Clas­sic, Sport or Pro­gres­sive dis­play de­pend­ing on your pref­er­ence.

Techno treats on our car in­cluded a pitch per­fect 13-speaker Burmester sur­round sound sys­tem, an ex­cel­lent sat nav, a 360-de­gree cam­era, re­mote park­ing as­sist and wire­less charg­ing.

Ob­vi­ously, such lux­ury comes at a price. Our CLS 400 d 4MATIC in AMG Line spec­i­fi­ca­tion started life cost­ing £60,410 but a few op­tional ex­tras saw the price in­crease to £67,240. This was for the 3.0-litre 340bhp diesel-pow­ered car mated to a nine-speed au­to­matic gear­box.

It could com­plete the 0-62mph dash in a very swift 5.0 sec­onds, maxed out at an elec­tron­i­cally-lim­ited 155mph and can de­liver com­bined fuel econ­omy of 47.9mpg with car­bon emis­sions of 156g/km.

But sta­tis­tics and speed data aside, it’s the man­ner in which the CLS per­forms that can­not be ig­nored.

It looks like Mercedes’ take on the bul­let train and it de­liv­ers a sim­i­lar driv­ing ex­pe­ri­ence with blis­ter­ing­lyquick ac­cel­er­a­tion and all the com­po­sure and el­e­gance re­quired from a pre­mium mar­que these days.

It’s a car that can be driven with a lit­tle re­spect and re­turns the favour with a re­fined, yet ac­com­plished per­for­mance.

How­ever, open up the throt­tle and move across from Eco or Com­fort driv­ing modes into Sport or Sport+ and it’s a whole dif­fer­ent story.

The power is in­stant and it keeps on com­ing. The road-hold­ing is very as­sured and the cabin is beau­ti­fully well in­su­lated against any en­gine or road sur­face noise.

The steer­ing wheel-mounted pad­dles of­fer ex­tra con­trol over the gear shifts and the added bonus of Mercedes’ 4MATIC all-wheel drive sys­tem means you have plenty of grip even in wet­ter driv­ing con­di­tions.

Whilst Sport+ is fun and guar­an­teed to put a smile on your face, most busi­ness miles will be com­pleted in Com­fort mode and it’s here that the CLS ex­cels.

The seats feel like they have been pur­pose built for you and they have plenty of power ad­just­ment along with mem­ory set­tings. The air sus­pen­sion irons out any road creases and the lux­u­ri­ous sur­round­ings, es­pe­cially that ash wood trim, make you feel a lit­tle bit spe­cial.

Com­fort lev­els in the back of the car are okay, although the slop­ing roof de­sign means taller pas­sen­gers may feel a lit­tle re­stricted height-wise.

The boot has a 520-litre ca­pac­ity and this can be in­creased fur­ther thanks to 40:20:40 split-folding rear seats.

The CLS led the way when it proved coupe styling and four-door prac­ti­cal­ity could work hand-in-hand. But the lat­est gen­er­a­tion model ups the stakes even fur­ther.

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