Business Plus

Coupé De Grace

The CLS is one of Mercedes-Benz’s most beautiful designs,

- writes Philip Nolan

In an increasing­ly electric automotive world, there is something profoundly reassuring about sitting into this 2.0-litre diesel version of the Mercedes-Benz CLS coupé and seeing the predicted range is over 1,000 kilometres. It helps that the tank holds 66 litres, which, at today’s average pump price, is going to cost €135 to fill.

That’s enough to get you from within 100km of the ferry port in Rosslare all the way to San Sebastian in Spain without ever having to stop at a garage, which is pretty impressive. It also points to the greatest asset of this car – its credential­s as a tourer, especially if you’re planning a driving holiday in mainland Europe.

You won’t be overly excited along the way, because while there is a selectable sport mode that makes it a little livelier, this car is built for comfort — just like most of the people who will buy it, one imagines.

Arriving on the same platform as the E-Class, the CLS remains one of MB’s most beautiful designs, a four-door coupé with an earnest yet elegant long bonnet, sleek glasshouse, and short rear overhang. At just 1,435mm tall, it’s perhaps not the easiest in the range to slip in and out of, but you’ll be fine if no one is watching.

Off the blocks, with 195hp on tap, you’re going to hit 100kph in a tidy 7.5 seconds, and once you engage cruise control, the car does all the work for you. That’s when you can sink back into the leather seats, play with the MBUX infotainme­nt system (it stands for Mercedes-Benz User Experience), and basically just watch the world go by.

There are a few practical issue to bear in mind. At just shy of five metres in length, finding a sufficient­ly accommodat­ing parking space can sometimes be an issue, especially in older multi-storeys that seem to have been designed using a 1983 Daihatsu Charade as the template.

Much of the length is used to offer great legroom for the rear-seat passengers, which is among the best in any prestige car, though three adults in the back will be rubbing shoulders.It may be best to think of this as four-seater unless children are in the equation.

At 520 litres, the boot is adequate, but if you were planning on bringing back a lot of wine from this imaginary holiday, a Mercedes SUV or crossover might be a better option. At €83,090, this is not a cheap car (my test model came to €85,296 with optional metallic paint, and lovely beige leather upholstery), but you do get a lot of bang for your buck.

The list of standard features is endless and includes AMG 19-inch alloys and AMG detailing throughout. New on this third generation of the car are a redesigned radiator grille, air intakes and bumpers. silver-chrome exterior trim elements, a choice of two new walnut and wood trim finishes, additional leather seat coverings and colour combinatio­ns, and a redesigned multifunct­ion leather steering wheel.

It’s a fine package overall, and economical too. In mixed city, country and motorway driving, I was using an average 6.6 litres of fuel per 100 kilometres. Annual motor tax of €270 is not going to trouble your wallet much either. There are other engine variants, but when it comes to style and comfort, you already have everything you need in the 220d.

 ?? ??

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Ireland