Mercedes…the car maker has so much clout and influence it single handedly changed the entire meaning of a word. That word is ‘coupe’ in modern parlance was defined as a 2 door car whereas nowadays, thanks to MB, it means any car with a svelte sloping roof line no matter the door count. The car that pushed this new definition was the CLS.
The CLS has been with us for over a decade now and it’s on its second iteration. For this year, it comes with your standard mid model year refresh with revised front and rear facias and a new motor. It now comes with a twin turbo 3.5 liter V6 making 329 horsepower and 354 lb/ft. The numbers do not do this car justice, at startup it sounds like a V8 and it pulls like a freight train straight to redline. It’s a real gem of a motor and the slick shifting 7 speed automatic is perfectly suited for the power delivery and gives you immediate response. The torque arrives in nice low RPMS which never tapers and you can ride that tidal surge of torque until you are arrested. On the handling front, this is one beautifully made drifting machine. Once you figure out how to turn the traction control off, goose the throttle in any corner and the back end will step out in such a graceful way that you can literally control it with one finger.
The interior has been revised as well giving the car the much maligned ‘tacked-on’ infotainment screen but other than that it’s a true work of art. The ash wood interior trim is breathing taking to look at and you find yourself just lightly brushing it’s beautifully veneered finish in traffic. The seats in true MB fashion has active bolsters and if you have never had the opportunity to take a corner with said seats, you’re missing out. The seats will carefully, snuggly ‘hug’ you while taking a corner but that is not the best description. It feels like the car is reaching out to you in mid corner and saying ‘It’s okay man…I got you’. On top of that, it has massaging seats that will wonderfully pinch, prod and touch you in ways only your significant other should but with the same ‘relaxing’ results.
Now we move on to the looks. Detractors of the CLS will just say it’s an E-Class in drag. Well those detractors have no soul. Yes it’s based on an E-Class but it’s more than that. It’s more than the sum of its words and more than any review can tell you. This is an E-Class in a Little Black Dress. You know that dress, every woman has it. It’s the dress that transforms your regular nondescript school teacher into the woman that every man turns to see. The dress that will silence an entire restaurant when she walks in. The dress that extenuates, caresses, and amplifies every angle and curve of her body. The dress that makes you bite the back of your hand and praise whatever religious icon is in your heart. That’s what the CLS is. It’s the Little Black Dress of the automotive world.