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MSRP: $69,200 - 79,900

Rankings & Research

The 2019 Mercedes-Benz CLS-Class ranked #5 in Luxury Large Cars. Currently the Mercedes-Benz CLS-Class has a score of 7.7 out of 10 which is based on our evaluation of 11 pieces of research and data elements using various sources.




Critics' Rating: 8.2
Performance: 7.9
Interior: 7.4
This rating isn’t available yet for the current model year. In the meantime, last year’s rating of N/A for safety is being used to calculate this vehicle’s overall score.
J.D. Power Ratings Logo

2019 Mercedes-Benz CLS-Class Review

The 2019 Mercedes-Benz CLS hits the nail on the head when it comes to engine refinement and handling composure. Drawbacks include a cramped back seat and small trunk, which lower its position in our luxury large car rankings.

Pros & Cons

  • Supple ride
  • Posh interior
  • Supportive seats
  • Lots of user-friendly tech
  • Roofline limits rear-seat headroom and rearward visibility
  • Small trunk
  • Performance isn’t as athletic as some competitors

Is the Mercedes-Benz CLS a Good Car?

Yes, the Mercedes-Benz CLS is a good car. Though Mercedes labels the CLS a four-door coupe, this luxury large car is really a sedan with a sloping roof. It delivers a cushioned ride, and its engines supply plenty of power. Inside, the CLS boasts an attractive, posh interior and offers a lengthy list of features, including many driver assistance options. The seats are comfortable and supportive as well. There are a few drawbacks, like the limited rear-seat headroom and so-so agility, but overall this is a great car.

Should I Buy the Mercedes-Benz CLS?

The CLS combines powerful engines with high-tech treats and first-class craftsmanship. The result is a sedan that's modern, polished, and elegant. It's also quite expensive, with retail prices climbing into the upper limits of the class. You can find a similar level of refinement by opting for an Audi A7 or Genesis G90, and you'll save money. You could get more back-seat and trunk space with a luxury midsize car like the Mercedes-Benz E-Class, which costs nearly $18,000 less than the CLS.

Compare the CLS, A7, and G90 »

Should I Buy a New or Used Mercedes-Benz CLS?

Mercedes redesigned the CLS for the 2019 model year, and it sees plenty of changes. The 2019 model features a revamped trim lineup and replaces the prior generation's twin-turbo V8s with six-cylinder engines. The new engines aren't as powerful (2019 models feature engines with 362 and 429 horsepower, while 2018 models have engines with 402 and 577 horsepower), but they're more efficient thanks to the new mild hybrid technology.

The updated interior looks much more modern and includes new tech like a larger standard infotainment display and available features like Car-to-X communication. The redesigned CLS also seats five people, whereas the outgoing model sat just four.

Although you can potentially save thousands by shopping for a used CLS, you'll miss out on the redesigned model's updates. If you're interested in a used model, be sure to visit our overviews of the 2017 and 2018 Mercedes-Benz CLS. Also, check out our Used Car Deals page to learn about savings and discounts on used vehicles.

Compare the 2017, 2018, and 2019 CLS »

We Did the Research for You: 11 Reviews Analyzed

We don’t base our car reviews on our personal opinions. Instead, we combine the findings of professional test drivers with data such as reliability ratings and safety scores to give you a complete overview of every vehicle we rank.

Why You Can Trust Us

U.S. News & World Report has been ranking the best cars, trucks, and SUVs since 2007, and our staff has more than 75 years’ worth of auto industry experience combined. To keep our reviews unbiased, we don’t accept expensive gifts or trips from car companies, and an outside company manages our advertising.

How Much Does the Mercedes-Benz CLS Cost?

Mercedes dropped the price of the base CLS for 2019 to $69,200, down about $75,000 from the year before. Even with price reduction, the CLS is still one of the most expensive cars in the class. 

Check out our U.S. News Best Price Program for great savings at your local Mercedes-Benz dealer. You can also find excellent manufacturer incentives on our Mercedes-Benz deals page.

Mercedes-Benz CLS Versus the Competition

Which Is Better: Mercedes-Benz CLS or Mercedes-Benz E-Class?

The Mercedes-Benz E-Class is a luxury midsize car, and it might be worth a look if you want a Benz but would prefer a more welcoming interior over the CLS' swoopy styling. The E-Class sedan offers several strong engine options, and it's agile while delivering a smooth ride. Both cars have premium interiors with comfortable seats and plenty of features. Unlike the CLS, the E-Class is also available in coupe, convertible, and wagon body styles, and it offers a wider range of engines, including a 603-horsepower V8. These are both great cars, but the E-Class offers a little more versatility for less money than the CLS.

Which Is Better: Mercedes-Benz CLS or Mercedes-Benz S-Class?

The Mercedes-Benz S-Class is one of the finest cars on the road. It's a super luxury car (and it's priced like one, costing around $90,000 for the base model), but the CLS still measures up well. Both cars have extensive features lists and premium interiors, though the S-Class goes a bit beyond its fellow Mercedes in both respects. The S-Class provides unbelievable seat comfort and more trunk space than the CLS. Both cars prioritize a comfortable ride over sporty handling, and both feature multiple engine options. These are both great cars, so it's up to you to decide which is the better value for the money.

Compare the CLS, E-Class, and S-Class »

CLS Interior

How Many People Does the CLS Seat?

The CLS seats five people. You probably want to limit it to four in practice because of the cramped rear middle seat. The front seats remain supportive and comfortable even after a long day of driving. The rear seats feel good as well, but the sloping roofline restricts headroom for tall people.

CLS and Child Car Seats

The Mercedes provides two full sets of LATCH connectors for installing car seats.

CLS Interior Quality

The 2019 CLS looks and feels more modern than the outgoing model. It features a beautifully crafted interior that's stylish and replete with premium materials.

CLS Cargo Space

The CLS only has 11.9 cubic feet of trunk space, which is enough room for eight or nine grocery bags but not much more. Most luxury large cars have larger trunks than the CLS.

CLS Infotainment, Bluetooth, and Navigation

The CLS’ standard COMAND infotainment system includes a 12.3-inch display screen and a touchpad controller. Available features include Mercedes' In-Car-Office (which helps you orchestrate conference calls while on the go), wireless device charging, a Burmester audio system, and Car-to-X communication (which allows all cars equipped with this technology to communicate with each other about hazardous on-road situations).

COMAND responds quickly to inputs, and it's easy to change settings with the touchpad controller, though some users prefer a touch screen. The intuitive menu layouts are easy to navigate.

Read more about interior »

CLS Performance

CLS Engine: Bye Bye V8, Hello Inline-6

The V8s that powered the outgoing CLS series are replaced by a pair of turbocharged six-cylinder engines that put out 362 horsepower in the CLS 450 and 429 horsepower in the AMG CLS 53. Both engines move the car with ease, but the AMG model delivers better acceleration. Both engines also feature an EQ Boost mild hybrid system that helps improve fuel efficiency and can automatically boost horsepower ratings (by 21 horsepower) for short periods.

CLS Gas Mileage: You'll Like What You Get

Few rivals can hang with the CLS when it comes to fuel economy. This Mercedes gets 24 mpg in the city and 31 mpg on the highway with its base engine. For comparison, the Audi A7 gets 22/29 mpg city/highway, while the BMW 6 Series gets 20 mpg in the city and 29 mpg on the highway.

CLS Ride and Handling: As Cool As the Other Side of the Pillow

Buyers looking for a first-rate luxury cruiser that delivers a cushioned ride and relaxed handling need to look no further than the CLS. However, many class rivals provide a more engaging driving experience.

Read more about performance »

CLS Reliability

Is the Mercedes-Benz CLS Reliable?

The 2019 CLS earns a slightly above-average predicted reliability rating of 3.5 out of five from J.D. Power.

Mercedes-Benz CLS Warranty

Mercedes-Benz covers the CLS with a four-year/50,000-mile warranty.

Read more about reliability »

CLS Safety

CLS Crash Test Results

Neither the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety nor the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has crash tested the 2019 CLS.

CLS Safety Features

Standard driver assistance features include Mercedes' Pre-Safe, lane keep assist, driver drowsiness monitoring, blind spot monitoring, and traffic sign recognition.

Available features include automatic high beams, active steering assist, active emergency stop assist, active speed assist, active lane change assist, active lane keep assist, active blind spot monitoring, evasive steering assist, rear cross traffic alert, a head-up display, Pre-Safe Impulse Side, Pre-Safe Sound, Pre-Safe 360, and Pre-Safe Plus. The Pre-Safe systems are designed to better protect occupants when the vehicle detects an impending collision.

Read more about safety »

Which Mercedes-Benz CLS Model Is Right for Me?

This Mercedes gives you two trim options: the base CLS 450 or the performance-oriented Mercedes-AMG CLS 53. While the AMG model delivers more power and quicker acceleration, most buyers should stick with the CLS 450. It features a smooth, powerful engine and offers a lot of tech features, making it an inspired choice among luxury large cars.

Mercedes-Benz CLS 450

The CLS 450 comes standard with a 362-horsepower turbocharged inline-six with EQ Boost, a nine-speed automatic transmission, and rear-wheel drive. Standard features include the COMAND infotainment system with a 12.3-inch display screen and a touchpad controller that gives haptic and acoustic feedback.

Standard driver assistance features include Mercedes' Pre-Safe, lane keep assist, driver drowsiness monitoring, blind spot monitoring, and traffic sign recognition.

Prices start at $69,200 with rear-wheel drive. Adding Mercedes' 4Matic all-wheel-drive system increases the price by $2,500.

Mercedes-AMG CLS 53

The AMG CLS 53 ($79,900) features a 429-horsepower turbo-six engine with EQ Boost and all-wheel drive. It also comes with an air suspension.

Check out our U.S. News Best Price Program for great savings at your local Mercedes-Benz dealer. You can also find excellent manufacturer incentives on our Mercedes-Benz deals page.

See 2019 Mercedes-Benz CLS specs and trims »

The Final Call

The redesigned 2019 Mercedes-Benz CLS lives up to its luxury billing by providing a cushioned ride and a chic, well-built interior. It may not be the best performer in the class, but there are lots of reasons to like this Mercedes. Overall, it finishes in the middle of our luxury large car rankings

Don’t just take our word for it. Check out comments from some of the reviews that drive our rankings and analysis.

  • "Thumbs-up. The CLS, gen III, is a testament to the strength of the original concept. It's a good, solid, contemporary Mercedes-Benz with an extra dose of flash, and there's nothing wrong with that." -- Autoweek
  • "In a word, great. The 2019 Mercedes-Benz CLS450 4Matic is a well-built automobile, a solidly constructed machine that doesn't feel like a sedan from the driver's seat. It feels low and wide and quick, but not by any means a dragstrip challenger for, say, the E63 sedan or wagon, which are both powered by twin-turbo 4.0-liter V8s." -- Kelley Blue Book
  • "Although not a clear knockout, the CLS does remain an easy pour for those who enjoy a glass of Mercedes-Benz sensibilities with robust hints of sportiness and heavy notes of technology. While I can do without the fanciful 'wellness' functions, a modernized throwback of the engine makes for an enjoyable drive. Like some things, the CLS just gets better with age." -- New York Daily News
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2019 Mercedes-Benz CLS-Class

MSRP: $69,200 - $79,900

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