2009 Mercedes-Benz CLS-Class


2009 Mercedes-Benz CLS-Class Performance Review

Note: This performance review was created when the 2009 Mercedes-Benz CLS-Class was new.


Performance: 9.0

The 2009 CLS550 provides plenty of power from its exceptional V8, combined with light and responsive steering. Its driver-adjustable suspension is firm in most settings, but provides a composed ride most reviewers praise.

  • "V8 provides ample power at any speed, aided by smooth transmission that kicks down quickly for passing. Too big to be really agile, but the CLS550 exhibits little cornering lean and provides strong grip in fast turns." -- Consumer Guide
  • "We feel all of 13 because we just got finished driving the Mercedes-Benz CLS550, and it just sort of does that to you. Jittery nerves, sweaty palms, dry mouth -- we're in love with that sultry sheetmetal, those curvy flanks, that rakish rear end. Smitten, we tell you." -- Car and Driver
  • "Not surprisingly, the CLS550 is both powerful and comfortable on the open highway." -- Kelley Blue Book

Acceleration and Power

The 2009 Mercedes Benz CLS550 is powered by a 32-valve V8 engine that delivers 382 horsepower at 6,000 rpm and 391 pound-feet of torque. Test drivers love the engine, saying the CLS550 has plenty of power and delivers it smoothly.  A seven-speed touch-shift transmission will shift like an automatic, or allow the driver to shift manually with steering-wheel mounted paddles. The CLS has an Environmental Protection Agency estimated fuel economy of 14 miles per gallon in the city and 21 on the highway.

  • "Power from the two V-8s - 382 hp and 391 lb-ft for the 5.5-liter, and 507 hp and 465 lb-ft from the 6.2-liter AMG engine - is unchanged. And that's just fine by us." -- Automobile Magazine
  • "Smooth and serene...leaves little to complain about when you call up maximum thrust on the road. It launches hard, shifts crisply and feels strong." -- Edmunds
  • "Has strong immediate power, and it doesn't taper off as speed increases, making for no-sweat highway passing and merging." -- Consumer Guide
  • The transmission "slices up the engine's output with the deftness of a seasoned sushi chef, dishing out smartly sized portions of torque with scalpel-sharp precision (buttons on the steering wheel allow self-serve shifting as well)." -- Motor Trend

Handling and Braking

The CLS rides on an adjustable air suspension, which offers a Comfort mode and two Sport modes. Reviewers generally say that even the softest of the settings is firmer than what Mercedes loyalists might expect from the E-Class and S-Class sedans. The speed-sensitive steering feel is relatively light and responsive.

  • "Thanks to the quicker ratio rack-and-pinion steering, the firmer suspension tuning, the wider track and grippier tires, the car responds to driver inputs quickly but in a very composed manner." -- Road and Track
  • "A solid yet luxurious balance of ride and handling." -- Motor Trend
  • "A comfortable ride in the true luxury sense. The suspension might be taut, but its operation is largely concealed as you drive on smooth surfaces." -- Cars.com
  • The adjustable suspension "works beautifully, giving the CLS a serene and polished feel on the road as well as surprising agility for its size and weight." -- Edmunds
  • Steering is "less cumbersome than the E's, as if it were feathered a step or two, delivering a deliciously light effort at low speeds but still a relatively firm, responsive feel as the digits climb." -- Car and Driver
  • "A vast array of electronic gear helps the driver maximize braking performance and keeps the nose ahead of the tail during evasive maneuvers." -- Automobile Magazine

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