2010 Mercedes-Benz CLS-Class Performance

$12,566 - $12,566

2010 Mercedes-Benz CLS-Class Performance Review

Note: This performance review was created when the 2010 Mercedes-Benz CLS-Class was new.


Performance: 8.9

The 2010 CLS550 looks like a sporty coupe, and reviewers say its performance may never equal what a Jaguar XK or BMW 6-Series can do, but it will outperform most four-door cars. That’s true, primarily thanks to its extraordinary V8 engine and an adjustable suspension that lets drivers choose their own level of firmness -- making the car a composed highway cruiser at times and a sharp-cornering sport sedan (for its size) at others. 

Most super luxury sedans, however, put up something close to sports car performance numbers. The CLS actually trails the BMW 7-Series and Audi A8 in performance testing.  Reviewers, however, barely differentiate between the performances of sedans at this price. They’re all extraordinary.

  • “Goes as good as it looks, with smooth steering, strong brakes, a compliant ride, a solid structure, and powerful V-8s.” -- Car and Driver
  • “You're pretty much guaranteed a few grins.” -- Edmunds

Acceleration and Power

The 2010 Mercedes Benz CLS550 is powered by a 5.5-liter, 32-valve V8 engine making 382 horsepower. It’s the same V8 found in the S550 and E550. It sends power through a seven-speed automatic transmission, which can be shifted manually with steering-wheel mounted paddles. The CLS has an EPA-estimated fuel economy of 14 miles per gallon in the city and 21 on the highway. 

Reviewers love its smooth power delivery, and say few drivers would want more acceleration. Those who do, however, might be interested in the high-performance CLS63 AMG.

  • "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
  • "CLS550's V8 provides ample power at any speed, aided by smooth transmission that kicks down quickly for passing.” -- Consumer Guide
  • “Stellar acceleration, refined driving experience.” -- Car and Driver

Handling and Braking

Like all super luxury sedans, the 2010 CLS rides on an adjustable air suspension that allows drivers to dial in a preferred level of firmness. It has a Comfort mode and two separate Sport modes. Auto writers say, however, that even the softest setting is firmer than what many super luxury buyers might expect. Those interested in a softer ride might find the BMW 7-Series or Audi A8 a better fit -- both of those cars also offer sporty suspension modes, but have softer modes available. Reviewers say the CLS’ speed-sensitive steering feel is relatively light and responsive. We found few comments that relate to the car’s brakes.

  • "Too big to be really agile, but the CLS550 exhibits little cornering lean and provides strong grip in fast turns." -- Consumer Guide
  • "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 Airmatic adjustable suspension gives the driver the option of a Comfort mode as well as two distinct Sport modes.” --  Edmunds

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