2012 Mercedes-Benz CLS-Class


$19,188 - $19,861

2012 Mercedes-Benz CLS-Class Interior Review

Note: This interior review was created when the 2012 Mercedes-Benz CLS-Class was new.


Interior: 8.0

Reviewers are impressed with the 2012 Mercedes-Benz CLS550’s attractive, well-crafted interior. However, taller shoppers should note that the CLS’ attractive, sloping roofline also cuts into head room for both front and rear occupants. The CLS550’s cabin also features updated cabin electronics that most reviewers favor, although one auto writer complains that Mercedes’ COMAND user-interface still makes it difficult to make simple adjustments to the stereo and navigation system.

The 2012 CLS has slightly less cargo space than the outgoing 2011 model, but now benefits from rear seats that fold to increase cargo space and utility.

  • "The interior is exquisitely executed and trimmed in full leather and burl walnut or black ash." -- Automobile Magazine 
  • "The interior quality is also better, with actual metal rather than plastic on some of the switches, real wood panels, and gorgeous, thick leather." -- Car and Driver 
  • "CLS's dashboard suffers from too many buttons, including a few odd control icons. Further awkward is a steering-column cruise-control stalk that can be confused with the turn-signal lever below. CLS550's gear shifter also crowds the steering column." -- Consumer Guide 
  • "The cabin is awash in top-shelf materials and soft-touch surfaces, including a neat carbon fiber look/piano black outfit our CLS550 tester enjoyed." -- Motor Trend 
  • "The interior has evolved and, while it looks and feels like any other modern Mercedes cabin, it eschews some of the less-than-pleasing materials and layout from the last four-door coupe." -- Autoblog 


The 2012 CLS seats four, and some reviewers note that the CLS’ sloping roofline still means taller passengers might want more head room in the back. However, this complaint isn’t unusual for cars with a four-door coupe design. Cars like the Audi A7 and Jaguar XJ both sacrifice some functionality for their stylish good looks.

  • "CLS's curvaceous styling creates a cozy cabin feel. It also slightly hinders entry and exit for taller occupants. There's ample legroom, but headroom is tight for those over 6-feet tall. The seats are nicely contoured and hug occupants comfortably." -- Consumer Guide 
  • "While the cockpit is a bit on the snug side, Mercedes says head and shoulder room has improved for all four passengers, although you're still going to have jackknife into and out of the back seat if you're in the 90th percentile for height." -- Motor Trend 

Interior Features

Reviewers are generally pleased with the CLS550’s high-quality interior. Leather and wood trim surround the CLS’ occupants, while standard features such as navigation, Bluetooth and a 14-speaker Harmon Kardon stereo will keep passengers entertained and informed.

One reviewer thinks that Mercedes’ COMAND multi-media interface still requires too much work to control basic audio and navigation functions. Others counter that the system is greatly improved over the previous model.

  • "Pampering is on a very high level to save you time and money checking option boxes, so you can count on a killer hi-def sound system, navigation, and lots of electronic assistance." -- Automobile Magazine 
  • "The old, fiddly COMAND system used to access the navigation, audio, and telematics is gone, replaced by an iDrive-style controller. Overall, the quality and ambience come close to those of the S-class." -- Car and Driver 
  • "The navigation screen is large and sufficiently inset, but the system is controlled by a low, console-mounted knob, which often requires multiple steps for basic functions. This can be distracting. Climate controls are separate, but the navigation system absorbs audio functions. Both can also be operated through separate buttons thanks to redundant controls." -- Consumer Guide 
  • "The latest-generation of Mercedes COMAND, with its dial located in the center tunnel to access the 7-inch display, is by now familiar Benz fare that works relatively well controlling vehicle features." -- Motor Trend 


Although its coupe-like lines may make its rear seats less roomy than the E-Class sedan it’s based on, the 2012 CLS does benefit from improved utility thanks to rear seats that now fold to increase cargo space. That’s a plus since trunk space is down from 15.9 cubic feet in the 2011 CLS to 15.3 cubic feet in the new 2012 model, which is about average for the class.

If you’re looking for a super luxury car with a bigger trunk, consider the Jaguar XJ, which has 3.1 more cubic feet of cargo space.

  • "The trunk is long and wide but the opening is fairly small. Sickle-shaped trunk-lid hinges intrude a bit but are covered to avoid cargo damage. ... Cabin storage is average and comprised of a deep center console, a fairly large glovebox, and small door pockets." -- Consumer Guide 
  • "The two rear seats fold down for added utility if needed." -- Motor Trend 

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