2013 Mercedes-Benz CLS-Class

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2013 Mercedes-Benz CLS-Class Review

Note: This review was created when the 2013 Mercedes-Benz CLS-Class was new.

While it’s not as roomy as some rivals, the 2013 Mercedes-Benz CLS-Class pleases automotive critics with a powerful engine, an elegant interior and composed handling.

Pros & Cons

  • Powerful twin-turbo V8
  • Nimble handling
  • Attractive, well-built interior
  • Infotainment system gets mixed reviews
  • Limited headroom

Research & Ratings

Currently, the Mercedes-Benz CLS-Class has a score of 8.3 out of 10, which is based on our evaluation of 15 pieces of research and data.




Critics' Rating: 8.3
Performance: 8.4
Interior: 7.8
This model has never been fully tested for safety. Its overall score is being calculated without safety.
J.D. Power Ratings Logo

2013 Mercedes-Benz CLS-Class Overview

The CLS550 comes with a twin-turbo V8 engine, and test drivers agree that it makes the CLS550 exceptionally quick and powerful. A seven-speed automatic transmission and rear-wheel drive are standard, and all-wheel drive is optional. The EPA reports that the CLS550 gets 17/25 mpg city/highway, which is slightly better than the ratings that V8-powered super luxury cars like the BMW 750i and Lexus LS 460 get. Auto critics say that the CLS550 is nimble for its size. They write that an adjustable air suspension makes the CLS550 capable of athletic handling, as well as a comfortable ride. Additionally, one test driver notes that a small turning circle makes the CLS550 easy to maneuver.

Test drivers say that the CLS-Class’ cabin is attractively-designed and built with top-notch materials. They note that while the front seats are supportive and comfortable, headroom isn’t great in either row for people taller than 6 feet. Additionally, one critic writes that the CLS550’s COMAND infotainment system is confusing. However, others say that COMAND is fairly easy to use, and they also praise the CLS550’s stereo for its exceptional sound quality. The 2013 CLS550 comes standard with a sunroof, leather upholstery, heated front seats, navigation and a 14-speaker Harman Kardon stereo with Bluetooth phone and audio streaming, HD and satellite radio and a CD changer. Available features include a power trunk lid, automatic high beams, an iPod interface, heated and ventilated front seats, a heated steering wheel, adaptive cruise control, front and rear parking sensors, a rearview camera and blind spot monitoring and lane departure warning systems.

  • "In typical Mercedes-Benz fashion, the CLS-Class delivers impeccable ride quality, confident road-hugging handling, a long list of standard and optional high-tech features and an interior that is, quite simply, beyond reproach." -- Edmunds 
  • "No longer alone in the segment it created, the CLS has many imitators but few real rivals. That's because the CLS's combination of looks, performance, interior style and overall exclusivity is not easy to replicate, let alone improve upon." -- Kelley Blue Book 
  • "The CLS is still an expressive machine, and it remains a stylish alternative to an E550 sedan. We just wish it had a little more fire." -- Car and Driver (2012)
  • "The 2012 Mercedes-Benz CLS550 has a different story to tell. After all, the original car invented the so-called ‘four-door coupe’ design aesthetic that so many others have copied with varying degrees of success. The new CLS550 is a stunning performer that should have no problem carrying the mantle." -- Motor Trend (2012)

Other Cars to Consider

The base Audi A8 isn’t as powerful as the CLS550, but it comes standard with all-wheel drive and gets slightly better fuel economy. Additionally, test drivers say that the A8 offers composed handling and one of the nicest interiors in the class.

Critics say that the Porsche Panamera is one of the most athletic sedans in the class, and that it offers a luxurious interior. Like the CLS, the Panamera seats four, but reviewers agree that it has spacious and comfortable seats in both rows.

Compare the CLS550, A8 and Panamera »

Details: 2013 Mercedes-Benz CLS-Class

The 2013 Mercedes-Benz CLS550 seats four and has standard rear-wheel drive. A twin-turbo 4.6-liter V8 engine and a seven-speed automatic transmission are standard, and all-wheel drive is optional. The CLS-Class is also available as the high-performance CLS63 AMG, which gets engine, transmission and suspension upgrades, as well as some unique interior and exterior features. The Mercedes CLS was redesigned last year, and sees few changes for 2013. As a result, this overview uses applicable research and reviews from 2012 and the current model year.

See the full 2013 Mercedes-Benz CLS-Class specs »


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