$36,410 - $58,443

2016 Mercedes-Benz CLS-Class Performance Review

Note: This performance review was created when the 2016 Mercedes-Benz CLS-Class was new.

Scorecard

Performance: 8.8

The 2016 Mercedes-Benz CLS impresses critics with its powerful engines, which they say deliver forceful acceleration. They add that the CLS handles well and has responsive steering. Most think the ride is smooth, but some complain that it's too stiff on city streets.

  • "As brilliant on an enclosed track as it is on the open road, the 2016 CLS coupe from Mercedes-Benz offers its owners a sense of exclusivity and envy few cars can match." -- Kelley Blue Book
  • "If performance and handling are what you're after, the CLS63 AMG is, as always, the way to go. It sports a bigger twin-turbo V-8 with even more power on tap than before. The result is an addictive shove in the chest every time you get into the throttle." -- Motor Trend (2015)
  • "Simply put, the 2014 Mercedes-Benz CLS550 drives beautifully." -- Edmunds (2014)

Acceleration and Power

The 2016 CLS400 features a turbocharged 3.0-liter V6 engine that puts out 329 horsepower, and a seven-speed automatic transmission is standard. The CLS550 features a turbocharged 4.7-liter V8 that produces 402 horsepower, and it has a nine-speed automatic. The CLS400 earns an EPA-estimated 20/30 mpg city/highway, which is above average for the class.

The Mercedes-AMG CLS63 S features a turbocharged 5.5-liter V8 paired with a seven-speed dual-clutch automatic transmission. It has 577 horsepower and 590 pound-feet of torque. Mercedes estimates that the CLS63 S will go from zero to 60 mph in 3.6 seconds and lists its top speed as 186 mph.

The CLS400 and 550 deliver ample power and acceleration, and the 550 has a smooth-shifting automatic transmission. Critics praise the AMG model for its breathtaking acceleration. 

  • "Power delivery [in the CLS550] is smooth and full-bodied, matched with quick, seamless shifts. It's always a joy to have that much brute force at one's disposal. Of course, it's twice as much fun when you step into the CLS63 AMG S 4Matic. …" -- Kelley Blue Book
  • "The CLS550 delivers a plentiful rush of power that can pin passengers to their seatbacks when you hit the gas, while the AMG CLS63 S, with its colossal thrust and resolute grip provided by the standard all-wheel-drive system, feels like something developed by the Air Force." -- Edmunds
  • "This 'starter' version's biturbo 3.0-liter V-6 supplies an ample 329 horsepower and 354 pound-feet of torque. … The Benz biturbo feels as overachieving here as it does in the C400 sedan." -- Automobile Magazine (CLS400 - 2015)
  • "… Benz has introduced the new CLS400 powered by a twin-turbo V-6. … Here in the CLS-Class, it provides more than enough power for most customers, with plenty of turbo-backed torque ready to execute a pass at any time. It's no monster like the twin-turbo V-8s in the CLS550 and CLS63 AMG, but it's plenty quick and very smooth." -- Motor Trend (2015)

Handling and Braking

Rear-wheel drive is standard and Mercedes' 4MATIC all-wheel drive system is available (standard on the AMG CLS63 S). An adaptive suspension that adjusts to various road conditions is also available.

The CLS has poised handling and corners well at speed. Steering is accurate and responsive. Some reviewers think the CLS delivers a cushioned ride, but others argue that the suspension is too stiff for optimal comfort when driving around town.

  • "The 2016 Mercedes-Benz CLS550 embodies all that we've come to expect from top-level German luxury sedans. The confidence-inspiring handling, combined with a composed ride quality, is a testament to the adaptive suspension's range and tuning. The steering feel is also worthy of praise, as it provides feedback to the driver during enthusiastic handling and feels properly weighted for every driving condition." -- Edmunds
  • When pushed, the CLS inspires confidence both in the turns and on the freeway. The stiff suspension, however, makes for a rather stern around-town driving experience." -- Kelley Blue Book
  • "With reasonably quick steering and good throttle response, the CLS400 takes a corner pretty well for a luxury sedan -- excuse me, 'four-door coupe.'" -- Motor Trend (2015)
  • "The CLS550 can take a fast turn with remarkable grip and minimal body roll." -- AutoTrader (2014)

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