$59,453 - $85,270

2017 Mercedes-Benz CLS-Class Performance Review

Note: This performance review was created when the 2017 Mercedes-Benz CLS-Class was new.


Performance: 9.1

If you want power and acceleration, you'll be satisfied with every engine in the 2017 Mercedes-Benz CLS lineup. The CLS offers both ride comfort and agility, so it's at home no matter your preferred driving style, though a few critics think its suspension is on the stiff side. Steering feedback and weight are excellent.

  • "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 (2016)
  • "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 base CLS400 is powered by a turbocharged 3.0-liter V6 engine that generates 329 horsepower. A nine-speed automatic transmission is newly standard for 2017. The CLS550 comes with a turbocharged 4.7-liter V8 that makes 402 horsepower.

The high-performance AMG CLS63 S comes with a 577-horsepower turbocharged 5.5-liter V8 paired with a seven-speed dual-clutch automatic transmission. According to Mercedes-Benz, the CLS63 S accelerates from zero to 60 mph in 3.6 seconds, and its top speed is 186 mph.

Mercedes-Benz estimates the base CLS400's fuel economy at 20 mpg in the city and 30 mpg on the highway. The CLS550 gets up to 18 mpg in the city and 26 on the highway, which is about average for the class.

The CLS400's engine delivers ample power and fast acceleration. The CLS550's puts down more robust and smooth power, and the AMG CLS63 S's V8 generates lightning-fast speed.

  • "Power delivery 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, which bumps output to 577 horsepower and 590 lb-ft of torque. A 7-speed AMG Speedshift automatic helps achieve a top speed limited to 186 mph." -- Kelley Blue Book
  • "The CLS550 delivers a plentiful rush of power that can pin passengers to their seatbacks when you hit the gas, providing the sort of acceleration we used to expect from AMG models (but without the firm ride and heftier repair bill that comes with its many AMG components). Then again, that just means that today's AMG model, the CLS63 S, is even more awe-inspiring with its colossal thrust and the resolute grip provided by its standard all-wheel-drive system. It's one of the most thrilling cars with four doors." -- Edmunds
  • "… 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

The Mercedes-Benz CLS offers both agility and ride comfort. It has sharp, responsive steering and composed handling around turns. Further, its ride is smooth and comfortable over most surfaces. Still, a few critics find the ride a bit harsh.

The Mercedes-Benz CLS comes with rear-wheel drive, and Mercedes’ 4MATIC all-wheel drive is available. The CLS is available with an adjustable suspension, which can adapt to road and driving conditions instantaneously.

  • "The 2017 Mercedes-Benz CLS550 embodies everything 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; it provides feedback to the driver during enthusiastic handling and feels properly weighted for every driving condition." -- Edmunds
  • "The 2017 CLS63 AMG S is easily a match for the Porsche Panamera and Audi S7, although we think the BMW M6 Gran Coupe feels a bit sharper overall. The 2017 CLS's impressive handling comes at price, that being its somewhat stiff ride that becomes annoyingly noticeable in everyday driving." -- Kelley Blue Book
  • "The CLS550 can take a fast turn with remarkable grip and minimal body roll." -- Autotrader (2014)

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