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  • Mercedes creates a niche and it looks like turning into a bandwagon. They’re queuing up to jump on.

The Mercedes CLS is a gussied-up E-class that manages to be much more than the sum of its parts. The CLS looks like a coupe, goes like a coupe, but retains four doors and nearly all of the practicality. Puts a little sex-appeal back into the Merc range without ending up at the door of the SLR.

  • Comfort

    A touch firm if you're old, but for most rational humans the CLS feels pretty much spot-on. There's a decent chunk of cruising ability woven into the mix and apart from a bit of tyre roar if you have big wheels, little intrusion. Strangely the standard coil springs are more comfortable than the higher-spec and AMG models and their air-suspension.

  • Performance

    The 100kph benchmark is dispatched in 4.5 seconds, the limiter set at 250kph. But it's what goes on in between that which really gets the guilt pulsing through your veins. There's so much seamless grunt through the seven-speed auto 'box that it's nigh on impossible to avoid some major law breaking in your own street.

  • Cool

    Very cool. Even when you know what it really is.

  • Quality

    Extremely well put together and containing some great materials and design. Proven and solid drivetrains and engines - this is a car that'll uphold Merc's reputation.

  • Handling

    The Mercedes CLS uses the same chassis as the E-Class, albeit a lowered and firmed-up version. So the car is sharper through the corners, is more competent with a flatter ride and has less body roll. The standard version's normal coil-springs have a much nicer ride than the AMG with its air suspension which feels more of the bumps.

  • Practicality

    The coupe-like shape means that rear seat passengers inevitably have less space than in the equivalent E-class, but it's pretty big in there. Trouble is the doors are quite small and the sills high - so there are some access issues. The boot's big and useful at 505litres.

  • Running costs

    The CLS suffers from poor fuel economy meaning it won't be a cheap car to run. However, for private buyers the car's huge desirability should see it keeping its values well.