What is it like on the inside?
Much like the E-Class in here, which is no bad thing. The basic architecture of the dashboard is the same – with two 12.3in screens operated either by annoying touchpads on the (new) steering wheel, a trackpad on the centre console or with Mercedes’ clever voice assistant (which gets better every time we sample it). You can even prod the screen yourself – but it’s a bit of a reach.
Our preferred method of operation is with the trackpad – it’s not as good as BMW’s clickwheel for iDrive, but make the most of it while it’s there. The ‘MBUX’ infotainment system itself, here on a landscape screen instead of the portrait touchscreen in the new S-Class and C-Class, is easy enough to wrap your head around and offers much in the way of functionality.
The CLS53 gets a special AMG-spec steering wheel with two little modules. One is a wheel for swapping between different drive modes (or you can push it in for the configurable ‘Individual’ mode), and the other can be customised to control various different things – from man/auto modes for the gearbox, toggling the start/stop system, stiffening the suspension and so-on. AMGs have had these controls for a while, but they used to feel a bit flimsy. Now they feel proper, and make switching drive modes easy as.
All the materials feel suitably solid and expensive, which is more than can be said about the new C-Class. And if you need to expand the 520-litre boot those rear-seats – which are pretty spacious considering, though headroom could be better – fold in a 40:20:40 split.