By Amanda Mfuphi
The Mercedes Benz CLS is currently in its third generation and there are only two models available for buyers to choose from being the CLS 400d and the CLS 53 AMG-model. We were glad to have the former in our possession considering the prevailing economic climate.
The CLS400d is a 4-door sedan coupe which is built on the same platform as the new E-Class, which makes it a four-door version of an E-Class coupe giving consumers another (stylish) choice in the segment. The CLS 400d is a beautiful big sedan coupe, which is low, long and curvy. Upfront, the CLS 400d’s AMG diamond grille and large silver Mercedes Benz insignia is paired with the new Multibeam headlights and LED daytime running lights. The wide curvy front bumper with air vents completes the front look of the CLS 400d.
On the side, the CLS 400d is long and imposing, presenting a sleek look. The roof is low and swoops into the rear end. At the rear, the CLS 400d comes with LED taillights, a wide rear bumper with air vents and double exhaust. Finishing off the look were 20-inch AMG wheels which came with the AMG styling package. These AMG wheels stole the show for me as they are classy and sexy, and really added to the looks of the vehicle.
Overall, the exterior of the new CLS 400d is bold and announces your arrival at any event before you even step out of the car.
Stepping inside the CLS 400d, you are met with a smart, modern and luxurious cabin that continues the interior design language of new Mercedes Benz vehicles. The cabin is decently spacious, but we did notice that at the back taller passengers may find challenge with the headroom due to the slopping nature of the roof. However, there are no challenges with the legroom for any type of passenger as there is sufficient space both at the back and upfront. To ensure that passengers not only had sufficient space but sat in luxury and comfort, the CLS 400d came with black leather and suede seats that had impeccable padding and electric adjustment for the front seats.
On the infotainment front, the CLS 400d has a massive widescreen display that extends from the centre of the car all the way to the end of the driver’s side. The infotainment screen is controlled by a dial in the centre console and the screen is split into two, with the centre screen displaying infotainment and the driver’s side acting as a fully digital instrument cluster. The CLS 400d also has Apple CarPlay, Bluetooth connectivity, 2 USB ports and there’s also a wireless charger included. Our test CLS 400d was also equipped with the optional high performance Burmeister sound system which made every trip in the CLS400d seem like concert. Another alluring factor to the CLS400d is generous list of standard features which include front and rear PDC, a reverse-view camera, adaptive cruise control, climate control, navigation system, auto lights and wipers, plus keyless entry and start.
In terms of safety, the CLS 400d comes standard Brake assist, ABS, stability control, seven airbags, run flat tyres.
Power and drive
The CLS 400d is powered by a 2.9 litre 6-cylinder turbodiesel engine that is paired with a 9-speed auto gearbox. The engine pushes out a convincing 250kW of power and 700Nm of torque which makes light of piloting the large 4-door sedan coupe. We were fortunate to spend time with the CLS 400d over many kilometres as we had a trip to KwaZulu-Natal and therefore experienced the CLS 400d in all its glory on the open road. The CLS 400d provided comfort levels that exceeded our expectations and we were particularly with the engine refinement of the CLS 400d which did not push out diesel noise into the cabin. In fact, the CLS 400d was so quiet we even forget we were driving a diesel engine vehicle.
The gear transmission is also smooth and you barely notice labouring away. In terms of speed, the CLS 400d is quite brisk off the mark and its engine is able to effortlessly carry its body weight. This is both on inclines and when overtaking. The optimal delivery on Comfort mode actually took away the need to play around with Sport modes. This was also true for efficiency. More on that below. Being a big car, we found the steering of the CLS400d to be responsive and accurate. This and ensured proper handling of the CLS 400d. Adding to the party is 4Matic all-wheel drive which ensures that the car stays adequately planted on the road during those spirited drives and gives the driver the confidence in corners.
We were also particularly impressed with the fuel efficiency of the CLS 400d as it far exceeded our expectations. On our trip to Durban in KwaZulu-Natal we managed a healthy 5.8L/100km against the claimed 6.0L/100km.
The Mercedes-Benz CLS 400d 4Matic retails for R1,194,834, including a 2-year/unlimited km warranty and a 5-year/100,000 km maintenance plan.
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