I had the pleasure of driving the Mercedes-AMG CLS 53 for a week, where I was able to truly experience and enjoy this sleek, low, and fast vehicle. On paper, it is very similar to the E 53 I had previously tested, so I was excited to see how it would compare. I drove the CLS 53 through cities, country roads, and motorways.
The CLS series is distinguished by its long and sleek body. The 53 variant features a ducktail on the rear boot lid, a sportier front lip, the typical double exhaust setup on the rear bumper, and much larger tires, wheels, and brakes than the non-AMG CLS models. Again, the double exhausts on each side of this car are merely visual, with a single exhaust positioned in the middle on each side. I personally love the look of the CLS series, I’m a big fan of long cars, and the CLS certainly is a long one, spanning just short of 5 meters. If I was to have a criticism, I feel the front headlights look quite similar to the A class, and are vastly different from the C, E, and S class headlights. The rear taillights are similar to the beautiful tear-drop shaped headlights of the previous generation of CLS models. Overall, the CLS 53 is a sophisticated and sporty looking machine, sure to turn heads with its low roof and stance on the road.
Mercedes has a great continuity with the interiors of their cars, once you are familiar with one, you are familiar with them all. The CLS features a long centre screen which joins the dashboard and centre console. From the touch sensors on the steering wheel, you can control both, ensuring that your hands never need to leave the wheel. In front of the centre arm rest you find the dial selector and touch pad on top to navigate the centre screen. Like the E 53, I feel that having both the dial selector and touch pad on top of it compromises the usability of both of them. This has begun to be phased out by Mercedes in favour of a touch pad only. On the centre console you can find shortcut buttons to quickly navigate to Map, Media, or Car controls, allowing you to quickly get to the page you want. The HUD was very useful and I find it very useful when driving to note the speed and gear you are in. This is all customizable in the dashboard. You also have a choice of 3 different styles of speedometer and rev counter, and you can also configure which information you want on the available spaces in the dashboard itself. With the cruise control, you can also select Lane Assist, and steering wheel assistance, meaning the car can drive itself for a short period of time. Take your hands off the wheel for too long however, the car will be sure to remind you to put your hands back! The pneumatic suspension button can lift the car for when you need to climb a steep angle, into a parking garage for example. The leather and alcantara leather bucket seats are very comfortable, and there is ample space in the rear for any passengers. In summary, the interior of the CLS 53 is a very nice place to be, and comfortable to be in for extended periods of time. My only discomfort was from the heat in the cabin, due to there being no tint on the windows for this show model.
The CLS 53 is very well equipped with 435 horses under the hood, however, the sheer weight of this car does make it feel slightly more sluggish than the E 53. Despite the weight, the CLS 53 jumps from 0-100 in just under 5 seconds. The torque really pulls this car and makes it an absolute joy to drive on the motorway. The power delivery is almost instant, which makes it reach high speeds very quickly. The top speed of the CLS 53, as with all Mercedes-Benz/AMG cars is capped at 260km/h. In the corners, the car stays very flat and balanced, giving a good feeling and reading of the road below. In the Sport+ drive mode, the suspension stiffens to give the driver more feedback and reduces body roll. In the Comfort drive mode, the suspension is sedated and pillowy, making it comfortable and relaxed when you are cruising. Thankfully, due to the same engine construction as the E 53, the CLS 53 also makes pops, crackles, and bangs on downshifts and releasing the accelerator. This is an incredibly intoxicating sound, and one that never gets old. I have a suspicion that the engine sound is amplified by the in-car speakers, as the car is not loud from the outside. To the driver however, it feels like you’re waking up the whole neighborhood. The CLS 53 sits on 20-inch rims front and rear, with a front tire width of 245mm, and rears at 275mm. A notable difference from the E 53 was the fuel mileage, for some reason it was only able to scrape 500km of range on a single tank, and significantly less than that with ‘spirited’ driving. It didn’t matter though, driving this car with all its beautiful sounds was a pleasure.
If I was to buy this car, I think I would need a little bit more power. The weight of the car makes it feel and handle heavily. More power wouldn’t help in the corners, but realistically, nobody is driving their road cars on their cornering limits, ever. Nevertheless, a truly enjoyable and sexy car, and one that I will remember fondly.
It was a fantastic experience to drive the CLS 53, a potent cruiser that puts a massive smile on your face with its pops and bangs. I was expecting to enjoy this more than the E 53, but truthfully, I can’t ignore how heavy it felt, and the fuel mileage. Therefore, I’m giving it an 9/10 on my scorelist.
Engine – 3.0L Straight 6 Birturbo Petrol
Power – 435hp
Torque – 520Nm
Drivetrain – AWD
Gross Weight – 2550kg
Thank you Mercedes-Benz (Thailand) Ltd. www.mercedes-benz.co.th