Mercedes Benz has announced the end of its iconic CLS-Class, removing it from its current lineup by August 2023.
The CLS Class was first introduced in 2004, and its unique blend of sleek styling and practicality made it a popular choice among luxury sedan buyers. However, with the rise of SUVs and crossovers, demand for sedans and similar body styles across the industry has significantly dwindled, and Mercedes has decided to discontinue the CLS Class.
The CLS may not have sold in great numbers compared to other long-running nameplates in Mercedes’ lineup, but it was a remarkable car that combined style, performance, and luxury in a way that had never been seen before. Its unique design, exceptional driving performance, and luxurious features made it a standout model in Mercedes Benz’s lineup; spurring competition from the likes of Audi, Volkswagen, and BMW to release their own versions of the coupe-sedan bodystyle: most notably seen in Volkswagen’s Passat CC and BMW’s many ‘’Gran Coupe’/’Gran Turismo’ variants.
The CLS was a groundbreaking model that redefined the luxury sedan segment. One of the things that made it unique was its sleek and stylish design, which blended the best of both worlds- the striking lines of a coupe (inspired by its CL and SL coupe siblings) and the practicality of a traditional four-door sedan (with much of the architecture shared with the standard E-Class sedan). The CLS Class was the first of its kind that combined the sporty and dynamic looks of a coupe with the comfort and spaciousness of a sedan. Its distinctive profile, with a long hood, low roofline, and sweeping lines, made it stand out from other sedans on the road.
As with any model under Mercedes’ lineup, the CLS also received the treatment by Affalterbach’s engineers, AMG, to be made even more faster and aggressive – giving these luxury coupe-sedans the performance to match similar offerings from BMW’s M Division or Audi’s RS range.
The CLS 55 AMG (2004-2006), released for the first generation CLS (C219 was the first model to undergo AMG’s modifications, packing a 5.4L supercharged M113K V8 (more commonly utilized by its E-Class sibling, the W211 E55 AMG) under its sloping front bonnet. Following the replacement of the E55 AMG with the E63 AMG, the CLS followed suit – with the CLS 63 AMG (2006-2010) released as a successor incorporating the M156 V8.
The second generation (C218) saw the introduction of the CLS 63 AMG, featuring a 5.5L BiTurbo (twin-turbocharged) M157 V8 paired with AMG’s 7-speed MCT transmission.
This included an exclusive Performance Pack for those who felt the standard 5.5L M157 V8 wasn’t enough – increasing power up to 550 hp (with a boost increase from 14.5 psi to 18.8 psi as well as carbon fiber engine cover, rear spoiler, and more sportier suspension setup.
The third (and ultimately, final) generation CLS, the C257 also received the AMG treatment, in the form of the CLS 53 AMG.
But gone was the big displacement V8s; and in its place, a downsized 3.0L turbocharged and electronically supercharged inline-six – featuring Mercedes’ mild-hybrid assist system, EQ Boost, paired to a 9G-TRONIC dual-clutch transmission and 4MATIC+ (variable all-wheel-drive).
With the discontinuation of the CLS and similar-styled sedans likely to come, time can only tell if models like the CLS will become future classics to be appreciated by enthusiasts in the future.