Considering the CLS500's hefty curb weight and relatively small displacement V8, it has plenty of power and comes off the line hard under full-throttle acceleration. We noted slight stability control intervention at launch, and turning the ESP system off netted a slight improvement in 0-60 times. Upshifts were very positive and occured right at redline.
The big Benz stops quickly and confidently with minimal front end drive or other drama. We didn't feel any ABS noise or vibration, and fade was a non-issue. The brake assist system worked flawlessly and seamlessly, we didn't notice anything during hard stops. These numbers are outstanding for a heavy full-size sedan.
This car is amazingly agile for a large luxury cruiser. Steering is quick and precise, and suspension damping is excellent when set to "Sport 2" mode. Torque and low-end power were plentiful when pulling out of the final cones in third gear, and the shiftable automatic works well.