Used 2007 Mercedes-Benz CLS-Class Sedan
Edmunds' Expert Review
If you seek sports car performance, sleek coupe-like style and the convenience of four doors, the 2007 Mercedes-Benz CLS-Class has you covered. And if you need even more emphasis on the performance end, the CLS63 AMG should more than satisfy.
Looking more like a sleek "they'll never build it like that" concept than an actual production car, the 2007 Mercedes-Benz CLS-Class is what the company calls a four-door coupe. This contradiction of terms is convincingly brought together via the CLS' crouching body, curving side windows and swept back roof line. In a sea of handsome, midsize luxury sedans, the CLS has the increasingly rare ability to stand apart thanks to its head-turning style. And in this segment, that counts for a lot.
Under the overtly athletic skin is a chassis to match. This year sees the infusion of more power under the hood as a pair of new V8s debut. The "standard" CLS, called the CLS550, now sports a 5.5-liter V8 wielding 382 hp, a full 80 horses more than the V8 in last year's CLS500. The mighty AMG version is now called the CLS63 AMG and has a 6.2-liter V8 that makes a monstrous 507 hp, an increase of 38 hp compared to last year. Both engines send their power through a seven-speed automatic with manual-shift capability. Performance is exhilarating in the CLS550, stupendous in the CLS63.
Sexy styling and push-you-back-in-your-seat power are strong draws for moneyed enthusiasts, but the CLS is not without its flaws. The tapered roof line means those in back will have less room than if they were riding in a shorter E-Class sedan. Most passengers will be comfortable back there, but taller folks will want to be quick when calling "shotgun." And in spite of the superb engineering exhibited in the powertrains and suspension, there are some ergonomic quirks, such as a flimsy pop-out cupholder and fussy audio and navigation controls.
Direct competition for the 2007 Mercedes-Benz CLS-Class is hard to nail down, due to the Benz's unique body style. Loosely defined, the CLS' rivals would be V8-powered, rear-drive luxury/sport sedans, such as the Audi A8/S8, BMW 5 Series/M5, Lexus GS 430, Infiniti M45 and Cadillac STS/STS-V. Although all are impressive vehicles, none can match the CLS's impressive combination of style, performance and function.
2007 Mercedes-Benz CLS-Class configurations
The 2007 Mercedes-Benz CLS is a midsize luxury sedan. It comes in two trims, the CLS550 and the CLS63 AMG. The CLS550 comes with full power accessories, a sunroof, four-zone automatic climate control, a Harman Kardon audio system with six-CD changer, a trip computer and 18-inch alloy wheels. Mercedes' Airmatic suspension system is also standard and gives the CLS a level of adjustability to suit every type of driver. In addition to the bigger V8, the CLS63 AMG adds napa leather upholstery, heated sport seats, 19-inch wheels, a sport-tuned suspension and more powerful brakes.
Options for both CLS trims include a navigation system, "Distronic" adaptive cruise control, front and rear park assist, "Drive Dynamic" seats (that automatically pump up the side bolsters for additional support during performance driving) and a pair of color-themed "designo" packages. An AMG Sport package is available for the CLS550; it includes 18-inch double-spoke wheels, lower body skirting and paddle shifters. For the AMG itself, there is a Performance package that adds Formula One-style compound brakes, a 186-mph speed limiter (versus the standard 155-mph limiter), a limited-slip differential and even firmer suspension tuning.
Performance & mpg
The CLS550 has a 5.5-liter V8 that produces 382 hp and 391 pound-feet of torque. The CLS63 AMG has a 6.2-liter V8 that makes 507 hp and 465 lb-ft. A seven-speed automatic with Sportronic manual-shift capability is the sole gearbox for both trims. Paddle shifters are standard on the CLS63 and optional on the CLS550. Responses from the advanced transmissions are satisfying, as there is no lag between shifts, especially in the AMG. According to Mercedes, the CLS550 will run from zero to 60 in 5.4 seconds, while the CLS63 will do that sprint in just 4.3 seconds.
Antilock disc brakes, active front head restraints, stability control, side curtain and side-impact (front and rear) airbags are all standard. Newly standard is the PreSafe system, which, when it senses an impending collision (via rapid braking and steering patterns) automatically tightens up the seatbelts, closes the sunroof and positions the right front seat for optimum airbag protection.
In addition to the prodigious thrust offered by its pair of powerful V8 engines, the 2007 Mercedes-Benz CLS-Class also makes a good showing when the road turns twisty. Left in its default Comfort mode, the standard CLS's suspension responds with typical luxury car motions, soft when it needs to be and stiff enough to maintain complete control at all times. There are two Sport settings designed for more aggressive driving that tighten things up and deliver a full-on sport sedan driving experience when desired. Unlike some other luxury/sport sedans, the CLS invites you to go harder at every turn. Quick steering, minimal body roll and plenty of grip contribute to that sensation. Stepping up to the CLS63 AMG kicks the already impressive performance up a few notches, making this four-seat four-door the equal of more than a few exotic two-seaters.
The CLS' coupe-like body style means getting into the rear compartment is tricky for 6-footers. Once inside, those taller folks may brush their heads, but plenty of knee and shoulder room keep it comfortable. The short windows make it feel less airy than a typical sedan, but compared to a traditional coupe, the CLS is legitimately comfortable in back rather than merely passable. A strip of wood trim that spans the dash differentiates the CLS from any of its siblings, along with smaller, but tastefully applied touches of wood and chrome trim throughout. The AMG version features napa leather upholstery, special multicontour sport seats up front, an Alcantara leather headliner and slick AMG gauges in black on white. As is typical for Mercedes, the audio and navigation systems take some getting used to, as opposed to the systems in Asian competitors, which are usually very intuitive.
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Features & Specs
More About This Model
Sitting on the Mercedes-Benz stand at the Geneva Motor Show back in 2004, the first CLS astonished styling critics. Even die-hard two-seater fans liked its radical new four-door coupe design. With that hammered roof, arched body reveals and radius-ed wheel openings, the low-slung CLS500 looked more like a snazzy show car than a boring sedan. Then the supercharged CLS55 AMG soon appeared with 469 horsepower.
You'd think that'd be sufficient, but up against hyperquick competitive sport sedans from Bentley, BMW and Maserati, Mercedes-Benz can't remain still. That's the rationale behind the newer, faster 2007 CLS63 AMG.
Absolute power corrupts absolutely
For M-B aficionados, the "63" numerals evoke a glorious past when the Stuttgarters offered the huge Series 600 limousine with a powerful 6.3-liter V8 called "M-100." In 1968, they stuffed that engine into the smaller 300 SEL, creating what was arguably the first European muscle car.
Nearly 40 years later, M-B's high-performance wing is playing a similar card. Intent on having the world's most powerful series-production, naturally aspirated V8, AMG's engineers designed an all-new aluminum block, in house, with different bore centers from the supercharged 5.5-liter engine it's replacing. Displacement is now 6.2 liters (6,208cc). Sure, a blower might have accomplished this power trip more easily, but that wasn't the plan.
Instead, the new V8, which is also seeing duty in the ML63 AMG, CLK63 AMG and E63 AMG, borrows heavily from AMG's racing practice. There's a fully boxed lower crankcase section to eliminate crankshaft flex, ceramic-metallic-coated cylinders (hence, no bore liners), vertical intake and exhaust ports to optimize airflow, dry sump oiling, variable cam phasing and a two-stage resonance intake. From the previous supercharged 5.5-liter V8, output is up 45 horsepower to 507 hp at 6,800 rpm but torque drops from 516 pound-feet to 465 lb-ft at 5,200 rpm.
At our first drive, the AMG engineers took pains to point out that their new V8 is more than a match for the much larger 7.0-liter, pushrod, single-camshaft Corvette Z06, which packs 505 hp and 470 lb-ft of torque. They didn't bother with a pricing comparison. In fact, we don't know the AMG CLS63's U.S. sticker yet, but it should be around $88,000.
Extra-cost options include an AMG performance package, 19-inch wheels (18-inchers are standard), a premium package, bi-xenon lights, Distronic cruise control, navigation, Keyless Go, Parktronic, etc. Order them all and you can add another $24,000-plus to the car's sticker price.
Communing with your fast, the AMG way
Let's not mince words here. This car has 507 hp, which puts it squarely in Ferrari and Porsche Turbo territory. Mercedes says the rear-wheel-drive CLS63 needs only 4.5 seconds to hit 60 mph. And the Benz makes such sprints with minimal wheelspin and no drama. Woooooosh and you're over 100 mph, and heading for an electronically limited 155 mph.
Streaking down the autobahn north of Munich, we flirted repeatedly with 135 to 145 mph, but couldn't top that figure before slower traffic demanded more prudent speeds. The engine fairly sings, and there's a bass woofle from the four big tailpipes (if you lower the windows) that tells victims they've been passed by a serious engine.
At speed, the CLS63 is rock steady, with precise on-center feel and perfectly weighted steering. Although racing influenced the 63's development, it's an adult speedster, not a boy-racer. Out in the countryside, on Germany's winding two-lane D-roads, its handling is taut and precise. You have to work to break the rear end loose; its tire grip is prodigious.
To ensure you can stop with the same aplomb as you'll want to accelerate again and again, AMG has fitted huge disc brakes (the fronts are composite) that are internally ventilated and well-perforated (cross-drilled). They worked well repeatedly on the autobahn, as we reeled in dawdlers, then slowed, before hammering the gas again and enjoying the V8's melodious snarl.
Fast and luxurious
When you're not terrorizing the autobahn in the CLS63, you waft merrily along on infinitely adjustable Airmatic suspension, albeit with AMG's sportier tuning. That said, the CLS63 feels supple, not stiff. While the ride is definitely firm, with virtually no perceptible body roll, it's never jarring or annoying. As you tear through tight corners, with almost no body roll wondering what the poor people are doing today, you find yourself wishing for a "serious" sports model, like a 911 Turbo or F430 to chase. It's that kind of car.
Shift paddles for the seven-speed AMG Speedshift gearbox are conveniently placed and very easy to use. Fifth is direct drive; 6th and 7th are overdrives. You tend to stay in 3rd and 4th on twisty roads when you're flicking the shift paddles for acceleration and compression braking, and use the top three gears on the autobahn for lightning-quick passing. One minor complaint: Unlike the SMG gearbox in the BMW M5, the CLS63 AMG seven-speed does not blip the throttle before downshifts.
Fine leather and matte surface burl walnut underscore the interior's elegance. Nestled deeply below the high beltline, you're further coddled with four-zone Thermotronic climate controls, PreSafe with pre-tensioned front seatbelts and anticipatory automatic seat crash adjustment, Neck-Pro (an electronically controlled head restraint system to reduce whiplash injuries) and eight airbags.
Leaving well enough alone
Other than the CLS63 AMG badging on the front fenders and deck lid, the 2007 CLS63 looks very similar to the preceding CLS55 AMG, arguing that the design was excellent from the outset. All CLS models eliminate the three-pointed star vertical hood ornament, instead the Mercedes-Benz wreath and laurel are inset into the hood.
The CLS slots neatly between Mercedes' midrange E-Class and the top-line S-Class. So all the latest M-B electronic handling trickery, adaptive braking (to flash the brake lights and prime the braking system) and traction control wizardry, some of it adapted from the S-Class, is included.
There's a long spec list that reads like alphabet soup: ABS, ESP, SBC (Sensotronic Brake Control). Brake Assist, Distronic proximity cruise control, and Parktronic parking aids are just a few of its many luxury features. Bi-xenon headlights combine with cornering lamps to point the way around the tightest curves.
Nothing to prove
AMG cars don't scream, "Hey, look at me!" with race-inspired but useless add-ons. Discreet bodywork changes, like the CLS63's aerodynamics-enhancing side skirts, rear apron and trunk spoiler, just hint at this car's high-speed potential. Compared to the BMW M5, the CLS has a tad more horsepower, and a road presence that's considerably more subtle, both dynamically and statically. You can fool people readily in this car; they may not immediately grasp its potential, and that's just what the AMG people probably had in mind.
With a 2007 Mercedes-Benz CLS63 AMG, you don't have to prove anything.
Used 2007 Mercedes-Benz CLS-Class Sedan Overview
The Used 2007 Mercedes-Benz CLS-Class Sedan is offered in the following styles: CLS550 4dr Sedan (5.5L 8cyl 7A), and CLS63 AMG 4dr Sedan (6.2L 8cyl 7A).
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Should I lease or buy a 2007 Mercedes-Benz CLS-Class?
Is it better to lease or buy a car? Ask most people and they'll probably tell you that car buying is the way to go. And from a financial perspective, it's true, provided you're willing to make higher monthly payments, pay off the loan in full and keep the car for a few years. Leasing, on the other hand, can be a less expensive option on a month-to-month basis. It's also good if you're someone who likes to drive a new car every three years or so.