Success can be awkward. When Mercedes-Benz unveiled the Vision CLS "concept" at the 2003 Frankfurt Auto Show, the response was overwhelmingly positive. An E-Class sedan never looked so good.
They called it a coupe. It wasn't. Nobody cared. It and the virtually identical-looking production CLS transcended any contrived monikers the marketing department could dream up.
The 2012 Mercedes-Benz CLS550 is the company's sophomore follow-up to the stylistic smash hit of the original. For an automaker, that's a tough spot in which to find itself.
Balancing Familiar With Fresh Here's the reason. Mercedes-Benz reckons that nearly two-thirds of European buyers of the first-gen CLS cite styling as the deciding factor in their purchase. This created something of a pickle for the designers of the second-generation car. Surely the company would have loved to capitalize on a strong family resemblance to the successful outgoing CLS, yet that car won hearts precisely for representing a dramatic departure from the norm. What to do?
Styled in Mercedes-Benz's U.S. design studio in Carlsbad, California, the new CLS nods at the old car and then goes its own way. It shares a similar crescent-shaped greenhouse profile and tapered, high-bustle rear with the outgoing car, but much of that car's feminine elegance is gone, particularly at the front.
A chunky, upright grille à la SLS AMG dominates the nose, lending the 2012 Mercedes-Benz CLS550 a much blockier and massive-looking presence. The rear haunches have swollen, and the outgoing car's gracefully arching character line that stretched from the front wheel arch to the taillight is now interrupted by a second crease that echoes the fenders of the 500K of the 1930s.
It's a look that will divide opinions. Maybe that's the idea.
Power House U.S.-bound CLSs will offer one powertrain at launch as opposed to the cornucopia of offerings overseas. A new — largely new, anyway — 4.6-liter V8 boasts twin Honeywell GT2260 turbochargers and direct injection that join forces to create 402 horsepower, an increase of 20 compared to the outgoing normally aspirated 5.5-liter mill upon which it's based. The familiar seven-speed autobox is, predictably, the only transmission available.
Torque is what's for dinner in cars like the CLS, and that's a particular specialty of the force-fed bent-eight, as there are 443 pound-feet on tap from 1,600-4,750 rpm.
Fret not, fans of the non-boosted M273 lump. Lag in the new engine (engine code M278) is a nonissue so there's an immediate response when you flex your ankle. The plentiful torque is delivered seamlessly even from low revs, and yet the 2012 Mercedes-Benz CLS550 is said to be some 22 percent more efficient on the European drive cycle. EPA fuel-economy testing is yet to be completed.
Some of the efficiency improvement is due to a stop/start engine function that won't initially be available in stateside CLSs, as compliance of the system with U.S. emissions isn't finalized. Still, this engine is a win-win situation on all fronts. It even sounds terrific as it maintains an exhaust note that suggests ample meat lurks underhood.
A Smidge Larger, Slipperier, Stiffer. And Heavier The new CLS is incrementally larger in every dimension than the outgoing CLS — about an inch longer, a half-inch higher and less than a half-inch wider. Wheelbase grows by 0.8 inch to 113.2 inches. There's fractionally more shoulder room inside, though the dramatically curved roof line still compromises rear headroom, kind of like a, um, coupe.
Despite the larger frontal area, drag has been reduced by 10 percent thanks to an improvement in the drag coefficient to a slippery 0.26. Static bending and torsional stiffness are up 28 and 6 percent, respectively. The beefier body shell adds weight — so although the new CLS boasts new all-aluminum doors, hood, deck lid and parcel shelf, it checks in about 140 pounds heavier than the old CLS.
Graceful Character You'd never guess the 2012 Mercedes-Benz CLS550 grew heavier by the way it takes to the road. We sampled the CLS in the hills and dales of central Italy and, simply put, it drives beautifully. There's tidy handling and an absorbent ride from the air suspension and variable dampers, and the new electrically assisted steering is pretty transparent, if a bit too light at low speeds. It loads up naturally, however, and the mechanically variable ratio that quickens as you add lock is a real boon in helping the CLS drive smaller than it is.
Whereas the exterior styling is divisive, the cabin is gorgeous. It's a thoroughly modern, well-trimmed and attractive place that feels airy despite the apparently chopped roof line. Call it a sneaky styling trick. And in addition to every imaginable creature comfort short of a Mediterranean spa (though we hear they're working on that), there are new optional nannies aboard in the form of lane-departure and blind-spot correction systems.
New active all-LED headlights are said to be a world's first, too. Designed to last the life of the car, they automatically dip the cutoff and modulate the high beams in response to oncoming traffic and driving conditions. Very clever indeed. In action each headlight's central nodule eerily pivots around like some kind of sentient being.
Genuine Class Expect the 2012 Mercedes-Benz CLS550 to stick close to a base price of $74,000 when it arrives in U.S. showrooms in May 2011. For that sum you get one highly accomplished sedan, possibly one of the best on the road.
In a twist of irony, the main attraction of the CLS is no longer its heart-stopping sheet metal but rather the substance beneath the skin.
Edmunds attended a manufacturer-sponsored press event to facilitate this report.
Used 2012 Mercedes-Benz CLS-Class listings and inventory: Shop Edmunds' used car, SUV, and truck listings of over 6 million pre-owned vehicles to find a cheap used and certified pre-owned (CPO) 2012 Mercedes-Benz CLS-Classs for sale near Ashburn VA. There are currently 177 used and CPO 2012 CLS-Classs listed for sale in your area, with list prices as low as 24,995 and mileage as low as 27,591. Simply research the type of used car, SUV, or truck you're interested in and then select a vehicle from our massive database to find cheap pre-owned vehicles for sale near you. Once you have identified a used vehicle you're interested in, check the Carfax and Autocheck vehicle history reports, read dealer reviews, and find out what other owners paid for the used 2012 Mercedes-Benz CLS-Class. Then select Edmunds' special offers, perks, deals, and incentives to contact the dealer of your choice and save up to 500 on a used or CPO 2012 CLS-Class available from one of 2,806 dealerships in your area.
What's a good price on a used 2012 Mercedes-Benz CLS-Class ?
Save up to $500 on one of 20 used 2012 Mercedes-Benz CLS-Classs for sale at dealerships within 25 miles of Ashburn, Virginia with prices as low as $24995 as of Jan 23, 2018, based on data from 18 dealers and 110 consumer-driven dealer ratings ranging from 3 to 4.9 out of 5 stars.
Price comparisons for used 2012 Mercedes-Benz CLS-Class trim styles:
The used 2012 Mercedes-Benz CLS-Class CLS550 4MATIC is priced around $29943 with average odometer reading of 55828 miles.
The used 2012 Mercedes-Benz CLS-Class CLS550 is priced around $33363 with average odometer reading of 48949 miles.
The used 2012 Mercedes-Benz CLS-Class CLS63 AMG is priced around $40070 with average odometer reading of 67285 miles.
Shop with Edmunds for perks and special offers on used cars, trucks, and SUVs near Ashburn, Virginia. Doing so could save you hundreds or thousands of dollars. Edmunds also provides consumer-driven dealership sales and service reviews to help you make informed decisions about what cars to buy and where to buy them.
What options are available on the 2012 Mercedes-Benz CLS-Class?
Exterior Colors: Iridium Silver Metallic, Steel Grey Metallic, designo Diamond White Metallic, Lunar Blue Metallic , Black, Desert Silver Metallic, Arctic White, Indium Grey Metallic, Capri Blue Metallic, Cardinal Red Metallic, Granite Grey Metallic, Obsidian Black Metallic, Alabaster White, Palladium Silver Metallic, Pewter Metallic, Storm Red Metallic, designo Graphite, Diamond White Metallic, Jade Green Metallic, Lunar Blue Metallic, Magnetite Black Metallic, Pearl Beige Metallic (SPC), Selenite Grey Metallic, designo Cardinal Red Metallic, designo Magno Alanite Grey, designo Magno Cashmere White, designo Mystic Blue Metallic
Interior Colors: Black Leather w/Gray Stitching leather, Black premium leather, Saddle Brown/Black leather, Cashmere Beige leather, Almond/Mocha leather, Black Premium premium leather, Ash premium leather, Ash/Black leather, Black Nappa Leather, Ash/Black premium leather, Black w/Gray Stitching leather, Cashmere leather, Almond/Brown premium leather, Almond/Mocha Premium premium leather, Ash/Black Premium premium leather, Black Nappa w/Silver Stitching premium leather, Black Premium Leather w/Gray Stitching premium leather, Black leather, Black w/Grey contrast stitching leather, Cashmere Beige premium leather, Porcelain/Black leather, Sunset Red leather, designo Cashmere Beige premium leather, designo Classic Red/Black Semi-Aniline premium leather, Almond/Mocha premium leather, Black leather/suede, Black premium leather/alcantara, Black w/Gray leather, Black w/Grey contrast stitching premium leather, Porcelain/Black premium leather, designo Jet Black Leather premium leather, designo Light Brown premium leather
Popular Features: 2nd Row Bucket Seats, Alarm, Audio and cruise controls on steering wheel, Auto Climate Control, Aux Audio Inputs, Bluetooth, Leather Seats, Multi-Zone Climate Control, Navigation, Post-collision safety system, Power Driver Seat, Pre-collision safety system, Rear Bench Seats, Stability Control, Sunroof/Moonroof, Tire Pressure Warning, Trip Computer, Upgraded Headlights, Automatic Emergency Braking, USB Inputs, Back-up camera, Cooled Seats, Fold Flat Rear Seats, Heated seats, Power Liftgate/Trunk, Blind Spot Monitoring, Lane Departure Warning, Parking sensors, 360-degree camera, Apple Carplay/Android Auto, Electronic Folding Mirrors, AWD/4WD, Adaptive Cruise Control, Keyless Entry/Start, Upgraded Engine, Upgraded Stereo
Engine/Mechanics: 6, 8 cylinders
Fuel Types: premium unleaded (required)
Drivetrains: rear wheel drive, all wheel drive
used 2012 Mercedes-Benz CLS-Class Overview
The used 2012 Mercedes-Benz CLS-Class is offered in the following submodels: Sedan, CLS63 AMG. Available styles include CLS550 4dr Sedan (4.7L 8cyl Turbo 7A), CLS550 4MATIC 4dr Sedan AWD (4.7L 8cyl Turbo 7A), and CLS63 AMG 4dr Sedan (5.5L 8cyl Turbo 7A). Pre-owned CLS-Class models are available with a 0-liter gas engine, with output up to 518 hp, depending on engine type. The used 2012 CLS-Class comes with rear wheel drive or all wheel drive. Available transmissions include: 7-speed shiftable automatic.