2016 Mercedes-Benz CLS-Class Review

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Pros & Cons

  • Potent engines
  • beautifully crafted interior
  • abundant safety and convenience features
  • excellent ride and handling balance
  • distinctive styling.
  • Two-person backseat with limited headroom.
List Price Estimate
$29,313 - $39,032

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Edmunds' Expert Review

The 2016 Mercedes-Benz CLS has a higher price and a smaller backseat than its mechanically related E-Class sibling, but its sharper styling could be more than enough reason to choose one anyway.

Vehicle overview

The Mercedes-Benz CLS-Class has been a trendsetter since it first appeared on the scene. A decade ago, it ushered in the concept of a four-door car with a coupelike roof line, and that design has since spread throughout the automotive industry in the form of dedicated "four-door coupes." Several of those compete with the CLS directly, and it's fair to say that the CLS has influenced the design of regular old four-door sedans as well. Boxy is no longer acceptable, sleek is the new norm and the CLS can take much of the credit.

It's also fair to say that the 2016 Mercedes-Benz CLS-Class, which belongs to this model's second generation, is not such a trendsetter. It's simply following the formula established by its predecessor. But its diminished novelty has detracted little from its appeal. A Diane von Furstenberg wrap dress can still be fashionable even though it's no longer considered a new trend.

As always, the CLS provides the quality, features content, performance and driving experience of the superlative Mercedes-Benz E-Class, but with far sleeker styling that continues to stand out among the many conservatively styled luxury sedans plying the roadways. If you're looking for something distinctive to park in your driveway, the CLS-Class delivers.

At the same time, like wearing high heels to a day-long party, opting for style over function has its drawbacks. Space would be the main one, as there is significantly less rear seat headroom, and seating for four occupants only. Outward visibility is also a bit claustrophobic given the fast-rake pillars and tall window sills.

You also have to pay more than for an equivalent E-Class, but that's typical for the class. Popular coupe-styled rivals include the Audi A7 (and high-performance Audi S7 and RS 7) and the BMW 6 Series Gran Coupe and go-faster BMW M6 Gran Coupe. The CLS actually undercuts those four-door coupe rivals on price while being every bit as competitive and appealing from an objective, automotive perspective. However, cars like these are all about style and speaking to your automotive fashion sense. And even if the CLS is no longer a trendsetter, it's still plenty fashionable.

2016 Mercedes-Benz CLS-Class models

The 2016 Mercedes-Benz CLS-Class is a four-door, four-passenger midsize sedan. There are three trim levels that correspond to engine choice: CLS400, CLS550 and AMG CLS 63 S. The term "4Matic" indicates a particular example has all-wheel drive.

The CLS400 comes standard with 18-inch wheels, automatic LED headlights and running lights, automatic wipers, a sunroof, forward collision and driver inattention warning systems, dual-zone automatic climate control, heated 10-way power front seats (with four-way lumbar adjustment), driver memory settings, a power tilt-and-telescoping steering wheel, Bluetooth phone and audio connectivity, the COMAND technology interface (with an 8-inch display screen), a Garmin-sourced navigation system, a CD player, HD radio, an auxiliary audio jack, a USB port and a media player interface.

The Premium 1 package adds a rearview camera, power-folding side mirrors, keyless ignition and entry, a power-closing trunk lid, ventilated front seats, satellite radio and a 14-speaker Harman Kardon sound system. The Premium 2 package adds those items plus upgraded LED headlights with automatic high beam control, a power rear sunshade and an upgraded Mercedes navigation system.

The CLS550 has a more powerful engine plus an adaptive air suspension (optional on the CLS400), the upgraded navigation system and the Harman Kardon sound system. Its Premium package features all the elements of the two CLS400 versions that aren't already standard. The Night package adds gloss black exterior elements, red interior stitching, a sport steering wheel and a manual shift mode for the transmission.

The Mercedes-AMG CLS 63 S gets an AMG-tuned engine, transmission, adaptive suspension, braking system, exhaust and limited-slip differential. Beyond the CLS550 equipment, it has 19-inch wheels, unique styling elements, front and rear parking sensors, an automated parallel parking system, the upgraded LED headlights, special gauges and interior trim, an IWC "Ingenieur" analog clock, more aggressively bolstered sport seats, the power rear sunshade and upgraded leather upholstery. Its Premium package has the rearview camera, keyless ignition and entry, power trunk lid, power-folding mirrors and ventilated front seats with additional "multicontour" adjustments. Carbon-ceramic brakes and a 15-speaker Bang & Olufsen sound system are available.

Available on all trims is the Lane Tracking package that includes blind-spot and lane-departure intervention systems. The Driver Assistance package adds adaptive cruise control with stop-and-go functionality and steering assist, an enhanced blind-spot warning and intervention system, rear cross-traffic alert and an enhanced emergency braking system that includes pedestrian detection. A heated steering wheel can be added to either of these packages.

The CLS400 and CLS550 are available with the Parking Assist package that includes the front and rear parking sensors, an automated parallel parking system and a surround-view parking camera. They're also available with the extra "multicontour" seat adjustments, a split-folding rear seat and the Bang & Olufsen sound system.

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2016 Highlights

For 2016, the all-wheel-drive version of the Mercedes-Benz CLS550 gets the latest nine-speed automatic transmission, thereby mirroring the rear-drive CLS550. For every CLS, it is now possible to plug your smartphone in using a regular USB cable instead of the old, proprietary Mercedes plug. Finally, Mercedes, per its latest nomenclature, has renamed the range-topping model the Mercedes-AMG CLS 63 S.

Performance & mpg

The 2016 CLS400 is powered by a turbocharged 3.0-liter V6 that produces 329 horsepower and 354 pound-feet of torque. A seven-speed automatic and rear-wheel drive are standard, and all-wheel drive ("4Matic") is optional. EPA-estimated fuel economy is 24 mpg combined (20 city/30 highway) with rear-wheel drive and 22 mpg (19/26) with all-wheel drive.

The CLS550 is powered by a turbocharged 4.7-liter V8 good for 402 hp and 443 lb-ft of torque. A nine-speed automatic and rear-wheel drive are standard; all-wheel drive is optional. During Edmunds performance testing, a CLS550 with rear-wheel drive went from zero to 60 mph in just 4.6 seconds, which is very quick even for this lofty segment. EPA-estimated fuel economy is 21 mpg (17/26) with rear-wheel drive and 20 mpg (17/25) with 4Matic.

The Mercedes-AMG CLS 63 S has a turbocharged 5.5-liter V8 that cranks out 577 hp and 590 lb-ft of torque. A special AMG seven-speed automatic transmission and all-wheel drive are standard. Mercedes estimates it will go from zero to 60 mph in 3.6 seconds, which is exotic sports car territory. EPA fuel economy is 18 mpg combined (16 city/22 highway).

Safety

Every CLS-Class comes standard with antilock brakes, stability and traction control, front side airbags, front side pelvic airbags, full-length side curtain airbags and front knee airbags. Also included are a driver inattention warning system and a forward collision warning system with automatic braking. The mbrace emergency communications system provides automatic alarm and collision notification, emergency assist, stolen vehicle location and remote lock/unlock features.

Optional safety features include rear-seat side airbags, front and rear collision mitigation systems, blind-spot and lane-departure warnings with active steering intervention, frontal cross-traffic collision warnings with autonomous braking, front and rear parking sensors, a rearview camera and a surround-view camera. Some of these items are standard on the AMG model.

In Edmunds brake testing, a CLS550 with summer tires came to a stop from 60 mph in 102 feet, which would be excellent for a high-performance sports car, let alone a midsize luxury sedan.

Driving

The 2016 Mercedes-Benz CLS550 embodies all that we've come to expect from top-level German luxury sedans. The confidence-inspiring handling, combined with a composed ride quality, is a testament to the adaptive suspension's range and tuning. The steering feel is also worthy of praise, as it provides feedback to the driver during enthusiastic handling and feels properly weighted for every driving condition.

We have yet to drive the V6 CLS400, but given the mechanically related E400 we have driven, we're sure the power output will be more than adequate for most drivers, perhaps even abundant. But that's just the beginning. The CLS550 delivers a plentiful rush of power that can pin passengers to their seatbacks when you hit the gas, while the AMG CLS 63 S, with its colossal thrust and resolute grip provided by the standard all-wheel-drive system, feels like something developed by the Air Force.

Interior

The CLS-Class's evocative roof line is one of its most distinguishing characteristics, but it's not without its drawbacks. Headroom for the rear seats is reduced as a result, making them ill-suited for adult passengers. There are also only two rear seats. For frequent passenger shuttling, the less expensive and mechanically related five-seat E-Class is a better choice.

Materials quality and construction are up to the utmost expectations for Mercedes-Benz. The design aesthetic isn't as fresh as those in more recently designed Mercedes models like the C-Class, but it's handsome, elegant and suitably special. The CLS features the latest COMAND electronics interface software, but it lacks the new touchpad that goes along with it in the C- and S-Class. Frankly, we haven't found the touchpad especially useful. The remaining buttons and knob get the job done, but this latest system update does seem to be a bit more confusing than its predecessor.

Stepping up to the AMG CLS 63 S adds a distinctive sporty flair to the cabin, with racy sport seats and unique stitching and trim selections. The AMG also relocates the gear selector from the steering column to the center console, eliminating the large cupholders and reducing some interior storage for your personal effects. Cargo space is generous regardless of CLS model, with a trunk that can hold up to 15.3 cubic feet. It is worth noting that the optional Bang & Olufsen audio system significantly compromises trunk space.


Consumer reviews

Read what other owners think about the Used 2016 Mercedes-Benz CLS-Class.

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Most helpful consumer reviews

First Mercedes
Richard Meese,12/18/2016
CLS 400 4dr Sedan (3.0L 6cyl Turbo 7A)
A great combination of a sporty car with some practicality of a sedan. All the controls and technology are very intuitive to use. Good engine performance with the V6 turbo. I am a little disappointed in the quality. Had to have the car back for disfunctional passenger airbag. Took 3 months to get the replacement seat. Couple other little issues. Key fob control acts up once in a while - won't open trunk or start car ! MB service is great giving a loaner each time. But I thought MB quality would be ace???
Still In Love With This Car After 1-Year of Owners
abacomike,12/04/2015
CLS 400 4dr Sedan (3.0L 6cyl Turbo 7A)
This is not a family car - it's a 4-door coupe with limited access and comfort in the second row for adults. But since no one ever sits in the 2nd (back) row of my car, it does not affect me negatively. The driver's and passenger's front row seating is very, very comfortable for me (240 lbs and 6'2" tall). All my friends and even strangers on the street tell me it is the most beautiful car in limited mass production manufactured in the world. I agree! The 6 cylinder 3.0 L V-6 Twin Turbo engine is fast and powerful at all RPM's and/or speeds. I've owned a CLS550 (2014) and found it overpowered whereas the 330 hp six is true perfection. I get 32 mpg highway and 19 mpg city with a combined 23 mpg. Not bad for a 4000+lb vehicle. This CLS400 is a keeper - at least until the warranty is up! I LOVE THIS CAR!
Jack of all Trades
Jim C,01/06/2018
CLS 400 4MATIC 4dr Sedan AWD (3.0L 6cyl Turbo 7A)
Trader in 2015 E350 for this, thought it would be the same driving experience since same platform. Wrong. Love this car, great to look at at the turbo V6 is a much better than the old 3.5 V6 with immediate torque, perfect for the way Americans drive. Great ride and handling and a relatively rare car in NE Ohio. Zero issues with car, love it!
Great Driving Experience
D Knox,03/10/2020
CLS 400 4dr Sedan (3.0L 6cyl Turbo 7A)
Drove a 1999 C230K for 17 years and loved it. Why wouldn't my follow on car be a MB? I am not disappointed. Bought the 2016 CLS 400 Certified Used with 32K miles one year ago. Now have 41K miles. So far, I have had no quality issues. Very tight driving experience. Very good performance from the twin-turbo V6. Smooth and quiet ride. I get comments regularly on how attractive the car is and I get a high in driving it every time I get behind the wheel. Took a while to get used to the entertainment / navigation system, but I'm over that. Some might complain over getting in and getting out of the car due to its low profile, but I'm over that. I have to be extremely careful of parking curbs since the front air dam doesn't have much clearance and mindful also of undercarriage clearance, but so-far-so-good.

More about the 2016 Mercedes-Benz CLS-Class

Used 2016 Mercedes-Benz CLS-Class Overview

The Used 2016 Mercedes-Benz CLS-Class is offered in the following submodels: CLS-Class Sedan, CLS-Class AMG CLS 63 S 4MATIC. Available styles include AMG CLS 63 S 4MATIC 4dr Sedan AWD (5.5L 8cyl Turbo 7A), CLS 550 4MATIC 4dr Sedan AWD (4.7L 8cyl Turbo 9A), CLS 550 4dr Sedan (4.7L 8cyl Turbo 9A), CLS 400 4dr Sedan (3.0L 6cyl Turbo 7A), and CLS 400 4MATIC 4dr Sedan AWD (3.0L 6cyl Turbo 7A). Pre-owned Mercedes-Benz CLS-Class models are available with a 5.5 L-liter gas engine or a 4.7 L-liter gas engine, with output up to 577 hp, depending on engine type. The Used 2016 Mercedes-Benz CLS-Class comes with all wheel drive, and rear wheel drive. Available transmissions include: 7-speed shiftable automatic, 9-speed shiftable automatic. The Used 2016 Mercedes-Benz CLS-Class comes with a 4 yr./ 50000 mi. basic warranty, a 4 yr./ 50000 mi. roadside warranty, and a 4 yr./ 50000 mi. powertrain warranty.

What's a good price on a Used 2016 Mercedes-Benz CLS-Class?

Price comparisons for Used 2016 Mercedes-Benz CLS-Class trim styles:

  • The Used 2016 Mercedes-Benz CLS-Class CLS 400 4MATIC is priced between $39,998 and$39,998 with odometer readings between 35443 and35443 miles.
  • The Used 2016 Mercedes-Benz CLS-Class CLS 550 is priced between $36,900 and$36,900 with odometer readings between 42910 and42910 miles.

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Which used 2016 Mercedes-Benz CLS-Classes are available in my area?

Shop Edmunds' car, SUV, and truck listings of over 6 million vehicles to find a cheap new, used, or certified pre-owned (CPO) 2016 Mercedes-Benz CLS-Class for sale near. There are currently 2 used and CPO 2016 CLS-Classes listed for sale in your area, with list prices as low as $36,900 and mileage as low as 35443 miles. Simply research the type of car you're interested in and then select a used car from our massive database to find cheap prew-owned vehicles for sale near you. Once you have identified a used vehicle you're interested in, check the AutoCheck vehicle history reports, read dealer reviews, and find out what other owners paid for the Used 2016 Mercedes-Benz CLS-Class.

Can't find a used 2016 Mercedes-Benz CLS-Classs you want in your area? Consider a broader search.

Find a used Mercedes-Benz CLS-Class for sale - 6 great deals out of 18 listings starting at $19,512.

Find a used Mercedes-Benz for sale - 10 great deals out of 21 listings starting at $15,900.

Find a used certified pre-owned Mercedes-Benz CLS-Class for sale - 5 great deals out of 8 listings starting at $16,566.

Find a used certified pre-owned Mercedes-Benz for sale - 9 great deals out of 13 listings starting at $24,612.

Should I lease or buy a 2016 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.

Check out Mercedes-Benz lease specials
Check out Mercedes-Benz CLS-Class lease specials