2018 Mercedes-Benz CLS-Class Review
Edmunds expert review
When the Mercedes-Benz CLS debuted for the 2006 model year, it pioneered the "four-door coupe" market. Mercedes got away with calling it a coupe because of the sloping roofline that gave it a distinctive two-door look. Since then, this styling cue has endured as well as inspired other manufacturers to follow suit.
The 2018 Mercedes-Benz CLS maintains its favorable standing with its potent engine choices, admirable handling, cosseting comfort, impeccable interior and available advanced safety features. Alongside rivals such as the Audi A7 and BMW 6 Series Gran Coupe, it's a great pick if you like the idea of a sedan that has a coupelike look to it. Just note that a redesigned CLS will be coming out for the 2019 model year. It boasts new styling and Mercedes' latest technology.
What's new for 2018
Trim levels & features
The 2018 Mercedes-Benz CLS is a four-door, four-passenger sedan, though Mercedes refers to it as a coupe due to its sleekly raked roofline. Three trims are available: the CLS 550, the CLS 550 4Matic and the AMG CLS 63 S.
The CLS 550 models are powered by a turbocharged 4.7-liter V8 (402 horsepower, 443 pound-feet of torque). A nine-speed automatic transmission sends power to the rear wheels or, in the case of the CLS 550 4Matic, all four wheels.
Standard feature highlights for the CLS 550 include 18-inch wheels, LED headlights, a sunroof, automatic wipers, auto-dimming mirrors, an adaptive air suspension, dual-zone automatic climate control, power-adjustable and heated front seats, front-seat memory functions, leather upholstery, a power-adjustable steering wheel, the COMAND infotainment interface (8-inch screen, knob controller), a navigation system, Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, and a 14-speaker Harman Kardon sound system. Also standard is forward collision warning with automatic braking,
The Premium package adds keyless entry and ignition, adaptive headlights, automatic high beams, power-folding mirrors, a power trunklid, ventilated front seats and a power rear sunshade.
Other bundled options include the Lane Tracking package (blind-spot monitoring and lane departure warning), the Driver Assistance package (adaptive cruise control, steering assist, additional forward collision mitigation technology, rear-end collision cabin preparation, active blind-spot assist and active lane-keeping assist), and the Parking Assist package (a surround-view monitor, front and rear parking sensors, and an automated parallel parking system).
Notable stand-alone options include an illuminated Mercedes logo in the grille, a heated steering wheel, split-folding rear seats, rear-seat side airbags, a multicontour front seat, and a premium Bang & Olufsen audio system.
The AMG CLS 63 S receives a turbocharged 5.5-liter V8 (577 hp, 590 lb-ft) that is paired with a performance-focused seven-speed automatic transmission. All-wheel drive is standard.
In addition to the CLS 550's standard features, the AMG CLS 63 S also gains 19-inch wheels with summer tires, upgraded brakes, a limited-slip differential, a sport exhaust system, unique styling elements, front and rear parking sensors, an automated parallel parking system, upgraded LED headlights, special gauges and interior trim, a sport steering wheel, an IWC Ingenieur analog clock, more aggressively bolstered sport seats, the power rear sunshade and upgraded leather upholstery.
Most option packages are available and similar in content to those for the CLS 550. Carbon-ceramic brakes are a stand-alone option.
Each vehicle typically comes in multiple versions that are fundamentally similar. The ratings in this review are based on our evaluation of the 2015 CLS 550 4Matic sedan (twin-turbo 4.7L V8 | 7-speed automatic | AWD).
NOTE: Since this test was conducted, the current CLS has received some revisions, including a nine-speed automatic transmission, and additional standard features. Our findings remain applicable to the 2018 CLS.
Noise & vibration
Ease of use
Getting in/getting out
Edmunds expert review process
This review was written by a member of Edmunds' editorial team of expert car reviewers. Our team drives every car you can buy. We put the vehicles through rigorous testing, evaluating how they drive and comparing them in detail to their competitors.
We're also regular people like you, so we pay attention to all the different ways people use their cars every day. We want to know if there's enough room for our families and our weekend gear and whether or not our favorite drink fits in the cupholder. Our editors want to help you make the best decision on a car that fits your life.