2021 Mercedes-Benz CLS-Class AMG® CLS 53

MSRP range: $81,550
Edmunds suggests you pay$79,920

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2021 Mercedes-Benz CLS-Class Review

  • Powerful engines deliver decisive acceleration
  • Pleasing balance of handling performance and comfort
  • Long list of available advanced safety features
  • Sleek exterior and impeccable interior
  • Interior and trunk space are compromised by styling
  • More expensive than the related E-Class sedan
  • MBUX infotainment system and digital instrument panel now standard
  • Surround-view camera system and power rear sunshade standard on AMG CLS 53
  • Part of the third CLS generation introduced for 2019

Are traditional luxury cars too staid and dull for your taste? A good remedy is to consider a coupe-like sedan with a sporty fastback roofline. The Mercedes-Benz CLS started the trend nearly two decades ago, and it remains an excellent alternative to more conventional sedans. Based on the Mercedes E-Class, the CLS puts a trendy twist on luxury vehicles. Yes, you sacrifice some rear headspace and overall practicality, but it'll be worth it if you find the CLS' look appealing.

The 2021 CLS is the last model year before a refreshed version arrives in 2022. To keep the current offering relevant, Mercedes-Benz has updated the CLS to include the company's excellent MBUX infotainment system as standard this year. It's now armed with an advantage in the tech department over competitors including the Audi A7, BMW 8 Series Gran Coupe and Porsche Panamera. What else is there to like? Read our in-depth Expert Rating below to find out more.

EdmundsEdmunds' Expert Rating
Rated for you by America’s best test team
The Mercedes-Benz CLS is a well-executed sedan. Every aspect is refined, from the cabin to the infotainment system to its innovative mild hybrid engine. The only downside is that the E-Class does it all for less money.
The Mercedes-Benz CLS is a well-rounded sport luxury sedan that stands out both for its power and its extreme refinement. There are no flat spots in the power delivery. We tested the AMG 53 version and recorded a 0-60 mph time of 4.3 seconds, which is impressive.

The CLS' handling is capable and secure, and overall it's a more rewarding car to drive than the lower-trim E-Class sedans. Precise steering gives you a clear sense of the on-center position. Even if you're just cruising around town, the CLS provides a sporty and refined driving experience.
The CLS is extremely comfortable on long drives thanks to minimal noise, outstanding seat comfort and an excellent climate control system. The engine is impeccably smooth too. The front seat's combination of soft leather and firm padding provides great long-distance support and comfort.

At highway speeds, the CLS provides exceptional isolation from wind noise. There's little engine noise aside from a muted growl during hard acceleration. Engine vibration is nearly nonexistent. The only minor demerit is that tire noise over seamed or ridged pavement is more noticeable than we expect for a car like this.
The CLS' controls are easy to use thanks to intuitive and straightforward interfaces. The screen menus can seem overly complicated at first, but they are well organized. The many ways to interface with the infotainment screen (hard keys, knob, touchpad, steering wheel touch nubs, voice) make it easier to use.

As for interior space, the CLS provides plenty of elbow room and legroom in front. But headroom is compromised a bit compared to the related E-Class. That's especially true in the back seat because of the sloped roofline.
The CLS' display screen is large and impressive, and the infotainment interface has a lot of capability. Sound quality from optional Burmester premium audio is exceptional. Using the knob is natural and effective, or use the nubs on the steering wheel (they take a brief period to learn).

The driver aids constitute a long list and work quite well. Our test car was equipped with the optional Driver Assistance package that includes every assist feature imaginable. All are extremely well calibrated, and false positives are rare.
The CLS' trunk has less storage space than the E-Class sedan's as well as the trunks of most other midsize luxury sedans. Still, there's enough room here to swallow a few weekend luggage bags. The 40/20/40-split folding rear seatback helps improve utility, so practicality remains decent for a sedan whose existence is predicated on style. In the cabin there's adequate small-item storage with huge door pockets and a divided center console.
The AMG CLS 53 we tested gets an EPA-estimated 23 mpg combined. This is above-average fuel economy for a performance-oriented luxury sedan.
The CLS is impeccably built. It looks and feels special. This is not an inexpensive car, but owners will be satisfied that they got their money's worth every time they get in. That said, it's hard to justify buying a CLS over a regular E-Class sedan considering it costs thousands of dollars more and has less rear headroom.
Plenty of power and a delightfully refined driving experience underscore this sedan's appeal. It's quite capable even on fast drives, though it stops short of hooliganism. Stylewise, the CLS stands out.

Which CLS-Class does Edmunds recommend?

Go for the AMG CLS 53 to make the most of the stylish and powerful ethos of the CLS. This top-level version comes with a serious bump in horsepower over the base model, plus sporty upgrades and AMG interior trimmings to add an air of exclusivity. If you're already considering a luxury sedan big on personality, why not go all the way?

Mercedes-Benz CLS-Class models

The CLS is a four-door luxury sedan with a fastback roofline. It comes in one of two trim levels: the CLS 450 or the AMG CLS 53. Both models use a turbocharged 3.0-liter six-cylinder engine. Rear-wheel drive is standard on the CLS 450, with optional all-wheel drive (Mercedes' 4Matic). All-wheel drive is standard on the AMG CLS 53. Highlight features include:

CLS 450
Comes standard with:

  • Six-cylinder engine with 362 horsepower, 369 lb-ft of torque
  • Nine-speed automatic transmission
  • LED headlights and taillights
  • 19-inch wheels
  • Mercedes' MBUX infotainment system
  • 12.3-inch digital instrument display and 12.3-inch touchscreen
  • Apple CarPlay and Android Auto smartphone integration
  • Leather upholstery
  • Heated front seats
  • 64-color ambient lighting

The CLS also comes standard with many driver aids such as:

  • Blind-spot assist (automatically steers the car back into its lane if you try to change lanes while a car is in the vehicle's blind spot)
  • Forward collision mitigation (warns if a front impact is imminent and applies the brakes if you don't respond in time)
  • Pre-Safe and Pre-Safe Sound (reduces hearing damage from an accident by emitting a specific noise that triggers an inner-ear muscle reflex to protect hearing)
  • Driver attention warning (issues an alert if sensors determine you are becoming fatigued)
  • Car-to-X communication (automatically transmits and receives safety updates to and from other appropriately equipped vehicles, then alerts drivers to hazards)

The AMG version of the CLS sedan comes with more power and other performance upgrades:

  • Six-cylinder engine with 429 hp, 384 lb-ft of torque
  • Sport-tuned suspension and all-wheel-drive system
  • Upgraded brakes
  • AMG seat upholstery

Some optional CLS features you may want to consider include:

  • Warmth & Comfort package
    • Heated steering wheel
    • Faster seat heating function
    • Heated front armrests
  • Driver Assist package
    • Adaptive cruise control (maintains a driver-set distance between the CLS and the car in front)
    • Evasive steering assist (enhances the forward collision mitigation system with steering-based collision avoidance)
    • Lane keeping system (makes minor steering corrections to help keep the vehicle centered in its lane)
  • Air suspension (can raise or lower the ride height of the vehicle)
  • Three-zone climate control
  • Head-up display
  • Burmester surround-sound system

Consumer reviews

There are no consumer reviews for the 2021 Mercedes-Benz CLS-Class.

Features & Specs

MPG & Fuel
21 City / 26 Hwy / 23 Combined
Fuel Tank Capacity: 21.1 gal. capacity
5 seats
Type: all wheel drive
Transmission: 9-speed shiftable automatic
Inline 6 cylinder
Horsepower: 429 hp @ 6100 rpm
Torque: 384 lb-ft @ 1800 rpm
Basic Warranty
4 yr./ 50000 mi.
Length: 199.1 in. / Height: 56.0 in. / Width: 74.6 in.
Curb Weight: 4456 lbs.
Cargo Capacity, All Seats In Place: 11.9 cu.ft.

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Our experts’ favorite CLS-Class safety features:

Active Brake Assist
Warns if a front collision is imminent and applies the brakes if the driver doesn't react in time.
Active Blind Spot Assist
Alerts you if a vehicle is in your blind spot and beeps if you signal in that direction. It also steers you away if you drift toward it.
Car-to-X communication
Automatically transmits and receives safety updates to and from other appropriately equipped vehicles, then alerts drivers about hazards they can't yet see.

Mercedes-Benz CLS-Class vs. the competition

2021 Mercedes-Benz CLS-Class

2021 Mercedes-Benz CLS-Class

2021 Audi A7

2021 Audi A7

Mercedes-Benz CLS-Class vs. Audi A7

The Audi A7 comes standard with all-wheel drive, and its wide hatchback design translates to cavernous rear cargo space. Both the A7 and the CLS are excellent to drive and offer high-performance variants. We prefer the CLS' infotainment system to the Audi's, which is more distracting to use while driving.

Compare Mercedes-Benz CLS-Class & Audi A7 features 

Mercedes-Benz CLS-Class vs. BMW 8 Series Gran Coupe

The 8 Series Gran Coupe is a little bigger than the CLS but still fits the mold as a sport-inspired sedan. It has a roomier rear seat and a bigger trunk than the CLS, plus available V8 power. But you'll likely pay more to get the 8 Series Gran Coupe, which makes the CLS the better value pick.

Compare Mercedes-Benz CLS-Class & BMW 8 Series Gran Coupe features 

Mercedes-Benz CLS-Class vs. Genesis G80

Sleek, luxurious and affordable — wait, what? The Genesis G80 is redesigned for 2021, and we've found it's vastly improved over the previous generation. The G80 is comfortable over most road surfaces and offers lots of standard features. It doesn't quite match the CLS in refinement, but the lower price easily compensates.

Compare Mercedes-Benz CLS-Class & Genesis G80 features 


Is the Mercedes-Benz CLS-Class a good car?

The Edmunds experts tested the 2021 CLS-Class both on the road and at the track, giving it a 8.3 out of 10. You probably care about Mercedes-Benz CLS-Class fuel economy, so it's important to know that the CLS-Class gets an EPA-estimated 23 mpg. What about cargo capacity? When you're thinking about carrying stuff in your new car, keep in mind that the CLS-Class has 11.9 cubic feet of trunk space. And then there's safety and reliability. Edmunds has all the latest NHTSA and IIHS crash-test scores, plus industry-leading expert and consumer reviews to help you understand what it's like to own and maintain a Mercedes-Benz CLS-Class. Learn more

What's new in the 2021 Mercedes-Benz CLS-Class?

According to Edmunds’ car experts, here’s what’s new for the 2021 Mercedes-Benz CLS-Class:

  • MBUX infotainment system and digital instrument panel now standard
  • Surround-view camera system and power rear sunshade standard on AMG CLS 53
  • Part of the third CLS generation introduced for 2019
Learn more

Is the Mercedes-Benz CLS-Class reliable?

To determine whether the Mercedes-Benz CLS-Class is reliable, read Edmunds' authentic consumer reviews, which come from real owners and reveal what it's like to live with the CLS-Class. Look for specific complaints that keep popping up in the reviews, and be sure to compare the CLS-Class's average consumer rating to that of competing vehicles. Learn more

Is the 2021 Mercedes-Benz CLS-Class a good car?

There's a lot to consider if you're wondering whether the 2021 Mercedes-Benz CLS-Class is a good car. Edmunds' expert testing team reviewed the 2021 CLS-Class and gave it a 8.3 out of 10. Safety scores, fuel economy, cargo capacity and feature availability should all be factors in determining whether the 2021 CLS-Class is a good car for you. Learn more

How much should I pay for a 2021 Mercedes-Benz CLS-Class?

The least-expensive 2021 Mercedes-Benz CLS-Class is the 2021 Mercedes-Benz CLS-Class AMG CLS 53 4dr Sedan AWD (3.0L 6cyl Twincharger gas/electric hybrid 9A). Including destination charge, it arrives with a Manufacturer's Suggested Retail Price (MSRP) of about $81,550.

Other versions include:

  • AMG CLS 53 4dr Sedan AWD (3.0L 6cyl Twincharger gas/electric hybrid 9A) which starts at $81,550
Learn more

What are the different models of Mercedes-Benz CLS-Class?

If you're interested in the Mercedes-Benz CLS-Class, the next question is, which CLS-Class model is right for you? CLS-Class variants include AMG CLS 53 4dr Sedan AWD (3.0L 6cyl Twincharger gas/electric hybrid 9A). For a full list of CLS-Class models, check out Edmunds’ Features & Specs page. Learn more

More about the 2021 Mercedes-Benz CLS-Class

2021 Mercedes-Benz CLS-Class AMG CLS 53 Overview

The 2021 Mercedes-Benz CLS-Class AMG CLS 53 is offered in the following styles: AMG CLS 53 4dr Sedan AWD (3.0L 6cyl Twincharger gas/electric hybrid 9A). The 2021 Mercedes-Benz CLS-Class AMG CLS 53 comes with all wheel drive. Available transmissions include: 9-speed shiftable automatic. The 2021 Mercedes-Benz CLS-Class AMG CLS 53 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 do people think of the 2021 Mercedes-Benz CLS-Class AMG CLS 53?

Consumer ratings and reviews are also available for the 2021 Mercedes-Benz CLS-Class AMG CLS 53 and all its trim types. Edmunds consumer reviews allow users to sift through aggregated consumer reviews to understand what other drivers are saying about any vehicle in our database. Detailed rating breakdowns (including performance, comfort, value, interior, exterior design, build quality, and reliability) are available as well to provide shoppers with a comprehensive understanding of why customers like the 2021 CLS-Class AMG CLS 53.

Edmunds Expert Reviews

Edmunds experts have compiled a robust series of ratings and reviews for the 2021 Mercedes-Benz CLS-Class AMG CLS 53 and all model years in our database. Our rich analysis includes expert reviews and recommendations for the 2021 CLS-Class AMG CLS 53 featuring deep dives into trim levels including AMG CLS 53, etc. with careful analysis around pricing, features, performance, mpg, safety, interior, and driving and performance. Edmunds also offers expert ratings, road test and performance data, long-term road tests, first-drive reviews, video reviews and more.

Read our full review of the 2021 Mercedes-Benz CLS-Class AMG CLS 53 here.

Our 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.

What's a good price for a New 2021 Mercedes-Benz CLS-Class AMG CLS 53?

2021 Mercedes-Benz CLS-Class AMG CLS 53 AMG CLS 53 4dr Sedan AWD (3.0L 6cyl Twincharger gas/electric hybrid 9A)

The 2021 Mercedes-Benz CLS-Class AMG CLS 53 AMG CLS 53 4dr Sedan AWD (3.0L 6cyl Twincharger gas/electric hybrid 9A) can be purchased for less than the Manufacturer’s Suggested Retail Price (aka MSRP) of $82,600. The average price paid for a new 2021 Mercedes-Benz CLS-Class AMG CLS 53 AMG CLS 53 4dr Sedan AWD (3.0L 6cyl Twincharger gas/electric hybrid 9A) is trending $2,680 below the manufacturer’s MSRP.

Edmunds members save an average of $2,680 by getting upfront special offers. The estimated special offer price in your area is $79,920.

The average savings for the 2021 Mercedes-Benz CLS-Class AMG CLS 53 AMG CLS 53 4dr Sedan AWD (3.0L 6cyl Twincharger gas/electric hybrid 9A) is 3.2% below the MSRP.

Shop with Edmunds for perks and special offers on new cars, trucks, and SUVs near Ashburn, VA. 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.

Which 2021 Mercedes-Benz CLS-Class AMG CLS 53s are available in my area?

2021 Mercedes-Benz CLS-Class AMG CLS 53 Listings and Inventory

Simply research the type of used car you're interested in and then select a car from our massive database to find cheap used cars for sale near you. Once you have identified a vehicle you're interested in, check the AutoCheck vehicle history reports, read dealer reviews, and find out what other owners paid for the 2021 Mercedes-Benz CLS-Class AMG CLS 53.

Shop Edmunds' car, SUV, and truck listings of over 6 million vehicles to find a cheap new, used, or certified pre-owned (CPO) 2021 Mercedes-Benz CLS-Class AMG CLS 53 for sale near you.

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Why trust Edmunds?

Edmunds has deep data on over 6 million new, used, and certified pre-owned vehicles, including all models of the 2021 Mercedes-Benz CLS-Class AMG CLS 53 and all available trim types: AMG CLS 53. Rich, trim-level features & specs and options data tracked for the 2021 Mercedes-Benz CLS-Class AMG CLS 53 include (but are not limited to): MSRP, available incentives and deals, average price paid, warranty information (basic, drivetrain, and maintenance), features (interior and exterior color, upholstery, bluetooth, navigation, cruise control, parking assistance, lane sensing, keyless ignition, satellite radio, folding rears seats,run flat tires, wheel type, tire size, sunroof, etc.), vehicle specifications (engine cylinder count, drivetrain, engine power, torque, engine displacement, transmission), fuel economy and MPG (city, highway, and combined, fuel capacity, range), vehicle dimensions (interior cabin space, vehicle length and width, seating capacity, cargo space). Edmunds also provides tools to allow shopper to compare vehicles to similar models of their choosing by warranty, interior features, exterior features, specifications, vehicle dimensions, consumer rating, edmunds expert review, safety rating, and color.

What is the MPG of a 2021 Mercedes-Benz CLS-Class AMG CLS 53?

2021 Mercedes-Benz CLS-Class AMG CLS 53 AMG CLS 53 4dr Sedan AWD (3.0L 6cyl Twincharger gas/electric hybrid 9A), 9-speed shiftable automatic, premium unleaded (required)
23 compined MPG,
21 city MPG/26 highway MPG

EPA Est. MPG23
Transmission9-speed shiftable automatic
Drive Trainall wheel drive
Displacement3.0 L
Passenger VolumeN/A
Wheelbase115.7 in.
Length199.1 in.
Width74.6 in.
Height56.0 in.
Curb Weight4456 lbs.

Should I lease or buy a 2021 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