Until the CLS arrived, if you wanted a luxury saloon and a sporting coupé, you had to buy one of each. But since its debut, the CLS has allowed well-heeled buyers to enjoy the best of both worlds - a luxurious four-seater, four-door saloon with superb coupé-like styling. Great to drive, beautifully built and truly luxurious, the CLS makes a great long-distance cruiser.
9/03: The Vision CLS concept debuts at the Frankfurt motor show.
3/04: The production car appears at the Geneva motor show.
10/04: The first cars are delivered. Initially there are CLS350 and CLS500 editions only.
3/05: The CLS55 AMG debuts.
6/05: The CLS320 CDi joins the range.
4/06: The hard-core CLS63 AMG appears, eventually replacing the CLS55 AMG.
4/08: A subtle facelift brings new lighting front and rear, redesigned alloy wheels, minor interior revisions and upgraded multi-media. The 292bhp CLS350 CGi also replaces the 272bhp CLS350.
4/09: The 224bhp CLS320 CDi evolves into the 272bhp CLS350 CDi.
Mercedes CLS (2004-2010) Checklist
- Parking sensors aren't standard; without them you will scrape the paintwork...
- All CLSs come packed with gadgets, many electrical. They don't always work properly though, so check everything.
- There are four seats only, so while it's fantastically cosseting for a quartet, there's no way of accommodating any more.
- That interior is beautifully screwed together and feels incredibly solid - usually. But squeaks and rattles aren't unknown.
- The swooping roofline towards the rear means getting in and out can be tricky for anyone really tall.
- Cars with big alloys invariably suffer badly kerbed rims, which are costly to fix.
- Build quality
- Safety kit
We Don't Like
- Limited rear head room
- Four seats only