Mercedes CLS (2004-2010)

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.

Key Dates

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.

We Like

  • Style
  • Comfort
  • Image
  • Performance
  • Build quality
  • Reliability
  • Safety kit

We Don't Like

  • Limited rear head room
  • Four seats only