Few all-new models have had the stopping power of the original, 2005 Mercedes-Benz CLS. The German automaker is giving the original “coupe-like sedan” an update for the coming year aimed at reviving the original magic.
While officially a “midcycle refresh,” the 2022 Mercedes-Benz CLS undergoes some significant tweaks, inside and out. The goal is create a sharper, sportier appearance while also providing more ways for an owner to individualize their own sedan.
The CLS “belongs to the category of dream cars at Mercedes-Benz,” the Teutonic automaker suggests, noting that the distinctive, coupe-like design is “the reason most frequently cited by customers for buying the CLS.”
What’s new for 2021
The basic shape has changed surprisingly little since the original model — known internally as the C219 — debuted at the 2004 New York International Auto Show. That said, there’ve been plenty of enhancements throughout the years, starting with the addition of Mercedes’ 4Matic all-wheel-drive system on the second-generation CLS in 2010.
In keeping with today’s market, the updated sedan adds more technology while upgrading existing systems – like the MBUX voice assistant first introduced for 2020. A number of new advanced driver assistance systems show up on the 2022 model. Active Speed Limit Assist adjusts the speed of the vehicle when the local limit changes. The new CLS uses cameras and mapping data also capable of adjusting the vehicle’s speed when approaching a toll booth, a traffic circle or an aggressive corner.
There’s also an Active Parking Assist system to make it easy to get in and out of tight spot, as well as Active Stop-and-Go Assist to ease the burden on a motorist dealing with low speed stop-and-go traffic.
Beauty really is skin deep
It’s the design of the 2022 CLS that Mercedes has focused on most sharply, as would be expected.
The coupe-like sedan adopts a sharper appearance with features like a new radiator grille using a Mercedes-style tri-star pattern. The CLS also gets a new front bumper and other, more subtle exterior tweaks.
The AMG version adds a unique front bumper with an A-wing in black, as well as a chrome front splitter, new air intakes and new sill trim.
Inside, the CLS gets a new steering wheel with new, smartphone-style capacitive sensors built in on both sides. The cabin now features new wood and leather trim finishes, as well.
Custom options expand
The 250-member team at the Mercedes-Benz Manufaktur unit, meanwhile, “can transform the CLS into a very personal bespoke creation if desired,” according to the automaker, with a variety of different cabin material selections available, including four special lacquers.
The updated CLS maintains its mild hybrid powertrain. The turbocharged 3.0-liter inline-6 normally pumps out 362 horsepower and 369 pound-feet of torque. The EQ Boost 48-volt starter-generator can add another 21 hp and 184 lb-ft of instant torque when the driver demand. That helps launch the new Mercedes CLS from 0-60 in an estimated 4.7 seconds. Top speed is 130 mph.
Power is pushed through a 9-speed automatic. The “base” model is rear-wheel drive, with all-wheel drive a $2,500 option.
What we’re waiting for
Fuel economy has not been released yet. The rear-wheel drive 2021 CLS 450 yields 24 mpg city, 31 highway. The 4Matic version cuts that to 22 city, 29 highway.
The updated Mercedes-Benz CLS will get its global premier later this month — but U.S. buyers will have to wait until early next year for it to reach local showrooms.
Pricing has yet to be announced but the rear-drive 2021 Mercedes-Benz CLS 450 starts at $70,300, the CLS 450 4Matic at $72,800.