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The 2013 Mercedes-Benz CLS-Class is a four-door, four-passenger luxury sedan. It comes in the standard rear-wheel-drive CLS550 trim and the all-wheel-drive CLS550 4MATIC trim. With an eye-catching and streamlined exterior, the CLS550 is at the top of its segment for style and design. The interior holds a wealth of amenities, with standard features including power front seats, leather upholstery, quality navigation system, 14-speaker Harman Kardon audio system, tilt sunroof, and automatic climate control. Top safety features come standard as well, including 12-way airbags, electronic stability control, and anti-lock braking.
18-inch standard wheels and a powerful 7-speed V8 Twin-turbo engine give the CLS550 an edge over the competition when it comes to strength and handling. Adventurous drivers seeking even more security on the road can opt for the CLS550 4MATIC trim, which, combined with the standard Electronic Traction System, offers drivers one of the safest road-hugging rides in the luxury segment.
The discriminating buyer can also choose from an array of optional packages, most notably the AMG Performance Package, which offers an even mightier engine, the Premium 1 Package, which has goodies such as full LED headlamps, a rear view camera and heated and ventilated front seats, and the Wheel Package, which upgrades wheels to AMG high performance strength and provides a manual shift mode.
Along with its long list of positive attributes, the CLS-Class has garnered some negative reviews. Its price tag is steep for buyers looking for luxury without going broke, and slightly more affordable contenders such as the Audi A7 tempt some potential customers away from the CLS550. Complaints of limited headroom, uncomfortable front seats and slightly synthetic looking interior details have also dogged the 2013 model, and the BMW 6 Series Gran Coupe, Cadillac CTS, and Porsche Panamera offer more space and comfort.
Equipped with a 7-speed automatic 4.7L V8 twin-turbo engine, the CLS550 earns high marks for responsive handling and is well suited for the driver who likes a powerful ride. The CLS550 comes standard with a wealth of attractive luxury and safety features, including 18 inch 5-spoke wheels, 12-way airbags, power sunroof, four-zone automatic climate control, leather upholstery, Bi-Xenon headlamps (offering greater visibility than halogen headlamps), rain-sensing windshield wipers, SiriusXM Radio, and a ‘HOLD’ feature, which allows drivers to keep the vehicle stationary with the press of a button, rather than any contact with the brake pedal, and is particularly good for heavy traffic. Customization is encouraged, and a number of upgrade packages are available, such as the Premium 1 Package, Wheel Package, and AMG Performance Package, which includes a sport steering wheel, rearview camera, power rear window sunshade, heated front seats, park assist, rear seat entertainment, and hands-free mobile capabilities. The CLS550 gets 16mpg in the city and 24mpg on the highway, and carries a solid 4-year/50,000 mile warranty.
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Stylish and powerful, but just as expensive as the Mercedes-Benz CLS550
Interior is more spacious, but exterior is less attractive
All-wheel-drive comes standard, but the ride is less refined
Sporty and luxurious, but a step down in style, technology, and comfort