The 2020 Mercedes-Benz CLS-Class returns with the same stylish performance as before and a few minimal changes across the trim levels. In addition to a few design updates like new paint, trim, and wheel options, the CLS 450 now receives a standard Parking Damage Detector that alerts owners if someone bumps their car while they're away.
Additionally, the AMG CLS 53 receives new powertrain software controls including a sportier engine start function and a “Slippery Mode” under the car’s drive modes for a safer application of power in adverse conditions.
Choosing Your Mercedes-Benz CLS-Class
The Mercedes-Benz CLS-Class is available in two trims: CLS 450 and and AMG CLS 53. Pricing starts at $70,945 including destination for the CLS 450 and climbs to $82,195 for the AMG CLS 53.
The CLS 450 is powered by a 3.0-liter turbocharged inline six-cylinder, while the AMG CLS 53 receives a more powerful version of the same engine. These engines also include an electric starter generator called EQ Boost that can add an additional 21 horsepower to the drivetrain and help with smooth engine stop-start operation at traffic lights.
|Engine Type||Horsepower||Torque||0-60 mph time||Fuel Economy (Combined)|
|3.0L Turbo 6-Cylinder||362 hp||369 lb-ft||4.8 seconds||26 mpg|
|AMG 3.0L Turbo 6-Cylinder||429 hp||384 lb-ft||4.4 seconds||23 mpg|
Both engines are paired with a nine-speed automatic transmission, but the AMG version is better suited for performance applications. The Mercedes-Benz 4MATIC all-wheel-drive system is also available on the CLS 450 for an extra $2,500, while all-wheel drive is standard on the AMG CLS 53.
While the engine in the CLS 450 and AMG CLS 53 are largely the same, their character is very different. The engine in the CLS 450 offers good power and smooth acceleration with balanced comfort. The CLS 450 is quick, but it emphasizes a quiet and composed ride.
Passenger and Cargo Capacity
The CLS-Class is a luxury cruiser, and despite Mercedes-Benz’s insistence on calling this four-door a coupe, it offers plenty of room in front and back for adults. It has a five-passenger capacity, but you'll be better offer with only two in the back seat for any lengthened period of time.
Despite its mid-size luxury size, the CLS-Class offers a pitiful 11.9 cubic feet of cargo room in the trunk, enough for a couple of suitcases. Rival designs like the Audi A7 offers a liftgate trunk that acts more like a hatchback for extra storage space.
The Mercedes-Benz CLS-Class comes standard with automatic emergency braking, attention monitoring, and blind-spot monitoring, which is about the minimum required for a car in this price bracket.
The Driver Assistance Package ($2,250) bundles adaptive cruise control, active steering assist, evasive steering assist, rear cross-traffic alert, blind-spot monitoring, lane keeping assist, lane change assist, and more.
The CLS-Class, like many high-end luxury cars, is too expensive for crash testing in the minds of the IIHS and NHTSA.
The CLS-Class is available with advanced technology features, including a 12.3-inch infotainment screen with navigation, Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, and a Car-to-X communication system that can warn you of hazards ahead of you.
However, in true Mercedes-Benz fashion, the CLS-Class is available with a dizzying array of options that will leave you and your wallet reeling. Options include a 12.3-inch digital instrument cluster, two Burmester sound systems, wireless phone charging, driver assistance features, three-zone climate control, and a head-up display.
The CLS 450 is equipped with leather upholstery, heated front seats, 19-inch wheels, keyless entry, and a beautiful interior that's emblematic of what Mercedes-Benz has become known for.
Should the base model not be enough for you, there is an incredible number of packages and options available. The $2,300 Premium Package adds a Burmester surround sound audio system, a 12.3-inch driver information display, satellite radio, and wireless phone charging.
We’re also particularly drawn to the $1,320 Active Multicontour Seats with massage functionality, the $550 soft-close doors, and the $1,900 air suspension.
The AMG CLS 53 comes with a bit more kit than the CLS 450, including a more powerful engine, standard all-wheel drive, AMG sport seats, the digital instrument cluster, and adaptive air suspension. The AMG variant also receives a variety of unique trim and upholstery options, including red seat belts and three variants of steering wheel.
The options list for the AMG CLS 53 is less lengthy than the base variant, as packages like the Premium Package are included largely as standard. That said, there are some interesting packages and options available that are unique to the AMG CLS 53, including the AMG Performance Exhaust System ($1,250), AMG Drive Unit ($400), and the AMG Exterior Carbon Fiber Package ($1,750).
We've said before that nobody needs an AMG, but the AMG model can be seen as the better value in the 2020 Mercedes-Benz CLS-Class lineup. The $11,250 premium over the standard CLS 450 can cut down just over $3,000 once you factor in the additional standard features of the AMG CLS 53, while offering much more fun and excitement at the same time.