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14 CLS550 4matic, 15 GLK350 4matic
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CLS 550 4matic Impressions ( after one week of ownership, driven in the Swiss Alps, German Autobahn, Austrian regular roads )

Seating: The seats are pretty comfortable but also quite supportive. They hug me pretty well despite me not ordering the multi contour seat feature. Among the cars I have test driven recently ( Jag F-Type, Lexus IS F-sport, Audi S7, S6, BMW 650GC, Caddy ATS 3.6 ) the seats are on the upper end of supportive. Only the Lexus IS F-sport has more supportive seats.

Headliner: not sure if the 2013s and 2012s got a full black headliner with the black sport leather option – I do not remember seeing it in the 2013 CLS’s I test drove. But I got a full black headliner and I quite like it.

Instruments/Nav/Driver interface:

I quite like the central multi function display inside the speedo. Takes some time to get used to the steering wheel controls for the central MFD but I like the ability to display different things there in color with different compartments to it. Favorite display for now on the central MFD is the Distronic radar display showing me what it sees ahead.

HUD: no HUD unlike the S7 and 650GC fully optioned out so MB loses out here but considering I paid less than a similarly equipped S7 and 650GC, I am OK with this. I view the HUD as cool to have but not strictly necessary anyway.

Regarding the Nav screen, had some concerns before purchase that it was too small compared with the S7 and 650GC. But after driving around for a week, I am totally OK with it – screen resolution is nice and the fact that the top and bottom bars disappear when not required mean the smallish 7-inch size does not actually limit me as I glance at the nav screen when driving. Better screen resolution than any of my currently owned cars helps the positive impression.

Comand via the main Nav screen: a little adaptation needed compared with older systems that I am used to from Lexus/Acura. The upper bar and lower bar skip is not the most user friendly but is workable after you understand the logic behind it. Had no trouble entering addresses, easy to follow instructions come through on screen and through the audio. I’d call it equal with Lexus/Acura nav interfaces.

Handling/Tranny/Suspension:

No problem negotiating narrow winding Swiss/Austrian alpine roads at regular speeds – even when cornering sharply ( including hairpin turns ), I felt the car had a lot more grip left in it. And this was with 3 passengers and a trunk load of luggage. At highway speeds, the car is everything I expected – solid, secure, very moderate road noise, nearly no wind noise, feels like it could do 180 mph easily if need be. Just today I had to floor it for a few seconds to pass someone when there was only a limited amount of passing lane space left for me, unfortunately had the tranny and engine in Eco mode rather than Sport. But acceleration response was still very strong so it was pretty easy to slip by the other car on a curving Austrian road.

Switching between Sport and Comfort Airmatic settings makes a real difference. On straight highways at high speeds, Comfort works fine. But on winding roads, I like the Sport setting better – everything just feels way tighter.

Switching between Eco and Sport setting for the tranny/throttle also makes a real difference. I’ll be advising the wife to use Eco all the way when she drives and I will alternate between Eco and Sport tranny/throttle settings. In flowing but heavy traffic, Sport is better cos the throttle responds waaay faster if you need to switch lanes quickly. But the one criticism of the tranny mapping that I heard about before is true: sometimes, the tranny has a hard time deciding which gear to use when on an uphill climb and accelerating. You then get slight jerkiness as you switch down into a lower gear, then switch back up as the tranny decides what to do. The solution is easy for those of us who have the wheel packages – just get into manual and shift yourself with the paddles. And I guess this is still a little better than the Audi clunk when you slow to a stop while driving in dynamic settings and the Audi DCT shifts down for you. I experienced that clunk in both an S7 and S6 and it can be pretty harsh.

Power/Acceleration

Straight line highway passing punch is solid as expected. Hearing that V8 rumble is a real pleasure and the power delivery is effortless. Of course it’s better in the Sport throttle/tranny setting mode but no slouch even in Eco mode. The few times I had to step on it to get past someone on the highway was real easy. ( And remember, full trunk of luggage, 3 passengers )

Safety Systems

Distronic is much more than I expected: the car can totally stop itself in cruise control mode and handling slow and heavy traffic is real easy cos the radar and computers do everything for you. The capability of the front looking radar is impressive: it can detect even a bicycle some distance ahead. The thing is sometimes on winding roads, depending on the angle of approach for oncoming traffic, Distronic thinks for a brief period that there could be a head on collision risk so you get a momentary collision warning beep and the red triangle flashes in your instrument cluster. But the system corrects itself in a second once the oncoming traffic is no longer in the radar’s direct forward field of view. A couple of impressive discoveries: Distronic can maintain a radar lock on the vehicle in front even on winding roads when the car in front may be off your central boresight. I suspect the radar might have a tilting feature that looks a little left or right depending on where your steering wheel is directed. The only time Distronic breaks radar lock is when the car in front is about 40+ degrees angle off your nose, e.g. following someone through a hairpin corner. I cannot complain about this radar break lock – this is an MB, not an F22 stealth fighter. So I am good with this.

Lane Tracking: Another interesting discovery – the lane tracking stick shaking feature seems to alert you to which side of the road you are drifting towards. When you cross to the left, the left side of your steering wheel shakes and when you drift right, the right side of your wheel shakes. Quite a nice surprise !

Parktronic: generally as expected when the object is a wall or something large like that. But when you get close to shrubs or a small plant ( parking adjacent to a flower bed ), the system jumps from no warning to the red alert mode very quickly. Might be a technology limitation in detecting plants but whatever, I am not going to make an issue of inability to detect plants well.

Rear view cam/guidelines: Man I am glad I got a 2014 – the rear view guidelines work as I expected and there could be a new feature that I did not know about before: like Audi and BMW ( and Porsche ), MB now provides you a little pic of the car in your nav screen and highlights the part of the car where the Parktronic sensors detect an object. Either I totally missed this when test driving the 2013 CLSs over the last year, or it is a nice new feature for 2014. I like it.


Complaints:

I still would like to get folding mirrors – I parked right by a CLS350 CDI Shooting Brake in exactly the same color and it just irritated me that his mirrors folded and mine were not.

Why can we not get rear seat A/c controls in the US ? And the rest of the world can ?
 

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Terrific write up OBP!

(And I'm more than a little jealous of the Euro-pickup! LOL)

I got my '14 right here in good ol' (sunny??) So Cal, and I could not be happier.
 

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14 CLS550 4matic, 15 GLK350 4matic
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Discussion Starter #3
Thanks MBLVR. Enjoy it in Socal. No need for 4matic there I guess so you save a few pounds. Headed to Munich tomorrow to check out the competition at the BMW museum.

Sent from AutoGuide.com Free App
 

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I agree I have had a 2012 CLS 4 matic Launch Edition for a year cannot belive they still have not added the power mirrows. Have fun with your car. Its very nice car.
 

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14 CLS550 4matic, 15 GLK350 4matic
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Discussion Starter #6
Yes I guess it is just us in the US that do not have power folding mirrors. In Europe, they have rear seat AC controls too. Oh well. Still really like my car tho.

Sent from AutoGuide.com Free App
 

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13 S550 4MATIC advantgarde edition, 2000 E55, 1982 500 SEC
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I sold my porsche turbo to get my CLS and have not looked back. apples and oranges for sure, but the CLS is soooo smooth.
 

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2013 CLS550?
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What can all current owners tell me about the USB media interface cable. I am looking at purchasing a used 2012-14 CLS550 and am worried about the tech. For instance in my wife's 2013 JX you can plug into usb port directly via lightning cable for iPhone 5 and all functionality is there including Pandora and Spotify? How is the Bluetooth streaming is this an acceptable alternative? Any insights anyone can offer would be great! Thank you,
Joel Denver, CO
 

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2016 CLS550
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Thank you for that write up OBP.
I had read this post a while ago, but revisited it again since I am getting close to getting a CLS of my own (MY16).
 

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About 2 months ago I ordered a loaded CLS 400 and it is on the boat as we speak. Beware, the Wallenius Wilhelmsen site does not track all MB shipments. The only seem to track some of them. I kept looking at the site and it showed nothing. My dealer gave me the ship and the delivery date. My ship is the Galveston Highway. That ship does not exist on their site. All I know is it is supposed to arrive in Baltimore on Sunday. From there i'm in the dark. I am out of my mind anticipating this vehicle. Designo Cardinal Red with a semi-aniline Saddle interior. I have every option except the Bang sound system and the designo seats. I considered the 550 but the 400 was already so fast, it made no sense to me.
 

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congrats mdpdmd22! believe it or not, but im excited for you :)

once you get it, any chance you can put up pictures?
also, can you share your impressions and insight after youve driven it around for a week or so.
 

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Oh yessssss! It has finally come in!

First of all the car is drop dead gorgeous. The deep red with the saddle/black interior looks awesome.

I can't tell you impressed I am after a couple of hundred miles. So smooth, solid and luxurious. The fit, finish & quality are truly impressive. I am I life long Lexus guy and I will point out the differences. This is my first German car. I was looking for luxury, power and good looks in a 4 door car. In my opinion, nothing looks better in that class than the MB CLS. I did not buy the 550 because I thought the 400 had more than enough power and I like a little more gas mileage. Also, the money I saved could go into equipment.

Specs:
1. 2016 CLS 400
2. P1 & P2
3. Semi aniline leather
4. Distronic pkg
5. Park assist
6. Folding rear seats
7. Wheel package
8. Multi contour seats

List:$86,745.00
$1015.00 per month 36 month 15,000 mile lease $3500.00 dn, with maintenance (real good deal)

Positives: Very well made, gorgeous interior and yes I do like the Ipad on the dash. It's nice and big and it's right in your face. The technology is excellent, especially the distronic package, It does work very well. Great handling and plenty of power. Spacious and super comfortable.

Negatives: I don't believe the music interface and the navigation is quite up to lexus in the way it works and performs. WHAT IS WITH THOSE STUPID DOOR LOCK PINS? I never liked the back tires larger than the front tires, rotation issues. It makes no sense to me.

Interesting point. Mercedes let my dealer order P1 without P2 and apparently with my other equipment P2 was required. Because it was an MB glitch, they pretty much ate the entire price of the P2 which made the cap cost under $76,000. It was a wonderful deal and a very nice dealership.

Overall, I am totally blown away with this car. It is a pleasure to get in it every day. Ordered it on Memorial day, arrived in port on 9/1, delivered 9/4. Loving it ever since.
 

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Oh yessssss! It has finally come in!

First of all the car is drop dead gorgeous. The deep red with the saddle/black interior looks awesome.
I love the color combination and wish my wife had your vision. I want that interior but she was worried it would not wear well over time.




List:$86,745.00
360 month
going to take you a long time to pay it off:smile
 

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Lol, 360 is a lot of months. The carpets are black and I will be out of it in 33 months. The seats are dark enough where I do not expect a problem. I really love the color combo and I think I made a good choice. Not to mention the car is friggin awesome.
 

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Discussion Starter #16
Congrats - We do not see many red C218s cos not many people have the guts to get one. It looks wonderful. I have similar packages in my Palladium Silver CLS except no massaging seats cos I have an MB rear seat entertainment system. I am very very envious of your brown leather interior. Wonderful combo all round.

The wider rear tires are for better handling and launch etc etc.. I think it helps - my first car with staggered width tires and I think it corners very well.

And yes I am a long time Lexus owner as well - MB will not be as reliable as Lexus. But I love both my venerable old SC430 and the CLS for different reasons. Lexus is my old faithful - never lets you down and still looks great after 10 years of service from that naturally aspirated Japanese V8. The CLS is the iron fist in a velvet glove, thundering German V8 and once those turbos spool, effortless thrust with high performance luxury.

Enjoy your CLS in good health.

Where in NJ ?
 

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I live at the shore by Monmouth Park. You certainly hit the nail on the head. That is why this is my first German car. I know they are temperamental and not as trouble free as Lexus. On a 3 year lease I do not expect much trouble. I do love the car, it does everything exceptionally well. I am glad you brought up the color. Why do the German's produce so many Black, Grey and Silvet cars? Black cars never look clean and they show every scratch and swirl. They look great for 5 minutes after they are washed. This car looks great in that deep Cardinal red. It makes a rare care even more rare because you never see one that looks like mine. In 2 weeks I have heard several compliments about the color combo. The saddle/black interior is rich and beautiful. I have no regrets.

I know why they do what they do with the back tires but it's still a pain in the ass to me. This car does perform like a beast. I can't even imagine the AMG. I would lose my license for sure.
 

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2012 CLS 550 sedan
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New owner of a 2012 CLS 550 and loving it.
Just found a set-up so we can watch DVD,s while in motion. How cool is that...
 
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