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Mercedes-Benz CLS350 is a class higher

The first thing you’ll notice about the CLS350 is that, although it is based on the current E-class, it delivers a driving experience that surpasses it.

india Updated: Dec 19, 2011 00:53 IST
Kartikeya Singhee
Kartikeya Singhee
Hindustan Times
A class higher,Mercedes-Benz CLS350,tech

The first thing you’ll notice about the CLS350 is that, although it is based on the current E-class, it delivers a driving experience that surpasses it. The nearly 2.9-metre wheelbase and wide footprint give it amazing stability around corners; and once settled into the bend, the near-five-metre length and 1,735kg kerb weight seem to somehow shrink.

Good cornering
The direct, electromechanical steering though lacking in feel, is precise. That makes it easy to place the huge CLS in a corner quite easily, even at triple-digit speeds. However, more weight and feedback would have been welcome. Through sharper corners, it becomes apparent that the CLS is no lightweight supercar. Push it hard and the rear-wheel-drive car understeers and the ESP cuts in rapidly. Get carried away and take your eyes off the clocks, and you’ll find yourself at speeds worryingly close to the two-tonne mark.

It may be called a 350 like the E-class, but this motor is different. Developing a much healthier 306bhp and 37kgm of torque, this creamy-smooth, direct-injection engine has ample torque right from 1,500rpm. A light dab of the accelerator sends the CLS rolling forward. Press down with greater urgency and the motor hauls you forward briskly. The 7G-tronic gearbox, however, is a bit slow on the downshift and using the paddles can, at times, be a bit frustrating. All put together, the CLS manages 0-100kph in 6.95s, which is quick.

Mercedes’ second take on the four-door coupé design is a bit hard to swallow. The car is attention grabbing, albeit in a technical and futuristic manner. While its predecessor’s design could be represented with just a few light strokes, the new CLS has a frenzy of highlights and a barrage of hectic lines. There is plenty of muscle, and the low roof, tight-fitting boot and the LED lamps give it a presence you can’t ignore.

Taking it easy in the CLS is quite rewarding too. In Comfort mode, a thick carpet seems to cushion the ride and passengers are not tossed around. However, some thuds over deep ruts do reveal an underlying stiffness, but that is only to be expected.

Passengers won’t feel short-changed. It exudes a dignified ambience and the rear seats are sculpted to feel almost like bucket seats. It doesn’t hurt that the CLS has almost the same amount of rear legroom as an S-Class either. However, headroom is in short supply and the low roof demands some dexterity.

Autocar India
Mercedes-Benz CLS350
Price: Rs 71.1 lakh
(ex-showroom, Mumbai)
Top speed: 250kph
L/W/H: 4940/1881/1416mm
Kerb weight: 1735kg
Engine layout: 6 cyls, in-vee, 3498cc,
Installation: Front, longitudinal
Power: 306bhp at 6500rpm
Torque: 37.7kgm at 3500-5250rpm
Suspension: (f/r) MacPherson strut, air suspension/Multi-link, air suspension
Gearbox: 7-speed, automatic
Fuel tank: 89 litres
Brakes (f/r): Vented discs/discs
Tyres (f/r): 245/45 R 17

The new CLS is very attractive to look at, and it is comfortable and refined as well. It is beautifully built, will stand out as something special in any parking lot and the Rs 71.1-lakh (ex-showroom Mumbai) price isn’t too bad either, considering this car looks like it could cost upwards of a crore.

First Published: Dec 18, 2011 16:08 IST