On the sinister-o-rometer, the halo version of the new-generation CLS delivered to my house recently was right up there.
Finished as it was in a “Night Package,” and rolling on 20-inch alloys that took some effort to neither scuff nor buckle during a week’s driving on disintegrating roads.
So putting it only perhaps a bit behind the black 1965 Lincoln Continental that appeared in The Matrix.
Anoraks note that while a Continental also appeared in the subsequent sequels, it looks like that was a 1963 version.
Either way that Lincoln is a contender for the coolest car of the silver screen ever – easily eclipsing more predictable favourites such as the Bond-ian Aston DB5 or the Mustang out of Bullitt.
And either way, with the CLS coming close on the coolness scale – notably in Mercedes-AMG guise here – it’s hardly the most retiring machine in the manufacturer’s line-up.
It’s not meant to be, and never was with this swoopy sedan in first-gen guise dubbed by some as the “Flying Banana” back in 2005. I’m still unsure whether that was praise or censure.
It’s now in its third-gen, and the CSL is totally reworked and redesigned. It’s also still rakish if now not quite as revolutionary as it was when it first debuted, plus it’s perhaps a little more practical too, while naturally it’s still based on the E-Class.
Except now in an era where automotive markets are hyper-segmented, it’s neither quite as practical and pipe-smoking as that very worthy sedan with which it shares roots.
Nor is it as tyre-smoking and absolutely extroverted as the slightly pricier new Mercedes-AMG GT 4-Door Coupe.
Rather it’s somewhere in between, and besides boasting more mature, compelling design language than before, as well as a little more rear headroom, subjectively speaking, the big news is that the top-range CLS is no longer available in snarling V8 guise.
Instead the range culminates in the 53 model here, which uses a mildly hyberidised (is that even a word?) twin-turbo three-litre. The acoustics are still good, and you can further herald your presence by tickling a button to open the exhaust flaps.
But it doesn’t sound quite as wild as that four-litre V8 still employed in the halo E-Class, GT 4 Door Coupe, and other AMG models.
It’s also a civilized beast, and maybe not quite as hard-edged as its top-range predecessor, but if you look at the performance figures below you do truly need to ask yourself whether you want or need to go any faster on public roads. And certainly not to the point where you need the grippy, fully variable all-wheel drive setup.
But I’ll spare you the Puritan polemic.
In Edition 1 guise as tested here, you also get something called Copper Art interior design. This includes highlights such as contrasting stitching in a compelling copper colour and bits of carbon fibre, which all pulls together rather nicely – along with a classy IWC clock, to scratch the surface of it,
As with its lesser brethren there’s an optional Widescreen Cockpit for a full-on digital experience and, naturally, as you’d expect at this level, tech that while pretty intuitive will take days to fully explore.
So then yes. Another rather marvelous, muscular Mercedes-AMG product then – but one that’s perhaps a fraction less outrageous than its halo predecessor.
Mercedes-AMG CLS 53 4Matic+ Edition 1 Specs:
|Engine|| 3.0-litre, six-cylinder, twin-turbo with electric auxiliary compressor|
|Transmission ||Nine-speed dual-clutch|
|Top Speed ||250km/h (270km/h with optional AMG Driver’s Package)|
|Average Fuel Consumption ||8.9l/100km|
|CO2 Emissions||203 g/km |