Let’s take a trip back into 2004. If you wanted to buy a car that would gently waft you to your desired location by quietly removing you from the rat race of commuter traffic, there were several options of large luxury sedans and SUVs.
If you wanted a sports car to get you to your destination as quickly as possible, there was a litany of two-door coupes from which you could choose.
Until this point in time, these were mutually exclusive objectives — until the Mercedes-Benz CLS arrived on the market with almost 400 horsepower and famous Mercedes luxury.
The most striking thing I noticed in the new interior design of my Mercedes CLS 450 test coupe was, first and foremost, the new infotainment and gauge cluster. They are now a single piece with one screen for each. Although a screen for the gauge cluster isn’t an uncommon thing in the luxury segment, the way this one implemented is just beautiful. The screen is infinitely customizable and smooth in its integration — and honestly, it really feels like a car from the future.
What is really cool is that it is all controlled with a redesigned steering wheel that feels like it came out of a spaceship. It has nearly 20 buttons, two scroll wheels, and two touch pads, all designed for simple and quick navigation of the menus.
This theme of elegance goes way beyond the steering wheel and into every seat and cup holder. The seats are gorgeous and some of the most comfortable I’ve ever sat in, while also being supportive in just the right places. The cabin is bathed in this same leather and features one of the most beautiful interior lighting functions that wraps around through the dashboard and center console that can change to almost any color at your whim. This also continues to the back seats which are just as nice as the front and get their own climate controls.
Driving the new CLS 450 completes this car. Not only is it a head turner for those you pass, but it will treat you to some of the best driving I have ever experienced in a sedan. The turbocharged 3-liter inline 6-cylinder engine produces 369 horsepower and torque, which is more than enough for daily driving, and served me to perfection when I took it for a spirited drive. The steering is very precise without being too light or too heavy. When driving normally, you should be getting 18 city and 26 highway mpg.
The new 2019 CLS starts at $69,200 before options, which are plentiful, although you do get some of the best features as standard like the amazing seats and innovative infotainment system. The only other trim, beyond just adding all-wheel drive, is the performance oriented AMG CLS 53 starting at $79,900.
The model I had, featured almost every option from the $1,100 acoustic-comfort package to keep all noise from the outside of the car out of the cabin to the $5,400 Burmester 3D surround-sound package. All said and done, the MSRP of my CLS 450 was $93,205.
For the price, I’m sure you could buy one cheap sports coupe and one old CLS, but if you want the best you can get from both worlds, the new CLS is the obvious choice. Never before have I stepped into a new production car and been this impressed on how quickly technology has advanced. The new CLS 450 is a fantastic successor to the outgoing model and I can only hope Mercedes-Benz keeps moving in this direction.
Grant Miller is the publisher of Miami’s Community Newspapers. He may be contacted by calling 305-662-2277 or via email at Grant@CommunityNewspapers.com.