The Mercedes CLS, shrouded under a dark cloud of low demand, has fled the USA. Americans have abandoned sleek 4-door coupes for SUVs and pickup trucks. Pickup trucks allow Americans to retro-fit deadly automatic rifles for outdoor hunting pursuits, killing bears and mass shootings. You can’t do that in a Mercedes CLS Coupe. In Europe, the CLS Coupe is going from uncertain strength to uncertain strength. Annual European sales average 10,000 vehicle units per year. However, the Covid-19 pandemic brought that number down to just over 3,000 in 2020. During its 17 year existence, nearly 450k CLS Coupes have found new owners. When it first launched it was fresh, modern and sleek. The second generation was somewhat bloated. The current generation is a return to styling form.
But it has become the victim of changing trends, very few people are inclined to invest in a 4-door coupe purely to feed their ego. Buyers now prefer the practicality and security offered by an SUV. But changing trends haven’t fazed Mercedes, the E Class based 4-door coupe is lathered with a few styling updates for 2021. The front end receives new radiator grilles and bumpers. The interior has been upgraded with additional leather and trim combinations as well as a new generation of the steering wheel. A latest-generation diesel with an integrated starter-generator expands the model range.
The 429bhp AMG CLS 53 4MATIC+ (combined fuel consumption 9.0-8.7 l/100 km; combined CO2 206-199 g/km) is limited to 300 examples. The familiar engine lineup includes three diesel and three petrol engines covering 4-cylinders and 6-cylinder outputs, all of which receive mild-hybrid technology.
The new to the engine range mild-hybrid diesel, 300d, offers a 261bhp 2.0-litre 4-cylinder unit which translates into a 0-62mph time of 6.4 seconds, a top speed of 155mph and 48mpg. Despite the 15kW mild-hybrid electric boost it seems to be no more efficient than the pre-mild-hybrid era diesel.
In the UK entry level models start at £58k. Most buyers of the CLS clan won’t be bothered about mild-hybrids or even the options list. The dwindling number of CLS buyers merely want the premium Mercedes badge and ability to feed that ego down the nearest Covid-19 ravaged pub.