The new 2021 Mercedes-AMG CLS 53, which in German stands for Coupe Leicht Sportlich (Coupe Light Sport) has been a huge success to Mercedes’ line-up of dream cars. Having sold more than 4 million units since its inception in 2004 proves that having micro-niche models in your lineup does help move more metal.
The top-of-range flagship CLS 53 has been refreshed and now comes with even more tech and features. Mercedes has updated the exterior to look even sharper and more menacing thanks to various cosmetic changes. So, has Mercedes perfected the 4-door coupe recipe combining sporty looks with a powerplant to match?
Mercedes-AMG has updated the sporty flagship coupe of this series with numerous visual highlights and attractive equipment packages. The standard innovations on the CLS 53 4MATIC+ include the redesigned front end with the sporty AMG bumper in A-wing form with black flics and visible air curtains and the AMG signature grille with vertical slits replacing the twin-louvered grille.
In addition to the revised exterior, the interior has also been enhanced. Two new trim finishes, including for the center console, are available in open-pore brown walnut and high-gloss grey wood.
The range of leather seat upholstery has also been expanded. The driver is supported by Active Distance Assist DISTRONIC and Active Steering Assist with the Driving Assistance Package.
Here, the steering wheel uses the capacitive principle to detect the driver's hands. There is a two-zone sensor pad in the steering wheel rim. The sensors on the front and reverse sides of the rim register whether the driver's hands are on the wheel. Previously, the steering movement was required to inform the assistance systems that the driver is in control. This enhances user-friendliness when driving in semi-automated mode.
Unlike other models with a myriad of AMG powertrain selections, the CLS is only offered in one variant, the CLS 53. Powertrain of the flagship CLS remains unchanged with its 48V mild-hybrid 6-cylinder M256 motor pushing out 435 PS and 520 Nm of torque.
We understand why AMG has decided to not put the mightier M177 V8 in the CLS since it already has the GT63 4-door now. Nevertheless, the M256 provides enough juice to propel the CLS 53 from 0-100 km/h in just 4.5 seconds and if the road permits, a limited 250 km/h top speed. All this while returning an impressive 9.0L/100km.
On top of that comes an extra tier of motive energy supplied by an electric motor that also serves as a starter-alternator for the car. It's mounted between the engine and nine-speed automatic gearbox, power is distributed by a 48V system and a lithium battery.
The extremely fast-shifting AMG Speedshift TCT 9G transmission and the fully variable AMG Performance 4MATIC+ all-wheel drive together contribute to the dynamic driving experience.
So what is actually new?
The party trick to the facelifted CLS53 is now what they call Dynamic Plus Package which includes some performance and visual upgrade. The pack enables the driver to drive the car sideways using Drift Mode under the RACE drive program. Lucky owners will steer the CLS53 with the newest steering wheel, finished in Nappa and suede finish and with familiar AMG steering wheel buttons with built-in display.
The visual highlight of this package comes in the form of the extravagant brake calipers painted in red. And in the interior, the AMG Performance steering wheel in Dinamica microfiber or Nappa leather rounds off the package with a sporty, elegant touch.
Ride & handling
Suspension duties are taken over by AMG’s Ride Control Plus air suspension system which comes standard. The multi-chamber air suspension offers a very broad spread between the most comfortable and most sporty setup and adapts to the given load.
AMG tuned its suspension to give the CLS varying ride characteristics depending on user preference and road conditions. Kudos to the pneumatic all-round level control, the vehicle can maintain a constant ride height irrespective of the load. At high speeds, the vehicle lowers itself to reduce wind resistance and further increase stability.
User interface & connectivity
The facelifted CLS now comes with the intuitive MBUX (Mercedes-Benz User eXperience) which means the car is more connected than ever.
Features like touchscreen and voice command now add to the already excellent user interface and give the user myriad of input methods to communicate with the car in fact, it now has four: touchscreen, touchpad, steering wheel, and voice.
MBUX comes with Android Auto and Apple CarPlay, built-in navigation, and three USB-C ports. Options include a head-up display and a Burmester surround-sound audio system.
Another add-on is AMG Track Pace, which lets you store performance data from your vehicle in the infotainment interface when you're driving on a track. Other extended functions include Mercedes ME Connect which allows users to communicate with the vehicle using a smartphone. Features include but are not limited to, Pre-Entry Climate Control, Maintenance Reminder, Tyre Pressure Warning and Monitoring, and a plethora of other connected services.
Worth the wait
Sales in Europe will begin in August this year and judging from previous launches, it will likely arrive on our shores by the 2nd quarter of 2022, if not earlier. Mercedes has not given radical updates to the facelifted CLS as they normally reserve it more for volume sellers like the E-Class and the C-Class. But why change an already sleek and beautiful design, right?