Mercedes-Benz CLS receives comprehensive facelift and technological updates

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2021 Mercedes-Benz CLS
2021 Mercedes-Benz CLS

• Mercedes-Benz revealed its facelifted CLS.

• The first European customers will take delivery in July 2021.

• The range is headlined by the CLS 53 AMG 4Matic+.

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UPDATE: The Mercedes-Benz CLS Facelift and Mercedes-AMG CLS 53 4Matic+ Facelift will no longer be available for sale to the South African market. Existing CLS customers will still be able to get their vehicles serviced at any one of our national dealerships.

"The standing vehicle Premium Drive plan will continue for the remaining years. Customers will also be able to purchase a Top-Up Premium Drive/Service Plan should they wish to extend their contract."

Mercedes-Benz has given its CLS a comprehensive facelift, with the car now looking sleeker and sportier. The car's interior also sees an upgrade, with additional leather and trim combinations, and a new steering wheel, forming part of the package.

According to Mercedes-Benz, the first European customers will take delivery of their CLSs in July, with other markets following soon after. The automaker says that it sold more than 450 000 CLS units since the car first came to market in 2004, with China, South Korea, the USA, and Germany stepping up as the largest markets.

The new CLS is available in two exterior trims, namely Avantgarde and AMG Line. All models with Avantgarde or AMG Line exterior receive a new radiator grille. Special features of this grille are the Mercedes-Benz pattern (a three-dimensional star pattern with chrome-gloss surfaces), a louvre in high-gloss black with chrome inlay, and the integrated Mercedes star. 

Mercedes-Benz CLS
2021 Mercedes-Benz CLS


Upgraded interior 

The interior has also been enhanced. Two new trim finishes, including for the centre console, are available in open-pore brown walnut and high-gloss grey wood. The leather seat upholstery range has also been expanded: Neva grey/magma grey and sienna brown/black are the two new colour combinations here.

As part of the update, the CLS receives a redesigned multifunction steering wheel in Nappa leather. The spokes are finished in high-gloss black with silver chrome edging, and the paddle shifters in silver chrome. With the Driving Assistance Package (an optional extra), the driver is supported by Active Distance Assist Distronic and Active Steering Assist. 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. No steering movement is now required to inform the assistance systems that the driver is in control. Mercedes-Benz says that this enhances user-friendliness when driving in semi-automated mode.

Mercedes-Benz CLS
2021 Mercedes-Benz CLS


Headlining CLS 53 AMG 4Matic+

Mercedes-AMG has updated the sporty CLS 53 AMG 4Matic+ with numerous visual highlights and equipment packages. The standard innovations on the CLS 53 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 bars.

Mercedes-Benz also added the AMG Dynamic Plus package as an optional extra to this car's repertoire. The AMG Dynamic Plus Package enhances dynamics in several respects, says the automaker. The red-painted brake callipers with black AMG lettering add a visual highlight to the exterior. In the interior, the AMG Performance steering wheel in Nappa leather/DINAMICA microfibre or Nappa leather rounds off the package with sporty elegance. Racetrack-fit performance with a sporty emphasis can be experienced in the additional "RACE" driving mode with the Drift mode.

REVIEW: Mercedes' lavish CLS 53 AMG 4Matic+

The CLS 53 combines a powerful 320kW output with a sporty style and high efficiency. The integrated starter-generator briefly delivers an additional 16kW of power and 250Nm of torque and supplies the 48-volt onboard network. It unites the starter and alternator in one electric motor and is integrated between the engine and transmission. This, as well as the intelligent turbocharging with electric auxiliary compressor (eZV) and exhaust gas turbocharger, pursue the same goal: to offer the performance and driving dynamics characteristic of AMG while at the same time reducing fuel consumption and emissions.

Model line-up

  • CLS 220 d: 2.0-litre turbodiesel, 143kW/400Nm
  • CLS 300 d 4Matic: 2.0-litre turbodiesel, 195kW/550Nm
  • CLS 400 d 4Matic: 2.9-litre turbodiesel, 243kW/700Nm
  • CLS 350: 2.0-litre turbo petrol, 220kW/400Nm
  • CLS 450 4Matic: 3.0-litre turbo petrol, 270kW/500Nm
  • CLS 53 AMG 4Matic+: 3.0-litre turbo petrol, 320kW/520Nm (+ 16kW/250Nm)
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Mercedes-Benz CLS
2021 Mercedes-Benz CLS
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