Facelifted 2021 Mercedes CLS breaks cover

New Mercedes CLS coupe revealed with refreshed design and updated tech

  • CLS gets a refreshed exterior design
  • Additional interior trim and paint options now available
  • Orders start this summer, with prices starting from £60,000

The facelifted 2021 Mercedes CLS has been unveiled. Now in its third-generation, Mercedes has given the flagship four-door coupe a minor styling refresh, along with an array of updated technology and a new flagship AMG CLS 53 performance model. 

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Orders open this summer, with prices expected to start from around £60,000. When the new car arrives in showrooms, it will be a direct rival to premium four-door coupe models such as the Audi A7 Sportback, BMW 8 Series Gran Coupe and Porsche Panamera.

2021 Mercedes CLS: design

The standard CLS has received a number of minor styling tweaks along with two new 19-inch alloy wheel designs. The front features an updated bumper design and larger air intakes. New chrome trim had been added to the front splitter, alongside a matching chrome trim piece along the rear diffuser between the twin exhaust pipes. Buyers can also spec from three additional paint colours from the Mercedes Designo catalogue. 

The plusher AMG Line spec cars feature more extensive changes including a new radiator grille, a deeper front splitter, redesigned side skirts and a new rear spoiler. It gets 20-inch alloys as standard, in a choice of two colours. 

The range-topping AMG 53 has received a similar refresh to the standard car, with a redesigned front bumper and an updated grille featuring vertical slats. Two additional trim packages are available, with the AMG Night Package adding gloss black detailing, and the AMG Exterior Carbon II introducing carbon-fibre bodywork trim pieces. 

Interior and technology

Inside, the personalisation options for the CLS have been expanded. The centre console can be specced in either a grey wood or a brown walnut finish. Two standard leather upholstery options are available, with a choice of a black and brown combination or a duo-tone grey trim. At the top of the range, the AMG 53 comes with sports seats as standard. 

Further personalisation options are available for the CLS from Mercedes’ Designo catalogue, with a choice of five additional nappa leather upholstery options.

Updated interior tech includes a new multifunction steering wheel, which can detect the driver gripping the steering wheel when the car’s semi-autonomous driving mode is activated.

Every CLS comes with a pair of 10.25-inch screens running Mercedes’ MBUX operating system; one is the central touchscreen, the other is a digital dial cluster. A larger, 12.3-inch twin-screen setup is available as an option. 

Engines and performance

The standard versions of the CLS are available with a choice of two diesel engines, with the AMG 53 boasting a six-cylinder petrol engine. Every model features Mercedes’ 4MATIC four-wheel drive and a nine-speed automatic gearbox. 

The base CLS 300 d is powered by a 2.0-litre four-cylinder diesel, producing 261bhp. It has mild-hybrid electrical assistance with a 48-volt integrated starter-generator that recovers energy when coasting. This energy is stored in a battery and is then used to give the engine a temporary 20bhp boost under hard acceleration. 

Performance is brisk, with the CLS 300 d managing 0-62mph in 6.4 seconds and a limited top speed of 155mph. It’s the most efficient model in the range too, with claimed fuel economy of up to 48.7mpg and CO2 emissions starting at 144g/km. 

Above this, the CLS 400 d gets a larger 3.0-litre six-cylinder diesel, which produces 325bhp. It’s far more capable than the entry-level model, sprinting from 0-62mph in 5.2 seconds and on to a limited top speed of 155mph. It manages fuel economy of around 43mpg and CO2 emissions from 163g/km. 

The flagship CLS AMG 53 combines a 3.0-litre six-cylinder petrol engine and mild-hybrid technology to produce 423bhp. It’s the fastest CLS in the range, going from 0-62mph in 4.5 seconds. In factory spec, it's top speed is limited to 155mph but buyers can opt for the optional AMG Driver Package, which increases the limiter to 168mph. 

Want to know more about the Mercedes lineup? Read our review of the new E-Class and E63 AMG here. 

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