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Mercedes CLS saloon (2011-2017) - Engines, drive & performance

The Mercedes CLS has a range of engines that deliver impressive performance, particularly on the motorway

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Engines, drive & performance Rating

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Mercedes CLS diesel engines

The Mercedes CLS is lots of fun to drive and seems much smaller than it actually is. Even the entry-level CLS 220 BlueTEC model feels quick. The 168bhp 2.1-litre diesel engine will get the car from 0-62mph in 8.5 seconds and this model tops out at 155mph.

The CLS 350 BlueTEC offers the best mix of fuel economy and performance, sprinting from 0-62mph in just 6.2 seconds thanks to a 3.0-litre diesel engine producing 201bhp.

Petrol engines

The entry-level CLS 400 petrol model has 329bhp and will do 0-62mph in 5.3 seconds. Since straight-line speed across the CLS range is so good, it's questionable whether anyone could ever really need the 577bhp CLS 63 AMG model, which will cover 0-62mph in an impressive 4.1 seconds.

The Mercedes CLS' fine ride and handling strike the right balance between driving fun and comfort. Adaptive damping is standard on all models, which means the Mercedes copes effortlessly with poorly surfaced roads. For even more comfort, you can choose Mercedes' AIRMATIC air suspension, which allows you to tweak the setup to your taste and enjoy the most comfortable ride.

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Direct and well weighted steering, good body control and decent grip make the CLS surprisingly agile on a twisty road. The CLS 350 BlueTEC uses a nine-speed automatic gearbox for greater fuel efficiency, with all other models getting a seven-speed auto transmission. The two extra gears and smoother shifts make the CLS 350 feel nippier, but the nine-speed doesn't make the car accelerate any faster. The CLS 63 AMG model is the only one in the range to get AMG's sporty Speedshift seven-speed automatic gearbox.

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Richard is a former editor of Carbuyer, as well as sister site DrivingElectric.com, and he's now Deputy Editor at Auto Express. Having spent a decade working in the automotive industry, he understands exactly what makes new car buyers tick.

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