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Mercedes-Benz CLS AMG engines, drive and performance

2005 - 2010 (change model)
Performance rating: 5 out of 55.0

Written by David Ross Published: 6 June 2019 Updated: 6 June 2019

The 476bhp supercharged CLS 55 AMG is capable of sprinting to 62mph from rest in a mere 4.7 seconds and is fitted with a generally smooth five-speed automatic transmission. However, it is possible to experience a sudden and unpleasant jolt when prodding the accelerator hard from moderate speeds prompting the gearbox to find second gear. The later CLS 63 AMG does not suffer to the same degree with its more modern seven-speed automatic transmission.

It’s quicker than the CLS 55 AMG – and although not quite as rapid out of slow corners – feels a little racier with the engine keener at the top end. 0-62mph is a fraction quicker, taking just 4.5 seconds while top speed is limited to 155mph.

The AMG version of the CLS may be a high performance car, but it rides very smoothly – although it’s always obvious that this isn’t as forgiving as the standard CLS. It comes with an adaptable suspension system called Airmatic Dual Control which adjusts the ride stiffness according to the road conditions and driving style. There are three different settings: one comfort oriented and two firmer sport settings, the second of which lowers the suspension by 15mm.

There’s plenty of grip, despite all that power, and it’s certainly enjoyable to drive, but the steering lacks a little in feel and weight. As a result it never feels as involving as other high performance saloons like the BMW M5 for example.