Parkers overall rating: 4.1 out of 5 4.1
  • Similar to E-Class in design and quality
  • Larger wheel with lots of buttons on it
  • Cool LED ambient lighting including air vents

The interior of the Mercedes-Benz CLS features swoopy lines, four central air vents and a dual-screen widescreen display.

So far so E-Class, you might say, and if you want a more detailed view of this car then our E-Class Saloon review can give you a good impression.

We’ll deal with the subtle differences here though - most notably the larger, S-Class-alike wheel with its plethora of buttons including those for the cruise control, which used to live on a stalk.

You still get the touch-sensitive buttons on the wheel like an E-Class, and these respond to swiping movements to control the entire infotainment system without having to take your hands off the wheel.

Lots of gadgets and tech

Another eye-catching feature is the extensive LED ambient lighting – not itself a new thing, but this time around it has spread to the air vents too.

As well as shining in your chosen colour (there are 64 of these) the air vents pulse blue or red when you adjust the climate control.

Lighting around the widescreen display helps separate it from the dashboard visually, and as with the E- and S-Class it adds to the high-tech feel in the CLS.

Two 12.3-inch screens share the same glass front in an effort to make them look homogenous, but in reality it still looks like two displays rather than one.

Enhanced voice control

You can now command the climate control and seat heating or ventilation, plus interior lights, massage seats, perfume diffuser and head-up display with voice control. Just be sensitive to how yelling ‘front passenger fragrancing, high level’ could be taken.

A clear and bright (optional) head-up display contains enough information to remove the need to look away from the road and features a light sensor to adjust its illumination automatically.

Finally a wireless charging pad can be added to the centre console storage compartment for seamless recharging of so-equipped smartphones.

AMG spec is sporty yet luxurious

Bucket seats are comfortable and supportive while red seat belts and contrast stitching lend an air of gentleman’s wash bag to the proceedings.

The AMG Performance steering wheel in nappa leather with grippy microfibre sections is a delight too – not overly padded and a good size for spirited driving.

  • Sporty-looking but comfortable front seats
  • Design is echoed in the rear
  • Optional air suspension is very plush

The Mercedes-Benz CLS rides beautifully (in Spain, on the optional air suspension), has squashy seats and is near-silent on the move, so it ticks all our requirements for a luxury car.

In particular, we were impressed by the ride from the sophisticated multi-chamber air suspension – this is aided by continuous, electronically-controlled adaptive damping, which can alter the stiffness at each wheel individually to deliver the best ride on cracked tarmac.

Specific CLS seats

The seats in the Mercedes-Benz CLS were designed exclusively for this car, with the two outer rears mirroring the fronts in terms of design, for a sporty single seat look.

They’re also really comfortable, feeling large even for a six-foot-plus driver, and offering substantial bolstering in the faster AMG model.

Optional Active Multicontour Seats react to hard cornering by inflating their sides to support you better, and feature a massage function and luxury head restraints.

Techy comfort gadgets

You can also specify something called Energising Comfort Control – a package of functions including air conditioning, seat heating/ventilation/massage, surface and steering wheel heating plus lighting and music.

There are six ‘moods’ including Warmth, Vitality and Comfort and each runs for 10 minutes, visualised on the head unit and backed by suitable music.

Another clever function is the Thermotronic automatic climate control, which works with the GPS to optimise the cabin air quality, for example switching to air recirculation mode when entering a tunnel.

Whisper-quiet on the move

This CLS is larger than the previous car and comes with bigger standard wheels but still boasts a competitively aerodynamic shape, which means wind noise is kept to a minimum.

There’s also a lot of special suppressive material including comprehensive sealing around the pillarless windows – something made better by the optional double-glazing.

Of particular merit are the six-cylinder diesel engines, which are the best-in-model for refinement and silent running at motorway speeds.