Read Caroline’s Mercedes-Benz CLS review for everything you need to know about buying Mercedes’ updated four-door coupé in Ireland.

The Mercedes-Benz CLS has been updated for 2022 with sharper exterior styling and a more high-tech cabin experience.

Designed as a sporty, high-end, four-door coupé, the new CLS goes on sale priced from €86,035 in Ireland. It’s positioned between the E-Class and the flagship S-Class, and is known for its prestigious, coupé-inspired design.

The new generation of the CLS arrived in Ireland in 2018 with a steady line-up of petrol and diesel engines providing the power.

But the world has changed since 2018 and so too has the Mercedes-Benz world, with a slew of new electric models joining the brand’s range including the newly launched EQE and EQS.

So where does the CLS find itself in this brave new world? Has Mercedes-Benz done enough to keep it relevant? Let’s find out!

The new Mercedes-Benz CLS on test for Changing Lanes!
The new Mercedes-Benz CLS on test for Changing Lanes!

What’s so special about the Mercedes-Benz CLS?

The CLS is achingly beautiful to look at and a cocoon of elegance to spend time in. This car is nothing less than a glamourous companion to modern life. CLS stands for “Coupé Leicht Sport” in German, which means – you guessed it – “Coupe Light Sport”.

As such, this car has all the presence and class of a large Mercedes’ saloon, but with the style and beauty of a coupé. The latest version has also been subtly revised to enhance that sporty character. At the front there is a new radiator grille, new air intakes and bumpers, silver-chrome exterior trim elements, new twin and multi-spoke light-alloys, and a new metallic paint colour.

Inside, the glorious cabin gets two new walnut and wood trim finishes, additional leather seat coverings and colour combinations, and a new leather steering wheel with touch sensitive controls.

There’s also updated MBUX infotainment for a more modern finish with two digital screens.

All versions come in AMG Line specification, which suits the car perfectly. Standard equipment includes 19-inch alloy wheels, AMG bodystyling, keyless start, 360-degree camera, active lane keeping assist and wireless smartphone charging.

The CLS is just gorgeous
Updates for 2022 are subtle – the CLS is still a gorgeous, sporty coupé

Inside the Mercedes-Benz CLS

The cabin of the CLS has a beautiful design that still looks modern and contemporary. Good quality never goes out of fashion!

Leather upholstery comes as standard, available in a variety of colours that give the CLS just the right luxury ambience.

The interior is very well-appointed with a fine mix of materials illuminated perfectly by the ambient lighting that traces the elegant design of the dash beautifully. There are some stunning wood trims also.

The CLS has also had a little digital upgrade too. There’s a new steering wheel and two 12.3-inch digital screens combine to give a widescreen effect that comes from the latest version of the Mercedes-Benz E-Class. The graphics are modern and crisp and it responds willingly to commands of ‘Hey Mercedes’.

Up front the cabin is large and roomy as you would expect. In the rear, the footwells are large but the large transmission tunnel makes it more suitable for two people. The sloping roofline also limits headroom a bit for taller adults and makes access a bit trickier.

But it’s still more practical than a two-door coupé, and looks just as good. There’s also a 520-litre boot, which is comparable to any large saloon.

The interior of the latest Mercedes-Benz CLS Coupé
The interior of the latest Mercedes-Benz CLS Coupé

Driving the Mercedes CLS

The CLS is sold with the choice of two petrol engines and three diesels in Ireland, with a 9-speed automatic gearbox standard on all versions. Some use mild hybrid technology to improve efficiency.

The entry into the range is the CLS 220 d, which is powered by a 2.0-litre diesel. There’s also the 2.0-litre CLS 300 d 4MATIC and the 3.0-litre CLS 400 d 4MATIC.

Petrol models include the 3.0-litre CLS 450 4MATIC and a high performance 3.0-litre Mercedes-AMG CLS 53 4MATIC+.

My test car was the ‘smallest’ of those diesel engines – the CLS 220 d. It uses a familiar 2.0-litre, four cylinder diesel from some other Mercedes models that puts out a modest 194hp and will take the CLS to 100km/h from a standstill in a nifty 7.5 seconds.

This is a big car.  Thanks to rear wheel drive, it does handle the road well, always feeling agile and responsive. But it certainly is no hot hatchback. Would you even want it to be? Instead, it’s a car that favours a more relaxed pace – long motorway cruises where you can enjoy a high level of comfort and refinement.

It’s relatively frugal too with consumption as low as 5.5 litres per 100 kilometres. And a large fuel tank means over 1000 kilometres is possible on a full tank.

The CLS is available with a range of petrol and diesel engines
The CLS is available with a range of petrol and diesel engines

Did you like it?

For a big luxury car, it’s hard to find fault with the Mercedes-Benz CLS.

For sure, it’s somewhat old-fashioned now, with a line-up of pure petrol and diesel engines – there’s not even a plug-in hybrid in sight.

Mercedes is already now producing some excellent electric saloons like the new EQE at a similar price point and a pure electric range upwards of 600 kilometres.

But as lovely as that car is, the CLS is more desirable in looks alone and the timeless elegance of its very luxurious cabin. The updated digital technology goes a long way to modernise the cabin too, while equipment levels are high now.

The 220 d is a straightforward power match for the CLS, though buyers seeking more power and performance may want to consider one of the larger engines.

If you’re looking for the latest powertrains and zero emissions driving, the CLS is not for you. If you want a luxury car that will take you across land in comfort and style for many kilometres between refueling – I can’t think of a better way of doing it.

The CLS remains a great choice of luxury car
The CLS remains a great choice of luxury car

Model tested: Mercedes-Benz CLS 220 d Coupé AMG Line
Engine: 2.0-litre turbo diesel
194 hp
Torque: 400 Nm
7.5 seconds
Top speed: 235 km/h
CO2 emissions: 
148 g/km
Motor tax: 
€270 per year


Written by Caroline Kidd

Founder and Editor of Changing Lanes, Juror for Irish Car of the Year