2009 Mercedes-Benz CLS-Class

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13 CITY / 19 HWY
Overall Quality
Overall Performance and Design
Predicted Reliability


What Changed for 2009:
  • Freshened exterior look
  • Redesigned, larger exterior mirrors
  • New 18- and 19-inch alloy wheels
  • Sportier 3-spoke steering wheel
  • New gauges in white with silver backgrounds
  • Bluetooth integrated into the COMAND (COckpit MANagement and Data) infotainment system
  • North American sales started in Spring 2008
According to Mercedes-Benz, the CLS was the world's first 4-door coupe. An all-new design, the CLS was based on the German automaker's E-Class chassis, but with a longer, sleeker, highly fashionable body. Launched in the 2006 model year, the CLS is designed with the sleek and low roofline of a coupe, yet it is a large and elegant sporty car that provides the convenience of four doors. Style took precedence over function, so the incrementally larger CLS-Class actually provides less interior room than its sibling E-Class.

Many auto industry observers have given high praise to the CLS design. Wood and leather cover many interior surfaces, and the instrument cluster features three chronometer-type gauges. After its 2006 launch, the CLS received engine upgrades for 2007 as well as a standard harmon/kardon audio system and Mercedes' Pre-Safe system. Success of the CLS spawned other 4-door coupes, notably the Volkswagen Passat CC and even the BMW X6 sport utility vehicle.

For the 2009 model year, Mercedes has made minor cosmetic changes to the interior and exterior of the CLS-Class, and updated the model's technology. Complementing the sleek nose of the 2009 Mercedes-Benz CLS-Class is a new, and more dramatic, 2-bar grille that replaces the original 4-bar grille. The mesh behind the grille, traditionally finished in black, is now Atlas Grey. The sides of the CLS sport larger exterior mirrors with integrated arrow-shaped turn signals. The vehicle's rear has been fitted with a new bumper, dual trapezoidal exhaust pipes, and arrow-shaped LED taillights. New 5-dual-spoke, 18-inch alloy wheels go on the CLS550, while the CLS63 AMG gets fresh 19-inch, triple-spoke wheels. The interior features a sportier 3-spoke steering wheel with shift paddles, ahead of new white-on-silver gauges. The COMAND infotainment system now incorporates Bluetooth for hands-free cell phone and audio operation, and a 6-disc CD \"stacker\" unit.

CLS-Class models are covered by a 4-year/50,000-mile warranty with 24-hour roadside assistance.

Model Lineup
The 2009 Mercedes-Benz CLS-Class lineup includes the CLS550 and the CLS63 AMG, both with rear-wheel drive and 8-cylinder engines. The CLS550 comes with a glass sunroof; satellite radio; harman/kardon Logic 7 digital surround sound; 6-disc CD changer; input jacks in the glove box for MP3 and iPod-style devices; navigation system; multi-function steering wheel; 10-way, power-adjustable front seats; 4-zone climate controls; cruise control; remote central locking with Smart Key; power windows; auto-dimming mirrors; electronic-adjustable tilt and telescoping steering column; integrated garage door opener; rain-sensing intermittent windshield wipers; high-gloss Laurel wood trim; leather upholstery; and floor mats. The CLS63 AMG features upgraded performance-designed AMG multi-contour front seats (with Nappa leather or with double topstitching/alcantara insets), AMG steering wheel with aluminum shift paddles, AMG lap timer gauge, and AMG badging.

Heated and active ventilated seats are optional. Additional options include front and rear obstacle detection, adaptive cruise control, and an iPod/MP3 interface. An optional performance package for the CLS63 AMG offers a 186-mph top speed instead of the usual 155-mph limit. The option group includes an AMG Airmatic sport suspension, bigger front brake discs, limited-slip differential, and an Alcantara-wrapped AMG steering wheel.

In the 2009 Mercedes-Benz CLS550, a 5.5-liter V-8 engine pumps out 382 hp and 391 lb.-ft. of torque. That power reaches the rear wheels through a 7-speed automatic transmission, and can propel the car to 60 mph in less than 5.5 seconds, according to the manufacturer. The car features Mercedes' Airmatic semi-active suspension and 18-inch wheels with high-performance tires. The EPA estimates fuel economy at 14 mpg city/21 mpg highway.

The CLS63 AMG has a 6.2-liter V-8 engine that generates 507 hp and 465 lb.-ft. of torque, propelling the vehicle to 60 mph in 4.3 seconds in Mercedes testing. Nearly 90 percent of peak torque is produced at 2000 rpm. Built almost entirely from silicon-aluminum alloy, the hand-built AMG engine shares no parts with regular Mercedes-Benz V-8s. The CLS63 AMG sedan gets a special SpeedShift 7-speed automatic transmission that may be shifted manually via either a conventional lever or by Formula 1-style shift paddles on the AMG sport steering wheel. Manual mode makes no shifts on its own, even under full load or at high engine rpm, Mercedes says. Special features include an AMG Airmatic suspension, AMG brakes, AMG aerodynamic body kit, sport exhaust, and high-performance wheels and tires. Three comfort-sport settings are provided on the AMG suspension, which incorporates automatic level control. The AMG version of the CLS is rated at 12 mpg city/18 mpg highway.

In addition to Pre-Safe (described below), the 2009 Mercedes-Benz CLS comes with an Electronic Stability Program (ESP), as well as anti-lock brakes with brake assist. The car also has tire-pressure monitors, front and side air bags for all occupants, side curtain air bags, and a driver-side knee air bag. Vented, perforated disc brakes on the CLS63 AMG model are 14 inches in diameter up front, and 13 inches in diameter at the rear. Mercedes-Benz's Electronic Stability Program is able to apply brakes to just one wheel in order to transfer torque to wheels that have better traction, the manufacturer claims.

The 2009 Mercedes-Benz CLS has not been crash-tested by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) or the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS).

Mercedes-Benz accident researchers found that about two-thirds of all accidents are preceded by skidding, emergency braking, or a sudden evasive maneuver-all of which can provide several valuable seconds of advance warning before impact. Additional engineering studies concluded that cars can be equipped to sense an imminent crash as much as five seconds before the actual impact. As a result, Mercedes engineers designed the Pre-Safe system to tension seat belts if the system senses an impending collision. Further, if the front passenger seat and any electrically-adjustable rear seats are reclined, Pre-Safe moves them to a more vertical position so occupants are better protected in the event of an impact. The system also closes side windows; and if the vehicle skids, which can be a precursor to rollover, the system automatically closes the sunroof. If a crash is averted, the electric belt tensioners automatically relax and are ready to deploy again if necessary.

Pre-Safe reacts to uncorrected fishtailing (oversteer) as well as \"plowing\" (understeer) by using existing sensors for ESP stability control that measure steering angle, vehicle yaw and lateral acceleration. Emergency braking can also trigger Pre-Safe, which monitors sensors for the brake assist system as well.


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