What is it?
An automotive game of spot the difference. Four years after Mercedes launched the banana shaped, four door coupé CLS it has given it the most mild of facelifts.
Essentially, ever-so-slightly tweaked bumpers, larger wing mirrors and inside, a new infotainment system. The give away sign distinguishing the new model from old, the grille, which now features two horizontal louvers rather than four. Or if you’re following, the new trapezoidal exhausts and LED rear lights. I told you it was radical.
The 350 CGI engine tested here is not new, but the most recently introduced of the four engines available in the CLS. CGI is Mercedes jargon for direct injection technology, used primarily to achieve better economy and lower emission, in the case of the CLS bringing the CO2 figure below Ken’s 225g/km limit, while still producing 288bhp.
Mercedes are not using CGI across all applications of the 350 V6 engine, in the C-Class the engine retains conventional injection with 268bhp, while the recently fettled SLK and SL roadsters get the engine in two further states of tune, 301bhp and 311bhp respectfully.
What’s it like?
Unsurprisingly it’s very, very similar to the current model. The visual tweaks do help lift the design, not so much at the front, which remains the CLS’ least successful angle, but at the back, the deep bumper and more prominent horizontal styling line giving a broader stance. It is in profile, though, where there have been no changes except that 18” alloys are now standard, that the CLS appears most distinctive.