After receiving more powerful engines and new trim designations in 2007, the two 2008 Mercedes-Benz CLS 4-door "coupes" undergo modest changes for 2008. The 18-inch wheels sport a new seven-spoke design, and Sirius satellite radio is now standard. The CLS550 base price increases $700 to $67,600, while the CLS63 AMG bumps up $1,000 to $93,200.
Nobody executes the combination of performance and luxury like Mercedes-Benz, and the 2008 CLS-Class represents Mercedes-Benz' take on those two attributes in a mid-size sedan. The interior dimensions are on the small size--particularly in the rear seat--so Mercedes-Benz has elected to call it a "four-door coupe."
Both CLS-Class coupes are motivated by impressive engines. The 5.5L V8 in the CLS550 generates a more-than-respectable 382 horsepower. For a bit more than $25,000 extra, the CLS63 AMG version crams an envy-creating 6.3L V8 engine under the hood, capable of kicking out 507 horses.
The transmission in both trims is Mercedes-Benz' seven-speed automatic. This means the car always can find the optimum gear for any situation. This also allows the car to operate within respectable efficiency numbers for a V8-powered performance car, although both engines incur a gas-guzzler tax.
Both CLS-Class versions feature an air suspension system Mercedes-Benz calls Airmatic. The car floats on pneumatic spring-struts and variable rate shocks. The driver can select both suspension sport mode and ride height. The CLS-Class will also automatically lower at speed to improve aerodynamic efficiency.
The interior is all Mercedes-Benz-style luxury. Both front seats are trimmed in leather, have ten-way power adjusters, and feature three-position memory settings. Climate control keeps no fewer than four zones comfortable. A high-end harmon/kardon 7.1 channel stereo system utilizes 12 speakers. Added for 2008 is Sirius satellite radio, so drivers can even eliminate annoying ads from their decompression chamber.
The P2 Package includes DVD navigation, ventilated front seats, bi-xenon headlamps, and a clever curve-illumination feature that helps the driver "see" around bends in the road. Also included is Mercedes-Benz' Keyless Go system.
Those looking for added performance on the CLS550 will be interested in the AMG Sport Package, which includes fat 40-series performance tires and steering-wheel shift paddles. Mercedes-Benz' adaptive Distronic cruise control system is an available option, as is the brand's Parktronic parking assist system.
The CLS63 is the bigger brother, but the only major difference is the engine, which is now a hefty 6.3L V8. Handling is improved via larger stabilizer bars, 19-inch AMG wheels, and AMG six-piston front brakes. The steering wheel is a special AMG design.
On the CLS63, the Performance Package includes a limited-slip differential, and a special AMG compound brake system.
Mercedes-Benz is all about comfort, luxury, and refinement, and the 2008 CLS executes all of these exceedingly well. The CLS isn't a large vehicle and the word "sedan" doesn't seem to fit this smallish car with four doors, so Mercedes-Benz calls it a four-door coupe. A computer-controlled seven-speed automatic transmission helps the CLS550 achieve 21 mpg on the highway, which is respectable for a big V8. The upper-level CLS63 will please performance enthusiasts with its very powerful 6.3L V8 engine that generates 507 horsepower. The brakes, suspension, wheels, and even steering wheel are designed by AMG. The result is a very comfortable performance coupe.
Big car in a smallish package; luxurious appointments; mountains of power and performance.
Vehicle Price: 70,125.00
*Estimated payments are for informational purposes only and don't account for acquisition fees, destination charges, tax, title, and other fees and incentives or represent a financing offer or guarantee of credit from the seller.
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