Mercedes-Benz has announced pricing for the third-generation CLS-class, and the new model is a lot more expensive than the equivalent E-class sedan. The all-wheel-drive CLS450 4Matic starts at $72,695, which is a $11,750 jump up from the E450 4Matic. The rear-wheel-drive CLS450 is $70,195, but there is no rear-drive E450 with which to compare it, and unlike in the E-class lineup, there is no cheaper four-cylinder CLS model.
Part of the large price gap is surely due to the fact that the CLS450 is powered by a completely different engine. While the E450 uses a twin-turbo 3.0-liter V-6, the CLS450 uses Mercedes-Benz's brand-new single-turbo 3.0-liter inline-six, which also has a 48-volt hybrid system. What the CLS customer is really paying extra for, though, is style. "Four-door coupes" are inherently compromised, with less passenger volume, worse visibility, and less practicality overall-but that's the whole point.
The CLS450 can be had with everything you expect from a high-end Mercedes in optional extras. Paint colors cost as much as $3950, fancy Designo leather is $4900, and special wood trim is $1300. The $2250 Driver Assistance package adds all manner of passive- and active-safety features, while other bundles, including the $1050 Warmth & Comfort package and the $1500 Premium package, bring more luxurious convenience items. Some standout stand-alone options are the $5400 Burmester High-End 3D sound system, the $1320 multicontour massaging front seats, and the $1900 adaptive air suspension.
When it comes to the Mercedes-AMG CLS53, though, the price gap between it and the E-class is actually smaller. At $80,895, the CLS53 is "just" $7350 dearer than the AMG E53 sedan. This could be due to the fact that the new E53, which replaces last year's V-6–powered E43, shares the same turbocharged and supercharged inline-six as the CLS53. The CLS53 is available with all of the same features as the CLS450, with some coming as standard, and additional AMG-specific trim options are available. We especially recommend the $1250 switchable performance exhaust system to make the most of the fabulous, angry-sounding straight-six. All in, it's possible to price a CLS53 well past the $110,000 mark, at which point the 603-hp E63 looks mighty enticing. But again, nothing else can match that coupelike styling.
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