Published on April 7th, 2021 | by Joshua Chin


Mercedes-Benz CLS Facelift Features Sportier Styling

A new MHEV diesel is also available with the updated CLS, as is a limited-edition CLS 53 AMG model. 

Mercedes-Benz has recently given its CLS a mild nip-and-tuck as part of its mid-life makeover. Following on from the prior update made the year before with improvements made to the infotainment system and addition of a raft of active safety aids, this most recent facelift brings with it slight styling tweaks and powertrain enhancements instead. 

Starting with the exterior tweaks first, the facelifted CLS gains a revised front grille and bumper for a slightly sleeker look up front. New on this big Benz too are a brace of restyled 19-inch and recoloured 20-inch alloy wheels, as well as a new Spectral Blue Metallic exterior hue. 


Stepping inside meanwhile, a number of new trim options that range from the centre console wood finish to the colour of the leather upholstery has been added as part of this minor facelift to allow for greater individualisation by the discerning CLS customer. Other notable interior enhancements within this four-door Mercedes coupe includes a new steering wheel design with a two-zone sensor pad located in the rim, as well as some additional leather trim within the cabin. 

Moving onto the updates made under that long hood, Mercedes has curiously introduced a new 2.0-litre four-cylinder diesel option that is assisted by a 20 hp 48 V integrated starter-generator. Badged as the 300d, this mild-hybrid oil-burner has a combined output of 261 hp and 550 Nm of torque, and can supposedly complete the century sprint in a rather reasonable 6.4 seconds before maxing out at 250 km/h (155 mph). 

For outright speed however, the top-of-the-line CLS 53 4Matic+ is still perhaps the better bet. Especially considering that its 3.0-liter straight-six that sends its 429 hp and 520 Nm of torque to all four wheels via a nine-speed automatic transmission still manages a claimed 0-100 km/h time in 4.5 seconds. 

Speaking of the CLS 53, this hot variant also gains some styling updates in the form of a redesigned AMG grille and bumpers. Two new Night Package add-ons are now available too, which swap the black windscreen surround for polished aluminium pieces and add darkened chrome accents for the front grille and rear badging.

A limited run of 300 CLS 53 Limited Editions will also be produced too using these facelifted models. These small run of special cars come exclusively in white or grey with black five-spoke alloy wheels and adds racing stripes, high-gloss black exterior elements and the AMG Dynamic Plus package as standard. 

Set to arrive in Europe in the coming months with international market deliveries only occurring early next year, prices for these mildly updated CLS models are expected to remain roughly the same as its pre-facelift counterparts. 

PRESS RELEASE: The CLS will come to the starting line in April 2021 with a sharpened design. The front end in particular, with new radiator grilles and bumpers, expresses the dynamism of the four-door coupé even more strongly. At the same time, the interior has been upgraded with additional leather and trim combinations as well as a new generation of steering wheel. A latest-generation diesel with integrated starter-generator expands the model range. A strictly limited special model of the Mercedes-AMG CLS 53 4MATIC+ forms the sporty-exclusive spearhead. The modernised CLS celebrates its world premiere in April, and the first models arrive at European dealers in July. Thanks to a comprehensive refresh last summer with updates to the driving assistance systems, the MBUX (Mercedes-Benz User Experience) multimedia system and ENERGIZING Comfort, the CLS was already up-to-date technologically.

As a coupé, the CLS, together with all roadsters and cabriolets, belongs to the category of dream cars at Mercedes-Benz. To date, more than four million examples have been sold to customers all over the world, including more than 450,000 CLS models since the launch of the first generation in 2004. China was the largest sales market for the CLS Coupé in 2020, followed by South Korea, the USA and Germany. The reason most frequently cited by customers for buying the CLS is its design: Sportiness is the true luxury in this customer segment.

Now the CLS shows off an even sportier look. The entry-level model with AVANTGARDE Exterior as standard features a new front apron with striking air intakes, two louvres at the sides, and a front splitter in silver chrome. The rear apron has a black diffuser-look insert and a silver-chrome trim strip. Two new designs are available for the 19-inch light-alloy wheel: 5-twin-spoke or multi-spoke rims.

If the CLS is equipped with the AMG Line Exterior, it signals its sportiness even more clearly: AMG styling components are fitted in this version. These include an AMG-specific front apron with A-wing in black, a front splitter in silver chrome, sporty, distinctive air intakes with vertical bars and aerodynamically shaped flics in high-gloss black. Other features include AMG sill trim on the side and AMG spoiler lip on the boot lid. In combination with AMG Line Exterior, two new colours can be selected for the 20-inch, high-gloss AMG multi-spoke light-alloy wheel in bi-colour look: tremolite grey or high-gloss black.

All models with AVANTGARDE Exterior or AMG Line Exterior receive a new radiator grille. Special features of this grille are the Mercedes-Benz pattern (a three-dimensional star pattern with chrome-gloss surfaces), a louvre in high-gloss black with chrome inlay and the integrated Mercedes star. The new paint colour for the CLS is spectral blue metallic.

In addition to the more distinctive exterior, the interior has also been enhanced. Two new trim finishes, including for the centre console, are available in open-pore brown walnut and high-gloss grey wood. The range of leather seat upholstery has also been expanded: Neva grey/magma grey and sienna brown/black are the two new colour combinations here.

As part of the update, the CLS receives a redesigned multifunction steering wheel in nappa leather. The spokes are finished in high-gloss black with silver chrome edging, the paddle shifters in silver chrome. With the Driving Assistance Package (optional extra), the driver is supported by Active Distance Assist DISTRONIC and Active Steering Assist. Here, the steering wheel uses the capacitive principle to detect the driver’s hands. There is a two-zone sensor pad in the steering wheel rim. The sensors on the front and reverse sides of the rim register whether the driver’s hands are on the wheel. No steering movement is now required to inform the assistance systems that the driver is in control. This enhances user-friendliness when driving in semi-automated mode.

Greater individualisation possible with designo

The 250 experts at Mercedes-Benz designo in Sindelfingen can transform the CLS into a very personal one-off if desired. The selection has also been increased for these special options: new, for example, are the special lacquers jupiter red, cashmere white magno and emerald green. These are available for all equipment versions.

The two-tone designo interior with exclusive nappa leather is available in five new combinations: classic red/black, saddle brown/black, tartufo brown/black, deep white/black and yacht blue/black.

Sharpened in many details: Mercedes-AMG CLS 53 4MATIC+

Mercedes-AMG has updated the sporty top model of the model series with numerous visual highlights and attractive equipment packages. The standard innovations on the CLS 53 4MATIC+ include the redesigned front end with the sporty AMG bumper in A-wing form with black flics and visible air curtains, as well as the AMG signature grille with vertical bars. The surrounds of the windscreen frames are made of polished aluminium or, in combination with the Night Package, in high-gloss black. The exterior mirrors are painted in the colour of the vehicle. Here, too, models with the AMG Night Package or AMG Exterior II Carbon Package are an exception: The mirrors there are finished in high-gloss black or have a housing made of carbon fibre. Mercedes-AMG drivers also steer the CLS with the latest-generation steering wheel, here in nappa leather finish and with the familiar AMG steering wheel buttons with display.

In terms of optional extras, two new packages allow the coupé to be even sportier: the AMG Night Package II, available in combination with the AMG Night Package, includes the radiator grille, Mercedes star at the rear and typography in darkened chrome.

The AMG DYNAMIC PLUS Package enhances dynamics in several respects. The red-painted brake callipers with black AMG lettering add a visual highlight to the exterior. In the interior, the AMG Performance steering wheel in nappa leather/DINAMICA microfibre or alternatively in nappa leather rounds off the package with sporty elegance. Racetrack-fit performance with a sporty emphasis can be experienced in the additional “RACE” driving mode with the Drift mode.

The CLS 53 4MATIC+ combines a powerful 320 kW (435 hp) output with sporty style and high efficiency. The integrated starter-generator briefly delivers an additional 16 kW of power and 250 Nm of torque and supplies the 48-volt on-board network. It unites the starter and alternator in one electric motor and is integrated between the engine and transmission. This, as well as the intelligent turbocharging with electric auxiliary compressor (eZV) and exhaust gas turbocharger, pursue the same goal: to offer the performance and driving dynamics characteristic of AMG, while at the same time reducing fuel consumption and emissions. The extremely fast-shifting AMG SPEEDSHIFT TCT 9G transmission, the fully variable AMG Performance 4MATIC+ all-wheel drive and the AMG RIDE CONTROL+ air suspension also contribute to the dynamic driving experience.

Performance for individualists: the limited Edition model from Mercedes-AMG

Only 300 units of the new Limited Edition are planned. For the paintwork, the customer can choose between cashmere white magno and selenite grey magno. There are racing stripes above the side sills. On the Edition model in cashmere white magno, these are in dark grey metallic gloss. If the CLS is painted in selenite grey magno, the stripes are black non-metallic gloss. Both stripe variants are highlighted in red non-metallic gloss.

20-inch AMG 5-twin-spoke light-alloy wheels, painted black and with a high-sheen rim flange, are also standard, as are the AMG Night Package and the AMG Night Package II (see above for details). With the AMG Night Package, selected exterior elements are finished in high-gloss black. These include the front splitter of the AMG front apron, the housings of the exterior mirrors and the surrounds of the side windows. Aft of the B-pillar, this CLS has heat-insulating, dark-tinted glass.

The AMG DYNAMIC PLUS Package (for equipment scope, see above) also comes as standard with this Edition model. When the front doors are opened, LED technology is used to project the AMG emblem onto the ground next to the vehicle in a 3D look.

The features of the sporty special model in the interior: two-tone AMG nappa leather in black/silver grey pearl, AMG trim elements in carbon, steering wheel in nappa leather and DINAMICA with red contrasting topstitching as well as AMG steering wheel buttons and the AMG lettering on the centre console.

The powertrains of the CLS: powerful and efficient

In addition to the familiar petrol models, the CLS 300 d 4MATIC launched in March 2021 (combined fuel consumption 5.8-5.5 l/100 km; combined CO2 emissions 153-144 g/km) has a mild hybrid powertrain. Its four-cylinder diesel engine (OM 654 M) comes with an integrated second-generation starter-generator and 48-volt electrical system. The output is 195 kW plus 15 kW electric boost. Energy recovery and the possibility to “glide” with the engine switched off make this powertrain very efficient. Electrification also allows the use of an electric refrigerant compressor for the air conditioning system. Here is an overview of the most important features:

  • A new crankshaft increases the stroke to 94 mm and the displacement to 1993 cc 
  • (previously: 92.3 and 1950).
  • The injection pressure increases to 2700 bar (instead of 2500).
  • Particularly fast response times and uniform power delivery thanks to two water-cooled turbochargers, both now featuring variable turbine geometry.
  • A sodium-filled cooling duct in each of the steel pistons. This helps to dissipate temperature peaks in the combustion cavity of the pistons.
  • Electric refrigerant compressor

In terms of exhaust gas aftertreatment, this most powerful of the four-cylinder diesel engines also takes things one step further. Its components include

  • A close-coupled NOx storage catalytic converter for reducing nitrogen oxides
  • A DPF (diesel particulate filter with special coating for reducing the amount of nitrogen oxides)
  • An SCR catalyst (selective catalytic reduction; with metered injected quantity of AdBlue) as well as
  • An additional SCR catalyst in the underbody of the vehicle with separately metered injected quantity of AdBlue

Still part of the range is the four-cylinder diesel without ISG in the CLS 220 d (combined fuel consumption 5.1-4.8 l/100 km; combined CO2 emissions 135-128 g/km)

Tags: , , , , ,

About the Author

Automotive journalist. Professional work on and Personal writing found at Instagram: @driveeveryday

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Back to Top ↑