Driven: Mercedes Benz CLS 53 AMG 4Matic by Vishnu Singh
Make no mistake, all the new AMG engines earn feral grins and serious petrol head appreciation. Is this new one just another thunder plant created for pleasure or does the new engine add a crafted sense of development to the illustrious brand. A last minute production gig, had me trekking to Durban and carrying 300 kg of digital camera accessories along as passengers. Is the hybrid technology that is stuffed into this grand saloon enough to warrant consumer interest? It merges 6 cylinders, an electric motor and rams air through this recipe all in attempt to offer a crackling car brimming with withering rage, Don Corleone like charisma and enough performance to keep you spellbound. Well, I think so, let’s see why.
15 years on and the sloping sedan/ coupe features still draw attention like a heist in a local mall. People do not hide when the CLS emerges, in fact they pull out their cell phones and snap away. I got pulled over twice by metro, it was probably the tatt sleeves and the cavalier attitude that persuaded our finest that there must be something skew about this deal. They checked the car, properly and then with an embarrassed air, let me go, citing the high amount of drug movement in Joburg. So, a potential suspect would willingly move contraband in a car that attracts more attention than a celebrity…hmmm
Its panoramic grandeur sweeps across the extensive dash with the same kind of luxurious detachment one would expect from premium segment motoring. The CLS 53AMG has a contemporary feel with enough millennial technology to keep you well balanced and trending in social circles. Everything is accessible via steering wheel, or touchscreen which can become annoying if you enjoy a simpler less button heavy tiller. The 64 colour options within the ambient lighting nest had my eyes sparkling in enjoyment, after all it was a 1500km round trip, much of it at night. The seats are specific to this model and softly invigorating with no fatigue evident even after almost 8 hours of non-stop driving, a major asset in our traffic induced comas that we survive on a daily basis here in Gauteng.
AMG performance would warrant heavier consumption and driven with gusto it does tweak the wallet a bit, but for the trip to the coast, it was exceptional. With more traffic cops and cameras sprouting along the N3 like rebellious weeds, it was safer for me to lock adaptive cruise control at 123km/h and listen to some of my tunes. It averaged just under 8.6liters per hundred which completely had me flabbergasted , but after topping up, my worst suspicions were confirmed, they had created a sub five sec performance car that was as thrifty as B or C segment commuter.
In the corners is where the AMG shines. You would expect some amount of body roll or movement with this chassis, but it actually needs to be pushed to enjoy its ability to offer subliminal comfort and merciless barbaric pace. This allows the CLS to become a long distance adventurer and distance gobbler while keeping the internal occupants as happy as a…well hippos in mud. This is not something you can say about the usual crop of aggressive, growling Affalterbach’s creations.
The CLS 53 AMG manages to combine elegance, performance, green economy incentives, solid handling, comfortable road manners, and exceptional consumption. All this AMG enforcement in one classically designed offering. It does all this with the nuances and confidence of a vehicle in a market segment that Mercedes had actually created. It’s not a performance scalpel like the C63s or brutish like the GLC 63s, but it carves its own unique niche in the industry by being appealing to both the accomplished executives and the aspiring deviant.
Price R1706 900.00 (edition 1)
Engine 3.0 liter turbo charged 6 cylinder
Top Speed >250km/h