We are not the arbiters of design taste, but it’s fair to say that, although the appearance of the original Mercedes-Benz CLS was very well received, we’re unconvinced that this new model has, thus far, quite garnered the same affection. Although it’s more aggressive, it’s a less pure shape than before but, as with the original, Mercedes deserves credit for manipulating E-Class underpinnings and considerable packaging demands into such a sleek overall profile.

There are, of course, a few changes to the platform to create the CLS, supposedly a more dynamic, athletic car than Mercedes’ very likeable but deliberately stoic executive saloon. Mercedes calls the crease line that starts above the front wheel arch a ‘dropping line’. It’s meant to be reminiscent of older Mercedes sports cars, from the days long before monocoque bodies.

Matt Saunders Autocar

Matt Saunders

Road test editor
Although it’s more aggressive, it’s a less pure shape than before

A more prominent nose than before is meant to ape AMG’s flagship SLS sports car. The fact that there’s more space behind it, providing better pedestrian impact properties, is a bonus. It’s also meant to visually enhance the length of the bonnet. In keeping with more sporting Mercedes, the CLS gets a massive star in the grille, rather than a diddy bonnet-mounted ‘gunsight’.

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