The 2019 CLS 450 4MATIC Coupe is one of the most striking sedans I've ever tested.
Yes, you read that right. Although Mercedes calls the CLS 450 a two-door, it is really a four-door. But the roofline is so low and sweeping, it looks like a beautiful sport sedan — or a very large sports car — at first glance.
There is a trade-off for all that style, however. Drivers and passengers have to duck down to get in and out of the CLS 450. And headroom is compromised in the rear seats.
Since that's the case, the rest of the car had been be pretty spectacular, right? Especially since it starts at $71,700 and tops out at 95,015 fully loaded.
Fortunately for Mercedes, everything else about the CLS 450 easily overcomes that slight inconvenience. The interior is equally beautiful, and feels more assuring than confining in the front seats. The engine is a new turbocharged 3.0-liter inline six that pumps out 362 horsepower mated to a quick shifting 9G-TRONIC 9-speed automatic transmission. The suspension is taut but not stiff. And, because it is a mild hybrid with an electric motor between the engine and transmission to assist at starts, it returns an impressive 23 miles per gallon in the city and 30 on the highway.
The result is a fast and smooth ride — and that's just in the Comfort mode. In Sport or Sport-plus, the CLS 450 lives up to its sports car looks, although the engine remains more sophisticated than raucous. Mercedes says it can reach 60 in just 4.8 seconds, and I have no reason to doubt that.
For the unaware, the big three German automakers all offer large, sleek and expensive sedans that look like coupes these days Mercedes started it in with the first CLS introduced 15 years ago. Audi has the all-new A7, while BMW is selling the 640i xDrive Gran Coupe that first debuted back in 2012. I'm not sure how many people who need a four-door insist on having one that looks like a two-door when the conventional sedans produced by these companies drive so well, but it must be enough to justify the production expense.
But for those who want one, the 2019 CLS 450 Coupe fully lives up to Mercedes' reputation for quality and advanced technologies. The interior materials are all high class — including the large expanse of silvery wood on the dash and console — and the infotainment system is both comprehensive and easy to operate with the large dial under the convenient hand rest. The legendary 4MATIC works effortlessly to increase traction in slippery conditions, making it a favorite of Pacific Northwest buyers.
Although the 2019 CLS 450 4MATIC Coupe is not for everyone, for those willing to put up with the slight inconvenience caused by the low roofline, the striking good looks and overall performance more than make up fo it.
2019 CLS 450 4MATIC Coupe
Base price: $71,700
Price as tested: $95,015
Type: Midsize sedan
Engine: Turbocharged 3.0 inline 6 w/EQ Boost: (362 hp, 369 lbs-ft)
Transmission: 9-speed Tronic automatic
Diving modes: Eco, Comfort, Sport, Sport Plus, and Individual
Overall length: 196.7 inches
Curb weight: 4,405 pounds
Final assembly: Sindelfingen, Germany