Published on May 9th, 2023 | by Subhash Nair


Mercedes-Benz CLS Might Just Be Retired For Good After 3 Generations

Production of the Mercedes-Benz CLS may be coming to an end without a replacement announced.

According to a Mercedes-Benz spokesperson in Australia, the Mercedes-Benz CLS bloodline may be coming to an end this year. It’s not just the end of the current generation CLS, but likely the end of the CLS name altogether. There are two major reasons to believe this is true. The first reason is that some markets are beginning to discontinue the CLS without a replacement. The second reason is that Mercedes-Benz announced last year that it would reduce the number of models offered in its portfolio. The CLS is naturally not one of the company’s best sellers, so axing it would make sense. Plus, it’s our opinion that the CLS is no longer relevant. Here’s why.

The Mercedes-Benz CLS started life as an alternate take on the S-Class – something that as luxurious but that was smaller, more driver-centric and design focused. The CLS arrived with a heavily sloped roof and introduced the ‘four-door coupé’ in 2004 with styling being done by Michael Fink. At the time, Mercedes-Benz was heavily expanding their model line-up in response to changing market conditions. Plus, sedans in the early 2000s still featured 3-box styling. The S-Class, though radically restyled was still very much a little limousine at the time.

mercedes-Benz CLS rear end

The CLS in the first generation made a lot of sense as there were high-level executives who wanted a flagship-level Mercedes-Benz but may not necessarily want to be chauffeured around in one. Hence, a slightly smaller and more dramatic looking but equally luxurious CLS model slot in perfectly.

With the second generation CLS, the Mercedes-Benz vehicles were still transitioning in terms of design. They hadn’t yet adopted the dramatic swoopy lines under Gorden Wagener’s direction. The CLS in this generation looked a little less dramatic than its predecessor, but was still something that made a bit of sense.

The third generation CLS came in half a generation after the introduction of the W222 S-Class, which was already dynamic and had a sloped roofline. In terms of design, it’s yes the CLS was a little bit ahead of the curve, but the S-Class adopted the ‘4-door coupé’ aesthetic and so the CLS just came across as a bit unnecessary.

Finally, another not-so-talked about reason is the CLS’s powertrain. When the CLS first debuted, the smallest engine available was a 3.0L 6-cylinder. The spirit of the CLS was in that differentiation between it and the E-Class by simply not catering to those looking for an economical powertrain. Over the years, regulations and other factors has steered the CLS towards smaller displacement engines and hybrid systems.


Sure, that’s unavoidable but the CLS powertrain became indistinguishable from what was available on the E-Class. In our opinion, the 3rd gen CLS should have debuted as an all-electric alternative to the S-Class. It should have been the EQS/EQE before those vehicles had a chance to debut. Anyway, the dice has been cast.

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