Mercedes CLS and AMG CLS 53 updated for 2021

Published: 07 April 2021

► 2021 Mercedes CLS update
► Light tweaks to keep coupe saloon fresh
► First deliveries coming in July

It’s nip and tuck time for the Mercedes CLS. Merc’s sleek executive car has benefitted from many of the same changes as the latest E-Class, including tech upgrades and cleaner engines.

The CLS has undergone a light visual facelift, taking a power sander to some of the previous generation’s creases. The interior is much the same, with new veneers and Merc’s new touchpad steering wheel already implemented in other new models released recently.

cls interior

Along with a new design, the wheel’s rim has sensors in it to detect whether you’re holding the wheel – a benefit to the car’s (optional) driver assistance systems, allowing the car to know you’re holding it, negating the need to remind you if it doesn’t detect any inputs otherwise.

What’s new under the bonnet?

It’s mostly an updated range, with the addition of mild hybridisation to some of the engines – namely the four-cylinder CLS 300d and straight-six CLS 450 petrol. It adds the ability to inject around 20bhp/147lb ft (for the diesel) or 20bhp/184lb ft (for the petrol) of electric boost under hard throttle loads, and allows the CLS to coast with the engine off to save fuel.

cls front static

There’s also a base C220d and C350 petrol, both using four-cylinders and the continuation of the AMG CLS 53.

Anything new on the AMG CLS 53?

Power is the same as the AMG GLE 53 – 429bhp and 384lb ft – and it’s capable of sprinting to 62mph in 4.5sec, topping out at a limited 155mph.

amg cls rear

The AMG version also features some new, cleaner design elements on the front and a couple of new option packs: Night Package II, which basically adds more black exterior elements, and the AMG Dynamic Plus pack that adds a race mode to the drive selector, red brake calipers and a bespoke steering wheel.

When can I get a new CLS?

Orders open in April 2021, with the first deliveries coming in July. Prices will come later.

Read our Mercedes reviews

By Jake Groves

CAR's deputy news editor, office Geordie, gamer, lover of hot hatches