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Mercedes-Benz CLS 55 & 63 AMG: Buying guide and review (2004-2010)

Mercedes-Benz CLS 55 & 63 AMG: Buying guide and review (2004-2010) Classic and Performance Car
Mercedes-Benz CLS AMG Mercedes-Benz CLS AMG Mercedes-Benz CLS AMG Mercedes-Benz CLS AMG Mercedes-Benz CLS AMG Mercedes-Benz CLS AMG Mercedes-Benz CLS AMG
As the first in a line of modern four-door coupes, the original CLS helped to inject some excitement into the straight-laced Mercedes-Benz range of the early 2000s. Based on the similarly-aged E-class platform, the first-generation CLS model was an altogether sportier proposition. A range of powerful V6 and V8 engines provided strong performance – but it was the mad AMG models that really got petrol heads excited.
Big German luxury car values tend to drop fast, and with the first generation CLS models having ended production seven years ago, there are some potentially very lucrative deals out there. Read on to see whether a used CLS AMG is still a desirable performance machine, or an outclassed old bruiser hell bent on drain your bank account.

Which Mercedes CLS AMG to buy?

The CLS arrived in 2004, and Mercedes wasted no time in introducing the first CLS 55 AMG at launch. The 5.4-litre Supercharged V8 may have been an old-school design, but it was a very effective hammer. With 476 bhp and 516lb ft torque at its disposal, it was a hooligan in a gentleman’s suit and 62mph arrived in a scant 4.7-seconds.
2006 saw the introduction of the even more unhinged CLS 63 AMG. The M156 6.2-litre V8 engine was down on torque slightly, but an additional 45bhp and the immediacy of its responses thanks to natural aspiration made it a real monster. The 0-62mph time was down by 0.1 of a second and the 6.2-litre V8 extended its advantage as the speeds rose into triple figures.
Standard specification on the top line AMG models was comprehensive. Electric seats and high quality audio system are just the beginning, with many owners specifying their cars up with keyless go, bi-xenon headlamps and radar-guided cruise control. Bear in mind that despite its size, the CLS is strictly a four seater, and rear headroom is somewhat compromised by the swoopy design. 
Rarely do you find so many positive comments from owners, the quality issues that afflicted so many Mercedes-Benz products of the early 2000s seem not to have been so much of a problem on CLS models. Post-2006 models received some additional safety features while a mild facelift freshened up the looks in 2008 and added two more forward ratios to the automatic gearbox. 

Performance and specs

Mercedes-Benz CLS 55 AMG
Engine  5439cc 24 valve SOHC V8
Power 469bhp @ 6100rpm
Torque 516lb ft @ 2650rpm
Transmission Five-speed automatic
0-62mph 4.7sec 
Top speed 155mph (limited)
Insurance group   50
Fuel consumption  20.8 mpg
Price when new  £68,000

Dimensions and weight

Wheelbase              2854mm
Length 4915mm
Width 1873mm
Height 1389mm
Weight 1920kg

Common problems

• Electrical issues have been noted by some owners; most come down to faulty switches, so it is worth checking that everything works beforehand.
• Air suspension can suffer from split bellows, and repairs can be pricey.
• Both the M113 5.4-litre Supercharged V8 and the latter M156 6.2-litre unit are strong engines and provided they are serviced regularly should be mostly trouble free. The 6.2-litre has been known to suffer from head bolt failures and the supercharged motors can suffer from oil starvation (identified by noisy lifters) if they have been neglected but issues occur mostly on modified examples.
• The extremities of the car are tough to judge when parking, so optional parking sensors are extremely useful. Almost all AMG models came with them.
• The suspension and tyres take a pounding thanks to the power and weight. Bald rear tyres and creaking noises over bumps may indicate abuse, and possible big bills in the future.
• Gearboxes are tough, and should shift smoothly through the ratios. Jerking or hesitation during pull off are very bad. 


The CLS may have been based on the less than reliable E-Class platform but, it did not suffer from many of the same issues. Nevertheless, a number of preventative recalls were issued and you should verify that your potential purchase has had the remedial work carried out: 

• Brake Control units could suffer damage, which may require more pedal pressure while driving than expected. All cars affected up to 31/12/2005

• Crankshaft sensor could lose signal resulting in non-starting and/or reduced power. Cars affected: 1/1/2006 to 31/12/2007

• Incorrect passenger airbag functioning cars built between 21/10/2010 and 30/05/2011 affected

• Power-steering signal issues could affect cars built between 01/11/2010 and 30/04/2011

Model history

2004: Mercedes-Benz CLS launched, featuring a range of V6 and V8 petrol powered engines – all models automatic only. CLS 55 AMG is powered by supercharged 469bhp 5.4-litre V8.

Turbodiesel model introduced.

CLS 63 AMG replaces CLS55 AMG. New naturally aspirated 6.2-litre V8 replaces 5.4-litre supercharged version. Power up to 514bhp but torque output is slightly lower. Pre-Safe and Neck-Pro safety systems introduced.

Facelift introduced across the range. Changes include redesigned bumpers and updated interior trim, as well as seven-speed ‘7G-Tronic’ automatic transmission replacing the five-speed unit.

First generation CLS production ends.

Owners clubs, forums and websites

• www.mercedes-benz-club.co.uk – Mercedes-Benz UK Car Club
• www.mercedesclub.org.uk – Owners club
• www.mbworld.org – Mercedes-Benz Forums

Summary and prices

While there are a fair number of standard CLS models for sale at any one time, the AMG variants are far more scarce. It’s best not to get too fixated on colour and spec, and focus on finding the healthiest example available within your budget.
A 2004 model year CLS 55 AMG with around 90,000 miles on the clock starts at around £10,000, with the last 2006 versions rising to around £13,500. The 6.2-litre V8s also start here, rising to about £20,000 for a 2010 model in perfect condition.
There’s no doubting that the CLS AMG models offer a lot of car for the money, but you really must factor in the running costs associated with a big, powerful V8. If you do, there’s little likelihood of being disappointed.  
Words: John Tallodi
Mercedes-Benz CLS AMG Mercedes-Benz CLS AMG Mercedes-Benz CLS AMG Mercedes-Benz CLS AMG Mercedes-Benz CLS AMG Mercedes-Benz CLS AMG Mercedes-Benz CLS AMG
Last updated: 19th Jun 2017
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Mercedes-Benz CLS
4990 59995 GBP
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    £27,338 £27,338

    Variant name:Cls Diesel Coupe AMG Line ,Derivative:AMG Line ,Variant: CLS 220d AMG Line 4dr 7G-Tronic Mercedes-Benz CLS CLS 220d AMG Line 4dr 7G-Tronic

    • Year: 2017
    • Mileage: 10300 mi
    • Engine size: 2.1
    For sale
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    Prestige Cars Kent-Prestige Cars Kent
    01689 660603 View contact number
  • Mercedes-Benz CLS

    £18,990 £18,990

    Variant name:Diesel Coupe AMG Sport ,Derivative:AMG Sport ,Variant: CLS 350 CDI BlueEFFICIENCY AMG Sport, 19 Inch 5-Spoke AMG Alloy Wheels, Satellite Navigation, Bluetooth, DAB Radio, 6 CD Changer, Heated Electric Front Seats with Memory Package, Front and Rear Park Assist, 1 Owner, Full Mercedes History Multi award-winning prestige car dealership John Holland is excited to offer this beautifully presented One Owner from new Mercedes Benz CLS 350 CDI AMG Sport. Finished in the best colour combination on the market today of Tenorite Grey Metallic complimented with Alpaca Grey Leather Upholstery finished with Burr Walnut Wood Interior Inlays. This stunning example comes with a huge specification to include 19" 5-Spoke AMG Alloy Wheels, Comand Satellite Navigation, Bluetooth, Cruise Control, DAB Radio, 6 CD Changer, iPod / USB Connectivity, Heated Electric Front Seats with Memory Package, Front and Rear Park Assist, Multi-Function Leather Steering Wheel, Paddle Shift, Electric Folding Mirrors, Ambient Interior Lighting, Auto Lights, Xenon Headlights, LED Daytime Running Lights plus much more. Also benefiting from a full Mercedes Benz service history completed exclusively by the supplying dealer Mercedes Wakefield on the 14/10/14 at 13357 miles, 14/10/15 at 23925 Miles, 06/10/16 at 35156 Miles and again on the 05/12/17 at 45325 miles. Supplied with 2 keys and all it original owners manuals and wallet. John Holland has been established for over 40 years supplying a premium level of service in the sale of sports, prestige and collectors cars. We have a team of experienced buyers who hand pick our cars from all parts of the UK so you can buy with confidence all vehicles are HPI Clear and prepared to the highest standard, full dealer facilities available.

    • Year: 2013
    • Mileage: 48523 mi
    • Engine size: 3
    For sale
    £18,990 £18,990
  • Mercedes-Benz CLS Class

    £23,495 £23,495

    2014 / 64 REG + 21,000 MILES + FULL MERCEDES SERVICE HISTORY + ONLY 1 PREVIOUS OWNER + DIMOND WHITE (PEARL EFFECT), 360 DEGREES CAMERA + COMMAND SAT NAV + SUNROOF, 19'' AMG, ELECTRIC MEMORY SEATS, Black Full leather interior, Memory Package, Sports Multi Function 3 Spoke Leather Steering Wheel, Tyre Pressure Monitor, Electric Folding Door Mirrors, DAB Radio, 2 Zone Auto Climate Control, LED Headlights, AMG Bodystyling, Premium Sound System, Electric Heated Seats with Memory, Ambient Lighting, Adaptive Brake Lights, Contrast Stitching, Privacy Glass.

    • Mileage: 21000 mi
    • Engine size: 2987
    For sale
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  • Mercedes-Benz CLS Class

    £26,500 £26,500

    Climate Control, Colour SatNav, Full Leather, iPod Connectivity, Xenon Headlamps, Rain-Sensing Wipers, Privacy Glass, Remote Central Locking, Electric Windows, Cruise Control, Adjustable Steering Column, Full main dealer service history

    • Mileage: 15000 mi
    • Engine size: 2143
    For sale
    £26,500 £26,500

    £16,495 £16,495

    We are delighted to present a beautiful Low Mileage Mercedes-Benz CLS350 AMG Sport that offers an enticing mix of style, luxury and performance. The car is powered by a 3.0 Litre 265 BHP Engine and 7 Speed Auto Gearbox which results in offering impressive fuel economy. This stunning AMG Sport Coupe comes equipped with APS Command Navigation with DVD Changer, DAB Digital Radio, Heated Seats, Hard Drive Music System, Bluetooth Phone Preperation, Multi functional Steering Wheel, Cruise Control with Speedtronic Variable Speed Limiter, Dual Climate Control, Gearbox Selectable Modes (Sport/Economy/Manual), LED Intelligent Light System Inc Daytime Running Lights, Park-Tronic Park Assist with Front and Rear Sensors, Electric Driver and Passenger Seats, Multi-functional Steering Wheel Inc Paddleshift, Front and Rear Fog Lights, Plus much more. This superb CLS 350 has been finished in Bright Iridium Silver Metallic, Black Leather Interior, AMG Sports Package, AMG Styling Package, Sports Steering Wheel and 19" AMG Spoked Alloy Wheels. This vehicle comes backed with a FULL MERCEDES-BENZ MAIN DEALER HISTORY and has 6 service stamps to date on digital print out. It will come supplied with 2 Remote Central Locking Keys, all the Manuals and relevent Documentation. ;;** Purchase this vehicle using our low rate finance packages, tailored to suit your individual requirements. ;;** Flexible HP/PCP Finance Available - We offer a 0% Deposit Options with packages available from 12 - 72 months ** All of our vehicles go through an inspection prior to sale and will be provided with a 6 months warranty as standard ** Nationwide Delivery is available at a small cost ** Part Exchanges are welcome ** All Major Debit/Credit cards can be used ** OPENING HOURS ARE AVAILABLE 7 DAYS A WEEK TO SUIT ALL OUR CUSTOMER REQUIREMENTS, PLEASE PHONE PRIOR TO BOOK AN APPOINTMENT TO AVOID DISAPPOINTMENT **;;Apex Cars Direct is a trading name of Nathan Hunt Cars Ltd and acts as a non - independent credit intermediary for a limited number of lenders and is able to offer a limited number of finance products from these providers. Our consumer credit Permission Reference Number is 795774. You can check this on the FCA's website www.fca.org.uk or by contacting the FCA on 0300 500 8082.

    • Mileage: 30000 mi
    • Engine size: 2.987
    For sale
    £16,495 £16,495