2008 Mercedes-Benz CLS-Class

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Key Specs
Our Take
Overview
Photos
Reviews
Safety & Recalls
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Key Specs

of the 2008 Mercedes‑Benz CLS‑Class. Base trim shown.

  • Body Type:
  • Combined MPG:
    15-17 Combined MPG
  • Engine:
    382-hp, 5.5-liter V-8 (premium)
  • Drivetrain:
    Rear-wheel Drive
  • Transmission:
    7-speed automatic w/OD and auto-manual
  • View more specs

Our Take

From the Cars.com Vehicle Test Team

The Good

  • Luxury amenities
  • Ultra-smooth, vigorous performance
  • Excellent visibility
  • Comfortable, quiet ride
  • Passenger space

The Bad

  • Awkward automatic-transmission operation at times
  • Lighter steering than expected
  • Sensation of heaviness
  • Backseat headroom
  • Backseat entry and exit

Notable Features of the 2008 Mercedes-Benz CLS-Class

  • Standard Pre-Safe system
  • Standard six-CD changer, Harman Kardon sound system
  • Standard satellite radio
  • Excellent visibility
  • Standard air suspension

2008 Mercedes-Benz CLS-Class Overview

By Cars.com Editors
Vehicle Overview
For 2007, Mercedes-Benz added safety and power to its CLS — the sedan it says looks like a coupe. This model year, there are a few more standard options, including satellite radio and larger wheels. CLS-Class models include the CLS550 and CLS63 AMG. CLS models compete in the same market segment as the Audi A8, BMW 550 and Jaguar S-Type.

Beneath the hood of the CLS550 is a V-8 rated at 382 horsepower. Stepping up a notch, the CLS63 AMG features a 507-hp, 5.5-liter V-8.

The CLS550 includes such features as Airmatic DC air suspension and four-zone climate control for comfort levels comparable to the automaker's S-Class sedan. Safety features include adaptive front airbags, side-impact airbags and side curtain airbags.


Exterior
New standard equipment for 2008 includes seven-spoke 18-inch wheels. Dubbed a four-door coupe, the CLS-Class was derived from a coupe study that appeared at the 2003 Frankfurt Motor Show in Germany. It features a high belt line and short side glass. A distinctive body crease rises from the front wheel arch, extends across the bodyside and continues through the contoured rear light cluster into the back bumper.

The roofline forms a sweeping arc above the body before smoothly transitioning into the C-pillar, which appears pulled toward the rear of the car. Aluminum is used for the front and rear subframes, parcel shelf and other components.

Built on a 112.4-inch wheelbase, the CLS-Class is slightly more than 193 inches long overall and ...
Vehicle Overview
For 2007, Mercedes-Benz added safety and power to its CLS — the sedan it says looks like a coupe. This model year, there are a few more standard options, including satellite radio and larger wheels. CLS-Class models include the CLS550 and CLS63 AMG. CLS models compete in the same market segment as the Audi A8, BMW 550 and Jaguar S-Type.

Beneath the hood of the CLS550 is a V-8 rated at 382 horsepower. Stepping up a notch, the CLS63 AMG features a 507-hp, 5.5-liter V-8.

The CLS550 includes such features as Airmatic DC air suspension and four-zone climate control for comfort levels comparable to the automaker's S-Class sedan. Safety features include adaptive front airbags, side-impact airbags and side curtain airbags.


Exterior
New standard equipment for 2008 includes seven-spoke 18-inch wheels. Dubbed a four-door coupe, the CLS-Class was derived from a coupe study that appeared at the 2003 Frankfurt Motor Show in Germany. It features a high belt line and short side glass. A distinctive body crease rises from the front wheel arch, extends across the bodyside and continues through the contoured rear light cluster into the back bumper.

The roofline forms a sweeping arc above the body before smoothly transitioning into the C-pillar, which appears pulled toward the rear of the car. Aluminum is used for the front and rear subframes, parcel shelf and other components.

Built on a 112.4-inch wheelbase, the CLS-Class is slightly more than 193 inches long overall and nearly 74 inches wide.

Projector-type headlights are standard, and bi-xenon headlights are optional. An automatic cornering light function with the bi-xenon units switches on the cornering lights during a turn, and the adaptive headlights pivot to follow the driver's steering movements.


Interior
Up to four occupants can fit inside the CLS-Class. The instrument panel's central speedometer is flanked by a tachometer and clock. Black dials have chrome surrounds. Bar-chart displays show the fuel level and coolant temperature.

The four-door layout of the CLS-Class permits easy entry and exit. Power front seats are standard and may be equipped with optional active ventilation. Massaging front seats are also optional.


Under the Hood
The CLS550 gets a 382-hp, 5.0-liter V-8 that works with a seven-speed automatic transmission. The CLS63 AMG has a 507-hp supercharged V-8 that's connected to a five-speed automatic transmission. Both transmissions have manual-shift provisions.

Safety
Mercedes' Pre-Safe system is standard. The system pre-tensions seat belts, moves the seats into a safer position and closes the sunroof if it senses an impending collision. An electronic stability system, antilock brakes, front and rear side-impact airbags, and side curtain airbags are standard.

Driving Impressions
This CLS sedan doesn't look like a typical Mercedes-Benz. Relatively light steering detracts from the sporty feel even though handling capabilities rank high. This is a big car, yet it maneuvers like a smaller model.

The automaker's mighty V-8 delivers plenty of power in a wholly refined and civilized manner. Shifts are more noticeable in the CLS than in some other luxury automobiles, but they're reasonably crisp and quick. However, the automatic transmission's operation tends to be intrusive while braking; it sometimes feels like an anchor ratcheting you down yet another notch. Occasional downshifts get awkward when rolling to a halt — and more so if you then step on the gas.

Expect a comfortable ride in the true luxury sense. The suspension might be taut, but its operation is largely concealed as you drive on smooth surfaces. On the downside, backseat headroom is scant, though legroom and foot space suffice. Getting into the backseat is difficult.



Consumer Reviews

Exterior Styling
(4.9)
Performance
(4.9)
Interior Design
(4.5)
Comfort
(4.8)
Reliability
(4.8)
Value For The Money
(4.4)

What Drivers Are Saying

(5.0)

The Beast!

by aschneider01 from Louisville on May 11, 2018

I've had this auto for about 5 years now. I waited and spent a lot of emotional resources for this auto and now am enjoying my choice. This beast is as impressive as the day I bought it. Kudos to me !... Read full review

(5.0)

Gorgeous Road Rocket, CLS 550

by BooGeeWiz from FL on April 24, 2018

I've received numerous comments over the years as to how beautiful this car is. Many from complete strangers. I think this first generation is one of the most beautiful cars Mercedes ever designed. It... Read full review

Safety & Recalls

Recalls

The 2008 Mercedes-Benz CLS-Class currently has 0 recalls

Crash and Rollover Test Ratings

The 2008 Mercedes-Benz CLS-Class has not been tested.

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Cars.com Car Seat Check

Certified child passenger safety technicians conduct hands-on tests of a car’s Latch system and check the vehicle’s ability to accommodate different types of car seats. The CLS-Class received the following grades on a scale of A-F.*
* This score may not apply to all trims, especially for vehicles with multiple body styles that affect the space and design of the seating.

Warranty FAQs

What is a Bumper-to-Bumper warranty?

Often called a basic warranty or new-vehicle warranty, a bumper-to-bumper policy covers components like air conditioning, audio systems, vehicle sensors, fuel systems and major electrical components. Most policies exclude regular maintenance like fluid top offs and oil changes, but a few brands have separate free-maintenance provisions, and those that do offer them is slowly rising. Bumper-to-bumper warranties typically expire faster than powertrain warranties.

What is a Powertrain warranty?

Don't be misled a 10-year or 100,000-mile powertrain warranty doesn't promise a decade of free repairs for your car. It typically covers just the engine and transmission, along with any other moving parts that lead to the wheels, like the driveshaft and constant velocity joints. Some automakers also bundle seat belts and airbags into their powertrain warranties. With a few exceptions, powertrain warranties don't cover regular maintenance like engine tuneups and tire rotations.

What is included in Roadside Assistance?

Some automakers include roadside assistance with their bumper-to-bumper or powertrain warranties, while others have separate policies. These programs cover anything from flat-tire changes and locksmith services to jump-starts and towing. Few reimburse incidental costs like motel rooms (if you have to wait for repairs).

What other services could be included in a warranty?

Some automakers include free scheduled maintenance for items such as oil changes, air filters and tire rotations. Some include consumables including brake pads and windshield wipers; others do not. They are typically for the first couple of years of ownership of a new car.

What does CPO mean?

A certified pre-owned or CPO car has been inspected to meet minimum quality standards and typically includes some type of warranty. While dealers and third parties certify cars, the gold standard is an automaker-certified vehicle that provides a factory-backed warranty, often extending the original coverage. Vehicles must be in excellent condition and have low miles and wear to be certified, which is why off-lease vehicles feed many CPO programs.

See also the latest CPO incentives by automaker