Tested: 2020 Mercedes-AMG CLS53

We at NamWheels are fairly sure that most car buyers make up their minds before they even waltz into a showroom. What they need is a gentle shove in the general direction of an OTP and we’re happy to help with a few points as to why you should purchase a new CLS53 AMG.

  • The looks

This is a bit controversial at our office because our young Windhoek correspondent can’t stop raving about this black beauty while his Cape-bound editor thinks it’s too brash. We’re safely assuming that anyone reading this text agrees with the first opinion and would also make animal noises whenever they’re near to this CLS.

  • Its pedigree

AMG didn’t just enter the arena five minutes ago, their roots go back to the late sixties and the time between that pioneering era and the eventual merger with Daimler-Benz (starting circa 1993) was filled with amazing power, style and handling upgrades to any Mercedes you could bring them.

Sure, nowadays they’re a perfectly-positioned cog in a well-oiled corporate machine but their experience still shows. And while some folks may lament the loss of old-school engine tuning (who doesn’t?) there’s no denying that this CLS53 is a proper performance car. How do 320kW and 520Nm sound?

  • That engine…

AMG has fiddled with everything from four to twelve cylinders, and this Mercedes-derived 2,996cc straight-six turbo-petrol forms a lovely middle ground in their line-up. It’s extremely responsive, wonderfully powerful and sounds great too! Thanks to mild electrification, it can even be efficient… but we forgot to test that.

  • …and its performance

What we did test was the 0-100km/h time at Windhoek altitudes. The best of two runs took just 5.07 seconds, which isn’t too shabby considering the manufacturer’s claim of 4.5 seconds. 400m whizzed by in just 13.39 seconds while stopping from 100km/h took a simply superb 2.79 seconds and 38.17 metres.

Those are excellent braking values!

  • Handling

Ahh yes, have we mentioned the grip levels yet? In a nutshell, the CLS53 has a highly intelligent and adaptive all-wheel drive system which not only aids traction off the line but also allows you to corner at speeds that make most passengers say their prayers. That’s also thanks to sticky 19-inch tyres fitted here.

  • Ride comfort

Right, this is a matter of personal taste because all testers thought that the vehicle has a fairly pliant ride; especially for a modern performance car. However, if you’re used to old yank tanks or luxo-barges, the ride of this black beast will be rather firm. Happily, there are also multiple drive modes to choose from.

  • The toys

Other things which can be fiddled with endlessly are the media / communication options, vehicle info displays, digital gauge cluster, ventilation settings, as well as various convenience and driver aids. Being a new Mercedes, you also get MBUX, a voice command system that comes with a very chatty tannie in the dashboard.

  • Size and space

The CLS is vaguely related to the medium-sized E-Class sedan, and this also shows in its overall dimensions or passenger and cargo room. Yes, the roof is a bit lower and the cabin feels more cocooned but this is a great size by modern standards. Not too long or flabby, but also generously proportioned.

Oh, and all four doors / side windows are frameless.

  • Safety

Naturally, this Mercedes-AMG product comes with the latest and greatest safety equipment to make any journey as safe as possible. Active driver aids include lane departure warning and collision alert while some of its passive equipment is multiple airbags, adaptive braking systems and pre-/post-crash intervention.

  • That feeling

Yes, this last point is hard to quantify. It’s that feeling you get when you see your favourite food, a stunning sunset, or maybe an attractive person of the opposite sex? We’re here to tell you that the Mercedes-AMG CLS53 is a very talented and jolly exciting vehicle which should easily make your automotive dreams come true.

Just don’t ask about the price…

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