With worrying rumors about the CLS getting the proverbial axe in the United States, we shouldn’t be surprised the 2022MY lineup has been simplified. Gone are the rear-wheel-drive CLS 450 base model and the AMG CLS 53 flagship, leaving the CLS 450 4Matic as the sole version of the E-Class’ sleeker cousin.
It’s a different situation in Europe where the updated CLS soldiers on with the performance derivative. Not only that, but the AMG variant gets a Limited Edition capped at 300 examples. Buyers get to pick from either selenite grey magno or cashmere white magno paint jobs, with body stripes above the side sills. The fancy version sits on 20-inch AMG wheels with a twin-spoke design and a high-sheen rim flange.
Go for the Limited Edition and Mercedes will throw in the Night Package and Night Package II as standard equipment. These bring an assortment of black design details along with dark-tinted glass to give the CLS 53 a classier look. The AMG Dynamic Plus Package is also included, adding red brake calipers, and a Race driving mode with a Drift option. Open the front doors and LEDs will project the AMG logo onto the floor.
Once you’re inside, there’s a sportier steering wheel clad in Nappa leather along with two-tone leather upholstery and a carbon fiber trim. Rounding off the changes are AMG-branded steering wheel buttons and red contrasting stitching.
The discreet facelift applied to the CLS is not bringing any changes underneath the hood of the “53” model, which continues to offer 429 horsepower (320 kilowatts) and 384 pound-feet (520 Newton-meters) of torque. The integrated starter-generator (ISG) adds a temporary boost of 21 hp (16 kW) of power and 184 lb-ft (250 Nm).
The mild-hybrid CLS 53 is not quite the full-fat “63” model that had to die so that the AMG GT 4-Door Coupe could live, but it’s no slouch either. It needs only four and a half seconds to reach 62 mph (100 km/h) from a standstill and will top out at an electronically governed 155 mph (250 km/h). When equipped with the optional AMG Driver’s Package, the maximum velocity increases to 168 mph (270 km/h).
Mercedes will have the lightly updated CLS on sale in Europe this month whereas its American cousin is slated to arrive early next year.