2022 Mercedes-Benz CLS450 4Matic Becomes Only CLS Available, AMG Gone

Matt Posky
by Matt Posky

If you were in the market for a midsized luxury sedan from Europe, you could certainly do worse than the Mercedes-Benz CLS-Class. While it sacrifices a bit of interior volume for the sake of style, it remains an opulent and sedate experience for the driver with just enough performance to keep the office commute from becoming dull. Of course, those seeking enhanced trills could pay AMG to transform the sedan into the 429 horsepower CLS53. But it has been retired for the 2022 model year, along with the base CLS450 with rear-wheel drive.

That just leaves the CLS450 4Matic, which Mercedes has given some new accouterments — perhaps to take the sting out of the company dumping the more interesting trims.

It’s a very safe play while Daimler considers how best to split its commercial truck division from the passenger vehicle business that’s been undergoing massive restructuring efforts over the last couple of years. By keeping the all-wheel-drive variant of the CLS, Mercedes-Benz can reduce the number of special orders without axing the most popular version of the model. But the new attributes being offered seem like consolation prizes.

The 2022 CLS450 comes with a holdover turbocharged, 48-volt mild hybrid (EQ Boost), 3.0-liter inline-six offering 362 hp and 369 lb-ft of torque. The powerplant is allegedly good for 60 mph blasts in roughly 4.6 seconds, which will likely be sufficient in keeping most customers happy and the CLS relatively competitive within the segment. A nine-speed automatic is the only game in town, but you can swap between five distinctive driving modes (Eco, Comfort, Sport, Sport Plus, and Individual) whilst on the go. But the top speed has been limited to 130 mph.

Enhancements are limited to a new bumper and grille design, along with the now-standard AMG Line appearance package. CLS customers now get more black accenting and their choice of 19 or 20-inch wheels of numerous designs. But it’s the widely praised interior where the most changes are being made. Mercedes is now offering more options in terms of upholstery (materials and color) and included a new, three-spoke steering wheel with touch controls.

The collective changes will probably bring up the CLS-Class’ MSRP a bit. But we don’t expect pricing to skyrocket. 4Matic used to cost an extra $2,500 and we figure that will be factored into the new sum. Expect the 2022 CLS450 to start somewhere under $75,000, which feels a little pricey if you’re not an admirer of the model’s handsome exterior.

Those seeking more utility from their luxury vehicles would be better suited to the E-Class, which stickers around $55,000 (for the E350 with the 255-hp, 2.0-liter turbo) and offers oodles more interior space and a much larger trunk. E450 models start right around $62,000 and come with an identical powertrain to the CLS450 4Matic, while the AMG E53 gives the same motor a meatier 429 horsepower for $74,000.

And then we have the $108,000 AMG E63 S Sedan and its 4.0-liter bi-turbo V8 with 603 hp and 627 lb-ft of torque. Absolute legends can spend a few grand extra to get the debatably dreamy wagon variant, too.

We’re sure there are loads of people who will ultimately be happier in the CLS. But the utter lack of choice relating to the model for the 2022 model year is going to make the current E-Class shine a little more brightly for those who aren’t going to want to compromise on the fundamentals for the sake of owning a slightly prettier car. We should start seeing examples of the latter Mercedes surface next year, as the plan is to begin U.S. CLS deliveries early in 2022.

[Images: Mercedes-Benz]

Matt Posky
Matt Posky

A staunch consumer advocate tracking industry trends and regulation. Before joining TTAC, Matt spent a decade working for marketing and research firms based in NYC. Clients included several of the world’s largest automakers, global tire brands, and aftermarket part suppliers. Dissatisfied with the corporate world and resentful of having to wear suits everyday, he pivoted to writing about cars. Since then, that man has become an ardent supporter of the right-to-repair movement, been interviewed on the auto industry by national radio broadcasts, driven more rental cars than anyone ever should, participated in amateur rallying events, and received the requisite minimum training as sanctioned by the SCCA. Handy with a wrench, Matt grew up surrounded by Detroit auto workers and managed to get a pizza delivery job before he was legally eligible. He later found himself driving box trucks through Manhattan, guaranteeing future sympathy for actual truckers. He continues to conduct research pertaining to the automotive sector as an independent contractor and has since moved back to his native Michigan, closer to where the cars are born. A contrarian, Matt claims to prefer understeer — stating that front and all-wheel drive vehicles cater best to his driving style.

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2 of 13 comments
  • KOKing KOKing on Apr 08, 2021

    Slightly awkward styling of the original aside, I've always been a fan of the original 'gran coupe' so it's a little sad to see the CLS getting relegated to one trim only.

  • Davekaybsc Davekaybsc on Apr 08, 2021

    Interesting that MB USA and Audi USA are apparently going in opposite directions. The A6 Allroad and definitely the RS6 are extremely niche products here, but Audi brought them anyway. Meanwhile, the CLS53 is now relegated to the ROW. (Yes it still exists with a 2022 update, just not here. Kinda surprised that wasn't mentioned.)

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