The best of both worlds

Written by Roudra Bhattacharya | Updated: Nov 3 2012, 08:29am hrs
Those who have faced it will know that the toss between a luxury sedan and the tantalisingly curvaceous body of a coup can be rather rattling. Both make sensea coup is perfect for that drive down to the club, but the sedan is just the right fit for that family trip.

Its the trade-off that seems to have struck Mercedes-Benzs senses only too well. The stylish CLS 350 BlueEfficiency aims to fill the void right between the twothe promise of space and practicality in a four-door sedan and the panache of a coup.

To begin with, if one were to go by the first look of the car we drove recently, the four-door practicality seems to have that perfect match with flawless design. But is it all so perfect in automotive heaven

In its second generation now, the CLS is essentially based on the three-pointed stars E-class executive sedan. It targets those who loved the lines of the E-Class coup, but also wanted those two extra doors and a bit more flair. But mind you, the CLS can only fit four and not fivethere is a divide running between the back seat that has audio controls and space to pack-in small tidbits.

Even though the CLS fits well with a small family, it remains a fun cara push on the accelerator will do enough to remind you of the power you command under your feet. The 3,498cc V6 petrol heart puts out 306bhp@3,500-5,250rpm of powerthats equal to three and a half Maruti Swifts packed tightly together under the bonnet.

On the highway, handling is firm and the car sticks to the tarmac as the CLS rapidly heads towards its top speed of 250 kmph. With a 0-100 kmph run in 6.1 seconds, it is quite a rocket. However, the challenge comes when you drive it in tight crowded cities with pot-holed roads. The low ride height (can be lifted electronically) and stiff suspension lets all the harshness and undulations of the road travel through to the otherwise eerily peaceful cabin.

Also, some odd bits stick out in this sports sedan, if one may call it so. The low ground clearance and the glass in the frameless windows have an odd habit of pairing up to poke a hard jab at ones rib when the door is opened. Then I have an issue with the interior. Yes, the ambient lighting inside does try to liven up things, but if the exterior is so dangerously flirtatious with abundant LEDs, why do the interiors in general feel as if its all suited up for a corporate board meeting The guys at Stuttgart could have loosened up a little and gone that extra mile to make the interiors look different than, say, a staid E-Class.

And why is it a four-seater, with that divider running up the back Was that a quick fix to ensure one carries less passengers, and hence the weight is kept down in order to drive faster

Priced at Rs 83 lakh (ex-showroom, Delhi), the CLS 350 is surely not for every enthusiast. Ideally, the perfect customer would be a youthful, family man rising fast up the ladder, who wants to have some fun too. He can now buy that beautiful car he always had his eyes on without getting a scolding from his lady for the indulgence.