The best of both worlds

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SummaryThose who have faced it will know that the toss between a luxury sedan and the tantalisingly curvaceous body of a coupé can be rather rattling.

Those who have faced it will know that the toss between a luxury sedan and the tantalisingly curvaceous body of a coupé can be rather rattling. Both make sense—a coupé is perfect for that drive down to the club, but the sedan is just the right fit for that family trip.

It’s the trade-off that seems to have struck Mercedes-Benz’s senses only too well. The stylish CLS 350 BlueEfficiency aims to fill the void right between the two—the promise of space and practicality in a four-door sedan and the panache of a coupé.

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 star’s E-class executive sedan. It targets those who loved the lines of the E-Class coupé, but also wanted those two extra doors and a bit more flair. But mind you, the CLS can only fit four and not five—there 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 car—a 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 power—that’s 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 one’s 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,

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