2021 Mercedes-Benz AMG CLS 53

MSRP $81,550

Ranked #20 in Midsize Sedan

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2021 Mercedes-Benz AMG CLS 53 Price, Review, Ratings and Pictures

Updated on: October 6, 2021

Nathan Dyer's image
Nathan Dyer 

Senior Editor


What exactly is the Mercedes-Benz AMG CLS 53? Is it a sedan or is it a coupe? For once, let’s just follow Mercedes’ terminology and call it a 4-door coupe like they do. But then what’s the point of this one? Isn’t a 4-door coupe essentially a sedan? Well, yes it is but a 4-door coupe is a little more stylish and striking than the regular, 3-box sedan. The 2021 AMG CLS 53 has a comfy interior, charming exterior, and more importantly, it is packed with features. 

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Pros

Brilliant driving dynamics

Striking exterior design

Luxurious cabin 

Cons

Low cargo carrying capacity

Scant rear headroom and legroom 

What's New?

New infotainment unit

Standard surround-view camera system and power rear sunshade


Features

vehicle bio

base price

$81550

bodystyle

dr Sedan

warranty

roadside assistance

No


Pictures & Videos


Trims

Base$81,550 onwards

Colors and Styles

2021 Mercedes-Benz AMG CLS 53 in designo Cardinal Red Metallic color
designo Cardinal Red Metallic

Vehicle images are guides only and may not reflect the model's exact specifications/features– exact specifications/features should be confirmed with the seller.

Expert Review, Pricing Analysis and Buying Guide


Sharing its platform with the E-Class and belonging to the third CLS generation introduced for 2019, the 2021 AMG CLS 53 more or less can be deemed as a better-looking E-Class. However, the major difference between their performance spec variants is that the CLS 53 is positioned and marketed as a daily drivable performance 4-door coupe. Now with all that being said, done and dusted, the Mercedes-Benz AMG CLS 53 is fighting against the Audi S7, BMW 8-Series, and the Maserati Ghibli

2021 Mercedes-Benz AMG CLS 53 Features

There’s just one Mercedes-Benz AMG CLS 53 trim on offer and it is priced at $82600. It comes with standard features such as 12-way power seats, 19-inch wheels, LED exterior lighting, blind-spot monitoring, 12.3-inch touchscreen, power trunk, backup camera, keyless entry, adaptive sport suspensions, Power-folding side mirrors, power tilt, and telescopic steering wheel, illuminated entry system, brushed stainless steel pedals, Crosswind Assist, seven airbags, and parking damage detector. 

In the list of optional features, tri-zone automatic climate control, front ventilated seats, Nappa leather upholstery, emergency stop assist, air suspension, dashcam, brake assist with cross-traffic function, and soft-close doors are given. The Exterior Lighting Package ($900) adds an LED Intelligent Light System with Ultra Wide Highbeams and Adaptive Highbeam Assist. Also for just $350, you can avail the Air Balance cabin’s fragrance and purification system. 

Model

AMG CLS 53

MSRP (AWD)

$82,600

Key Features

19-inch AMG twin 5-spoke wheels

 

Tilt and sliding glass sunroof

 

LED headlights and taillights 

 

Dual-zone automatic climate control 

 

AMG sport Nappa leather-wrapped steering wheel

 

MB-Tex/DINAMICA upholstery

 

Heated front seats 

 

The 12.3-inch touchscreen infotainment system

 

13 speaker Burmester surround sound system

 

Rear cross-traffic alert

 

Forward collision mitigation

 

Apple CarPlay and Android Auto

 

Wireless charging 

Which trim should you buy?

The AMG CLS 53 is offered in just one trim level. But there are not only ample standard features but optional ones as well. There are multiple exterior paint options, a number of leather and wood trims, and plenty of safety features waiting for you to pick them. Therefore, you can select the features of your choice but the checkout price will rocket as well. 

2021 Mercedes-Benz AMG CLS 53 Engine and Performance

The AMG badge might make you think that this one comes equipped with a mighty V8 unit but no, this is an AMG CLS 53. And the number 53 means that this 4-door coupe-styled sedan gets a mid-spec engine of the AMG engine lineup. The 2021 Mercedes-AMG CLS 53 is powered by a 3-liter turbocharged inline-6 engine along with the Mercedes’ 48-volt EQ Boost starter/generator motor, and the turbocharger of the engine gets an auxiliary electric compressor to cut the boost lag. The rather complex-looking power plant is mated to a 9-speed torque converter automatic gearbox and power is sent to all four wheels. The powertrain churns out a solid 429 horsepower and 384 lb-ft of torque. 

The AMG CLS 53 shoots itself instantly as you step on the gas and you can feel the sudden surge in torque every time you shift down and flirt with the throttle. The power unit is free-revving and likes to be revved hard. The 9-speed transmission is pretty slick and has impeccable shifts. It reacts to your torque and power demands instantaneously and the car does not feel like it’s running out of breath. Mercedes has given an AMG Sport exhaust system but the exhaust grump is not the loudest, not quite like the ‘proper AMGs’ but yes it has got a good grunt and people will certainly notice the sound as you drive by.

Models

2021 Mercedes-Benz AMG CLS 53

2021 Audi S7 TFSI Quattro Premium Plus

2021 Maserati Ghibli S Q4

2021 BMW 840i xDrive Gran Coupe

MSRP

$82,600

$84,600

$81,185

$87,900

Engine

3.0L inline-6 turbo with EQ Boost 

2.9-liter twin-turbo, V6 

3-liter twin-turbo V6

3-liter twin-turbo V6

Drivetrain

AWD

AWD

AWD

AWD

Transmission

9-speed automatic

8-speed automatic

8-speed automatic

8-speed automatic

Power (hp @ rpm)

429 @ 6100

444 @ NA

424 @ 5750

335 @ 5000

Torque (lb-ft @ rpm)

384 @ 1800

443 @ NA

428 @ 2250

368 @ 1600

0-60 MPH (seconds)

4.3

4.5

4.9

4.7

Quarter mile (seconds)

12.5

12.5

12.9

13.3

Top speed (MPH)

155

155

178

155

The BMW 840i xDrive has the lowest power numbers in the competition but it is not the slowest one since that loser crown is worn by the Maserati Ghibli. Meanwhile, the Audi has the highest engine output and crosses the 60 mph mark from a standstill in 4.5 seconds. Furthermore, the AMG CLS 53 isn’t the most powerful but it is the fastest car among the bunch and posts a similar quarter-mile time as the Audi S7. 

How well does the 2021 Mercedes-AMG CLS 53 handle?

The most impressive part about the AMG CLS 53 is the way it drives and handles. The driving dynamics of the car are exquisite and it is a fun-to-drive machine despite its size. You can flick around the turns and push it hard along the straights and it will do it without thinking for a moment. The power delivery is linear although, when the EQ Boost kicks, you get those gentle head nods and feel the power gushing out from the car to the road.

The ride is balanced and the car feels planted most of the time. The adaptive air suspension offers a plush ride on most surfaces but on bad roads, the suspensions fail to soak up bumps and on such roads, you’ll find the ride to be a little harsh. The steering feels very precise and there’s ample feedback and at no point does the wheel feel vague. The chassis is also pretty agile and there’s minimal roll and manages to stay firm even at high speeds. Overall, the mechanicals of the car has been tweaked to offer an enthralling driving experience and it sure does deliver.

2021 Mercedes-Benz AMG CLS 53 Braking Performance

The brakes of the AMG CLS 53 do not quite impress us and we'd have liked them if they had a stronger bite on them. The AMG performance braking system kind of feels a bit slow to react to pedal inputs and you need to step on the pedal hard when you have to brake aggressively. The car stops at a distance of 115 feet when the brakes are hit at 60 mph. The performance may seem decent but given the fact that this is a sports coupe-styled sedan, it should’ve performed better.

Models

2021 Mercedes-AMG CLS 53

2021 Audi S7 TFSI Quattro Premium Plus

2021 Maserati Ghibli S Q4

2021 BMW 840i xDrive Gran Coupe

Brake rotors: Front (inches)

14.6

15.8

14.2

NA

Brake rotors: Rear (inches)

14.2

13.8

13.8

NA

Curb weight (lbs)

4456

4597

4264

4381

60-0 MPH (feet)

115

109

115

NA

The Audi S7 has the best brakes and halts at a distance of 109 feet from 60 mph. The Maserati Ghibli comes with the smallest front brake rotors but it has the same size rear rotors as the Audi S7. That said, the heaviest sedan in the competition is from Audi whereas the lightest one is from the Maserati which has the nearly same braking distance as the AMG CLS 53.

2021 Mercedes-Benz AMG CLS 53 Fuel Economy

When buying a car in this segment, fuel economy is not something you should be looking at. Yet, we have the numbers for you, just so you know what car sips the lowest and the highest amount of gas. The AMG CLS 53 travels for about 26 miles on a single gallon on the highway while it travels for up to about 21 miles in the city. The same gets a combined fuel economy rating of 23 MPG from the EPA which is decent for a vehicle in this segment.

Models

2021 Mercedes-Benz AMG CLS 53

2021 Audi S7 TFSI Quattro Premium Plus

2021 Maserati Ghibli S Q4

2021 BMW 840i xDrive Gran Coupe

MPG (City)

21

18

16

20

MPG (Highway)

26

28

24

27

MPG (Combined)

23

22

19

23

Fuel Capacity (Gallons)

21.1

19.3

21.1

18.0

Range (City/Highway/Combined in miles)

443/549/485

347/540/425

338/506/401

360/486/414

The AMG CLS 53 along with the BMW has the best fuel economy numbers in the competition. The Maserati Ghibli on the other hand has the lowest numbers. The Audi trails close to the Mercedes and delivers 22 MPG combined. Furthermore, the biggest fuel storage capacity is offered on the CLS 53 and the Ghibli whereas the least given on the 8 Series from the BMW. 

2021 Mercedes-Benz AMG CLS 53 Interior

The cabin of the 2021 Mercedes-AMG CLS 53 is simply plush and graceful. In the front row, there’s a high dashboard wrapped leather and trimmed in piano black. The turbine-style air-con vents uplift the athletic appeal of the AMG CLS 53. And there’s also a cascading console that flows down nicely between the front passenger and driver seats. Not to forget the large single screen that’s split to form the instrument cluster and infotainment display is an infamous Mercedes digital cockpit. Mercedes also offers you a variety of materials, colors, and trim options to choose from and you can have the interior styled as per your choice.

You get 12-way power sporty bucket seats with 4-way power lumbar support and memory setting. The seats are covered in Tex/DINAMICA upholstery, the steering wheel is also covered in leather, and above your head DINAMICA simulated suede headliner is present. As for the standard cabin amenities, power tilt and telescopic steering wheel, auto-dimming rearview mirror, two 12V outlets, dual-zone automatic climate control, Homelink garage door opener, keyless entry, and ignition, 64-color LED ambient lighting, and remote start is included. With the Warmth & Comfort Package ($1,050) you can also enjoy the heating feature for front seats, heated steering wheel, and heated front armrests. 

Models

2021 Mercedes-Benz AMG CLS 53

2021 Audi S7 TFSI Quattro Premium Plus

2021 Maserati Ghibli S Q4

2021 BMW 840i xDrive Gran Coupe

Seating capacity

5

5

5

5

Front row (Headroom/Shoulder room/ Legroom in inches)

36.9/57.8/41.9

37.0/57.2/41.3

38.8/57.8/37.7

39.1/57.2/42.1

Second row (Headroom/Shoulder room/ Legroom in inches)

35.9/56.5/35.0

37.1/55.9/37.0

38.8/56.5/33.2

37.0/54.6/36.6

Trunk capacity (cubic feet)

11.9

24.6

17.7

15.5

All the cars in the competition offer a passenger capacity of five and the quality of materials is pretty similar in all the three German sedans but the Maserati just feels a touch less premium. As for the interior space, the BMW has the most spacious cabin but the Maserati is the one that has leading rear row head and shoulder room. In terms of cargo storage, the Mercedes has the smallest trunk while the Audi has the largest in the competition. Key interior features in the 2021 Mercedes-Benz AMG CLS 53 are:

  • Heated front seats
  • AMG Sport Nappa leather-wrapped steering wheel
  • Dual-zone automatic climate control
  • MB-Tex/DINAMICA upholstery
  • LED ambient lighting
  • Homelink garage door opener 
  • Power rear-window sunshade
  • 40/20/40-split folding rear seats

What’s there to keep you entertained?

The 2021 AMG CLS 53 comes with Mercedes’ latest MBUX infotainment system. The system gets you a large 12.3-inch touchscreen infotainment display that sits in the center of the dash. The system is pretty slick and intuitive to use and can also be accessed and navigated using a trackpad that sits in the center console. It also gets a 13-speaker Burmester surround-system as standard which can be upgraded to a 23-speaker Burmester system. As for the other standard features Apple CarPlay, Android Auto, SiriusXM, HD radio, USB-C ports, wireless charging, and Bluetooth are given. In the list of new additions for 2021, a 12.3-inch instrument cluster display is also included. Key infotainment features are:

  • 12.3-inch touchscreen
  • Navigation system 
  • 590-watt, 13-speaker Burmester surround sound system
  • Voice activation
  • Apple CarPlay and Android Auto
  • Wireless charging
  • SiriusXM satellite radio 

2021 Mercedes-Benz AMG CLS 53 Exterior

There have been polarising opinions about the CLS’ looks after it was revamped back in 2018. It looks quite similar to the smaller A-Class Limousine and that’s a big bummer. Despite that, the AMG CLS 53 is a very striking design otherwise and with its styling cues, it indeed does attract a lot of attention. That said, the 2021 Mercedes-Benz AMG CLS 53 has a very aggressive face. It has a large trapezoidal grille with the Mercedes logo in the center along with an AMG badge. The swept-back headlights further make it look bold and menacing with the LED daytime running lights on. Elements like the sculpted bumper and the front lip spoiler further add a sporty touch to the car’s appearance. 

It has a nice long hood and the cabin section has a sporty swept-back shape. The AMG CLS 53 has a sloping roofline that makes it like a coupe and thus Mercedes markets this as a 4-door coupe but it is in reality, a four-door sedan. The sloping section of the roof merges nicely into the rear profile. At the back, there are split, tear-drop-shaped LED taillights accompanied by a sculpted bumper and a set of quad exhaust pipes. So, are the looks enough to attract buyers? Our answer to that is yes! We’d be sold for the way the AMG CLS 53 looks. That said, it has LED exterior lighting, and 19-inch AMG twin 5-spoke alloy wheels with black accents are standard which can be replaced with the optional 20-inch alloy wheels. Also, for a darker theme, more jet-black accents, and a deep gloss black finish on some exterior elements, AMG Night Package is available. 

Models

2021 Mercedes-AMG CLS 53 4MATIC+

2021 Audi S7 TFSI Quattro Premium Plus

2021 Maserati Ghibli S Q4

2021 BMW 840i xDrive Gran Coupe

Curb weight (lbs)

4456

4597

4265

4381

Length (inches)

199.1

195.6

195.7

200.2

Width (inches)

74.6

75.1

76.5

76.1

Height (inches)

56.0

56.0

57.5

55.2

Ground clearance (inches)

3.7

4.2

4.5

4.8

Wheelbase (inches)

115.7

115.2

118.0

119.0

Well, all the sedans in the segment look rad and there’s not one that can be declared as the best looking since exterior looks are subjective. That said, the Audi S7 is the smallest sedan in the group. The BMW 8 Series has the leading length and wheelbase whereas the Maserati Ghibli is the tallest and widest one in the bunch. Key exterior features are:

  • 19-inch 5-spoke alloy wheels
  • Power tilt and sliding tinted glass sunroof
  • Lip spoiler
  • Power trunk
  • LED headlights and taillights 
  • Chrome grille
  • Quad-exhaust tips 
  • Power folding heated side mirrors 
  • The heated windscreen washer system

2021 Mercedes-Benz AMG CLS 53 Safety

The 2021 Mercedes-Benz AMG CLS 53 hasn’t been tested by the NHTSA and the IIHS. However, the CLS shares its platform with the E-Class and the E-Class gets impressive safety scores. The E-Class sedan is the IIHS’ ‘2021 TOP SAFETY PICK+’ and also gets the highest 5-star overall safety ratings from the NHTSA. Thus, we’re quite confident that the CLS will score well in the crash test. 

That aside, the 2021 CLS 53 comes with standard safety features such as a surround-view camera system, blind-spot monitoring, Car-to-X communication, rear-cross traffic alert, Active Parking Assist, attention assist, Forward collision mitigation, Pre-Safe, and Pre-Safe Sound. But for $1,1950, the Driver Assistance Package will offer adaptive cruise control, lane-keeping assist, lane-change assist, steering assist, and more. Key safety features are:

  • Active parking assist
  • Blindspot monitoring 
  • Active brake assist
  • Forward collision mitigation
  • Driver attention monitor
  • 360-degree surround-view camera
  • Rear-cross traffic alert 

2021 Mercedes-Benz AMG CLS 53 Competition

Mercedes-Benz AMG CLS 53 vs Audi S7

The Audi S7 is slightly pricier than the Mercedes-Benz AMG CLS 53 but it also makes a slightly more powerful engine. Although it doesn’t directly translate into better performance. On the flip side, the Mercedes is the biggest one in terms of size but the Audi offers a better luggage storage capacity than the Mercedes. In terms of interior design, both of them are equally luxurious and opulent. Both the cars offer equally good performance and drive well.

Mercedes-AMG CLS 53 vs Maserati Ghibli S

The Maserati Ghibli has bolted down some good aspects which are better than the AMG CLS 53 such as cabin space and trunk size but it isn’t enough to give CLS 53 a grand slam since Mercedes-Benz has left no effort to fill the CLS 53 with features and has made it more fuel-efficient. In terms of performance as well, the AMG CLS 53 has the upper hand. 

Mercedes-AMG CLS 53 vs BMW 840i Gran Coupe

The BMW 840i xDrive is priced higher than the AMG CLS 53 and has an inferior engine if the net output is considered. Plus, it is slower than the AMG CLS 5, and cargo space is perhaps the only area where it outperforms the Mercedes. So, we would pick the AMG CLS 53 over the Bimmer if we ever had to choose between the two since the former is also more fuel-efficient. 

2021 Mercedes-Benz AMG CLS 53 Final Verdict

The new Mercedes-Benz AMG CLS 53 delivers a class-leading range. Furthermore, the power and performance are just balanced perfectly and you can drive this on sedate city roads and also smoke the tracks. Long story short, if you’re looking for a sports car at around this price point, the AMG CLS 53 should indeed be on top of your list.