Mercedes-Benz launched the original CLS in 2004 dropping jaws and universal acclaim. To understand why it had that kind of impact, you just have to look at the rest of the range from the Three-Pointed Star at that time: dour saloons, subscribing to the conventional three-box design and the podgy little A-Class “city car” that left existing Mercedes owners baffled. The CLS is the most beautiful saloon Mercedes has ever made. In performance-orientated AMG guise, with gills in the front fenders, ground-effect front spoiler, single-blade grille and those air-shredding five-spoke wheels, it appears hunkered down, coiled and ready to pounce. Comfy chairs, less angular dashboard. Despite the endless blackness, the Alcantara trim on the roof, pillars, and that sporty, chunky steering wheel, plus the fine upholstery, and the jewellery-like silver trim and switchgear, all contrive to make this a very inviting and endearing cabin to live in. With side bolsters on the seat that gently caress you as you corner, and a pulse/massage function. Things get even more satisfying as you hit the big starter button and the new 5.5-litre V8 barks, woofles and then settles to a deep rumble. Floor the loud pedal and you’ll find there was never a truer description as a stentorian staccato-accompanied thrum instantly responds, stirring the soul and unleashing demonic forces that propel this beast to 100kph in just 4.4 seconds.