- The seats have heated and cooled massages and they're almost infinitely adjustable.
- We tested the active bolstering feature that automatically squeezes the driver through turns and hard corning to hold them in an upright position.
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Following is a transcript of the video.
Matt: DeBord: All righty. Gonna get through a corner here. They perfectly calibrated this feature. It's somewhere between a firm cuddle, and a deliberate squeeze.
The active seat bolstering, the dynamic seat bolstering, is kind of addictive. It sounds like it might be silly, but it's not. It's just the kind of thing to keep your attention focused on the act of driving.
Today, we're testing out Mercedes' newest AMG, the CLS 53.
I'm Matt DeBord. I get behind the wheel of the hottest cars and test them in real-world scenarios. Today, I'm testing the high-tech seats in the Mercedes-AMG CLS 53, and, along the way, I'll give a full review of the car. This is Real Reviews from Cars Insider.
Mercedes has been making and improving its multicontour seats for a while now. They're heated and cooled, and they're almost infinitely adjustable. But the most interesting feature is the active bolstering. The bolsters on the left and right side of the seat inflate when the wheel is turned to hold the driver and passenger in place around tight turns and through hard cornering. That means if you have to swerve or avoid an obstacle in the CLS 53 at the last minute, the seats will hold you firmly in an upright position. I'm gonna go try this out on some windy roads now to see how it works in real life. Let's get to it.
All righty. Gonna get through a corner here. We can have a little bit of fun with this active seat bolstering, dynamic seat bolstering. Right here would be good. Argh, coming into the corner, second gear, little squeeze to the right. And just wiggling back and forth will activate it. So, any lateral g-force makes the dynamic seat bolstering do its thing. It's somewhere between a firm cuddle and a deliberate squeeze. I'm sort of wondering if the AMG engineers really sat in the car and worked out how much dynamic-bolstering squeezing to have in the process. I mean, I've got it on two. So it's, I'm really feeling it. If it bothers you, you can put it on one for a little less of a squeeze, but seems to me like if you're gonna get squeezed, you might as well really get squeezed. They perfectly calibrated this feature. I can only imagine what this is like on a racetrack when you're really going fast and you're slamming on the brakes and you're hooking around curves. I mean, it must be extremely cool. Oh, here it is again.
But the seat isn't the only impressive feature in the interior. The cabin is very, very premium. Mercedes has the best interiors among the luxury brands that aren't in the Bentley, Aston Martin realm. They can be kind of blingy, but in the best possible way. I warmed up to the seat-massage options, and I really liked the presets that combined massage, lighting, and music. Speaking of ambient lighting, while it might seem over the top, I appreciated the show at night. If you're a tall person, the coup roofline makes for a lack of rear headroom, but it's not impossible for the AMG CLS 53 to serve as a high-performance limo. In the end, this car's interior nails a sweet spot between luxury and sportiness.
That is second gear. Throw it in the corner. Dynamic bolstering holds you even at slow speeds. So, you know, obviously very useful at high speed, but at slow speeds like this, it's also quite reassuring. You know, another thing too is it relaxes your driving, the dynamic seat bolstering. It relaxes your driving because a lot of times, even if you have well-bolstered seats and you're coming in to attack a corner, you stiffen up and you brace for the corner. But if you know the seat's gonna hold you, it's almost like having, I don't know, a spotter if you're lifting weights or something like that. You're gonna have a good time with your dynamic seat bolstering, and you're shifting gears from second to third just toggling, basically toggling back and forth. The dynamic seat bolstering is a really cool feature, and I'm glad AMG included it because it's something that those customers are really interested in. They're the ones that are gonna thrash the car around. But I'm glad you can switch it off, too. Because, you know, you don't want to be squeezing yourself every single time you go through a corner, and you don't want to be squeezing your passengers, either. I have to say, I really like it. It's a nifty feature, and it's quite useful if you have any aspirations to driving your Mercedes-AMG CLS 53 in a performance-oriented way.
Moving on to the infotainment system, Mercedes calls theirs MBUX. On all new Mercedes, it's part of a screen that fills half the dashboard. I found it to be pretty spectacular as far as looks go, but it's a bit difficult to use. It has a selector knob, which I tended to use, and a track pad that's almost unusable. The system itself is filled with submenus inside of submenus. I found the whole thing to be overwhelming. This system really benefits an owner who wants to go deep into all the decision trees and options to set up their vehicle exactly the way they want. But in the end, it's a little difficult to use.
OK, so, I've been driving around in the Mercedes-AMG CLS 53 for a couple of days now, and I am impressed. I expected to be; my recent experience with Mercedes has been exceptional, but this car takes it to a whole new level. It's loaded with luxury. It's crammed with technology. But, you know, the car is more than that. It's a freeway cruiser, perfectly capable freeway cruiser that can go to being a ferocious sports sedan at the flick of a switch. That's not easy. This is a big car that feels like a big car. But it can also handle like a small car when it needs to. I mean, zero to 60 in 4 1/2 seconds, for a car that weighs 2 tons? Come on. What a brilliant machine.
At the end of the day, the Mercedes-AMG CLS 53 is a luxury sedan for customers who expect exceptional comfort and bonkers performance. Mercedes is doing a great job with all of its vehicles right now. But the CLS 53 really stands out. I wasn't really prepared to like the dynamic bolstering in the seating until I actually got to drive the car around for a little while, and now I think it's one of the coolest features I've tested all year on a vehicle. The infotainment system looks absolutely gorgeous, but it's a little bit fiddly and kind of hard to use. Performance, on the other hand, is picked up noticeably by the EQ Boost feature, which adds 21 horsepower to an already impressive 430-horsepower engine. Quite frankly, for $112,000, the AMG CLS 53 is one of the best luxury sports sedans money can buy.