There’s no question that luxury sedan sales are driven by those who want to make a statement with the car that they drive. An even better way to stand out from the crowd is to purchase a vehicle whose styling carves its own unique path – a model like the 2013 Mercedes-Benz CLS-Class. Not quite a sedan and not quite a coupe, this four-door premium automobile cloaks its top-notch German mechanicals in sheet metal that is amongst the most distinctive on the market.

Let’s take a look at 10 things you need to know about the 2013 Mercedes-Benz CLS-Class.

01. The 2013 Mercedes-Benz CLS-Class Is A Four-Door Coupe

The 2013 Mercedes-Benz CLS-Class is an example of a brand’s marketing department successfully re-defining an entire segment of automobiles. The plunging roofline of the Mercedes-Benz CLS-Class is intended to evoke the slippery shape of a two-door coupe while preserving the practicality of a four-door sedan. Stylistically, the effect is a success, as the swooping CLS-Class cuts a dramatic profile when parked alongside more staid sedans. Inside the car there is a price to pay when it comes to rear headroom, as taller riders will definitely feel the pinch where the roof drops down to the car’s trunk.

02. The 2013 Mercedes-Benz CLS-Class Rides On An E-Class Platform

From the outside the 2013 Mercedes-Benz CLS-Class might not look like it has a lot in common with the more conservatively-styled E-Class sedan, but underneath its sleek skin the vehicles share the very same bones and mechanical details. In many ways, this is a good thing for Mercedes-Benz CLS-Class buyers, as the E-Class is consistently one of the highest-rated mid-size luxury four-door automobiles available in the United States. Slipping behind the wheel of the CLS-Class drives the similarities between the cars home, as much of the interior design of the E-Class has been ported over directly to its four-door coupe cousin.

03. The 2013 Mercedes-Benz CLS-Class Offers A Single Power Plant

The 2013 Mercedes-Benz CLS-Class is outfitted exclusively with a V-8 engine. The 4.6-liter unit makes use of a pair of turbochargers on its way to generating a stout 402 horsepower and 443 lb-ft of torque, a number that puts it in good standing with similarly-sized offerings from BMW and Audi. That impressive twist figure is available starting at just 1,800 rpm, which means that the large sedan pulls confidently off of the line without having to mash the throttle to the floor. Fuel mileage for the hefty CLS-Class is listed at 17-mpg in stop and go driving and 25-mpg on the highway.

04. The 2013 Mercedes-Benz CLS-Class Provides A Seven-Speed Automatic

The 2013 Mercedes-Benz CLS-Class features the same automatic transmission that has gradually spread to almost every nook and cranny of the Silver Star lineup. This seven-speed gearbox shares much of the responsibility for upping the Mercedes-Benz CLS-Class’ fuel mileage rating when compared against past iterations of the car, and it also offers a solid balance between comfortable cruising and eye-opening performance. The transmission is controlled via a stalk that sticks out of the right of the coupe’s steering column and features a push-button Park control, freeing up console space for larger cupholders and the vehicle’s COMAND system controller. Manual shift paddles are also on hand in order to directly control the transmission’s gear selections.

05. The 2013 Mercedes-Benz CLS-Class Features Optional All-Wheel Drive

Not everyone who wants to daily drive a four-door luxury coupe like the 2013 Mercedes-Benz CLS-Class has the good fortune to live in an area free from the perils of winter commuting. Recognizing that a powerful rear-wheel drive car isn’t appropriate in all weather conditions, Mercedes-Benz has given the CLS-Class the option of 4MATIC all-wheel drive. The 4MATIC system does its best to preserve the driving dynamics of a rear-wheel drive automobile while simultaneously improving the car’s traction in snow, sleet, and rain. A number of electronic driver’s aides are also on-hand to assist the all-wheel drive feature when the going gets nasty.

06. The 2013 Mercedes-Benz CLS-Class Is Available In A Single Trim Level

The 2013 Mercedes-Benz CLS-Class comes exclusively in the CLS550 trim level. This model provides an extensive list of standard features, including a sunroof, HID headlights, dual automatic climate control, leather seats with power adjustment, Bluetooth connectivity, HD and satellite radio, and a surround sound audio system. Also in the cards with the CLS550 are tilt and telescoping for the steering wheel, the COMAND vehicle interface (which controls the navigation, communications, and entertainment systems via either voice commands or a rotary dial), and a seven-inch LCD screen. An adaptive air suspension system underpins the CLS550, and 18-inch rims are included free of charge.

07. The 2013 Mercedes-Benz CLS-Class Can Be Had With Many Options Packages

As with most Mercedes-Benz vehicles, the 2013 Mercedes-Benz CLS-Class can be upgraded via a startling number of options packages. The Premium 1 package includes a rearview camera, keyless entry and a push button starter, adaptive LED headlights, a power trunk, and heaters and coolers for the front seats. The Parktronic package offers an automatic parking system as well as parking assistance front and rear, while the Driver Assistance package installs adaptive cruise control as well as blind spot and lane departure intervention (available as warning-only features with the Lane Tracking package).

08. The 2013 Mercedes-Benz CLS-Class Delivers AMG Performance

For those who crave an excessive amount of horsepower under the hood of their four-door luxury coupe the 2013 Mercedes-Benz CLS-Class is also available in a special AMG edition. The Mercedes-Benz CLS63 swaps out the smaller V-8 in favor of a 5.5-liter twin-turbo eight-cylinder unit that churns out 518 horsepower and 516 lb-ft of torque in base form. We say ‘base’ because the CLS63 is also available with the AMG Performance Pack, which turns up the turbocharged boost to produce 550 horses and 590 lb-ft of torque, allowing the rear-wheel drive coupe to reach 60-mph in an incredible 3.9 seconds. This is quick enough to surprise many dedicated sports cars sleeping at the stoplight. Opting for the AMG Performance Pack also tightens up the car’s already adaptive suspension system and adds a carbon fiber rear spoiler and a higher top speed to the mix.

09. The 2013 Mercedes-Benz CLS-Class Is A Safe Luxury Car

In addition to the active safety equipment listed above, the 2013 Mercedes-Benz CLS-Class features pelvic and torso side impact airbags up front, knee airbags for the driver and front passenger, dual forward airbags, and side curtain airbags that deploy along the entire length of the interior in order to protect the heads of all riders. An Attention Assist feature that is intended to detect drowsiness is also included free of charge, as are electronic stability control and traction control. The mbrace2 telematics system, which has been enhanced for the current model year, is of course on hand to provide a suite of emergency assistance features.

10. The 2013 Mercedes-Benz CLS-Class Faces Fresh Competition

When it was first introduced in 2004, the 2013 Mercedes-Benz CLS-Class caught the rest of the luxury car world asleep at the switch with no other four-door ‘coupes’ to go up against it in a bid for the dollars of premium shoppers. The situation is quite different for the CLS-Class in 2013, with contenders from BMW (the 6 Series Gran Coupe) and Audi (the A7) vying for the attentions of four-door coupe fans. With a starting MSRP of $72,100, the CLS-Class has a definite price advantage over the BMW (MSRP $77,100) but is significantly more expensive than the $60,100 Audi. Looking at the comparably-powerful Audi S7, however, is much more illuminating, as it costs a heady $79,695.

By Benjamin Hunting