The cosmetic changes don’t make the CLS 500 look stealthy at all

The irony of this aftermarket program getting the nickname “Stealth” isn’t lost on any of us, especially after one look at what M&D Exclusive did to the car. For the record, the car in question is a Mercedes-Benz CLS 500, a model that sits pretty high up there in the Mercedes hierarchy. You would think that a tuner would only build a low-key program for such a model, but that’s not how the minds of the braintrust over there at M&D Exclusive are wired. Instead of just giving the first-gen CLS 500 a nice retouch or two, it went completely in the other direction.

This is the CLS PD550 Black Edition Stealth, and despite what the name suggests, it doesn’t look stealthy at all. I get the whole intention was to create a military-inspired program and there are hints that point to that. But, the combination of the white, black, and orange camouflage body wrap doesn’t really say “stealthy” at all. Then there’s the engine modification. It’s impressive in its own right, but again, the extra horses M&D Exclusive managed to add to the car’s 4.7-liter turbo engine doesn’t inspire discussions of subtlety.

To be clear, this is an impressive program, especially for a car that’s been around for more than 10 years. I just don’t see why it’s called “Stealth” when in truth, it inspires so much attention it’s hard to take your eyes off of it. The program succeeds in that regard and, for what it’s worth, the name isn’t as important as the knick knacks that the tuning firm added to make the CLS 500 look and perform like the modern-day version of itself.

Continue after the jump to read the full review.

  • 2016 Mercedes-Benz CLS 500 PD550 Black Edition Stealth By M&D Exclusive
  • Year:
    2016
  • Make:
  • Model:
  • Engine:
    V8
  • Horsepower @ RPM:
    498
  • Torque @ RPM:
    546
  • Top Speed:
    170 mph
  • car segment:
  • body style:

Exterior

2016 Mercedes-Benz CLS 500 PD550 Black Edition Stealth By M&D Exclusive High Resolution Exterior
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2016 Mercedes-Benz CLS 500 PD550 Black Edition Stealth By M&D Exclusive High Resolution Exterior
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2016 Mercedes-Benz CLS 500 PD550 Black Edition Stealth By M&D Exclusive High Resolution Exterior
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The most obvious happenings can be found in the exterior of the car where M&D Exclusive sought to reinvent the aura of the CLS and give it a more vibrant, if not entirely militaristic appeal. The tuner used a matt white wrap as the base color of the car. From there, angular pieces of matte charcoal and black were added into the body to give it that camouflage-inspired body treatment. These colors already make the CLS look more imposing, but to give it an extra kick in flair, the tuner added bright orange accents throughout the body of the coupe-sedan. The result is eye-catching, to say the least.

A new front bumper with driving lights lifted from the CLS 63 AMG are the cosmetic highlights of the program.

Once the body wraps were done, M&D proceeded to add a PD550 Black Edition body kit to give the CLS a more aggressive look that plays into its new colors. A new front bumper with driving lights lifted from the CLS 63 AMG are the cosmetic highlights of the program. New front wings have also added in addition to the new side skirts, bottled spoiler, rear bumper, and air intakes that have been added into the hood.

The final element of the exterior modification on the CLS 500 is the new set of wheels that M&D Exclusive is offering. Instead of the stock wheels, the tuner is offering a set of its own Rennen Forged RL17 forged alloy wheels.

Interior

As striking as the exterior of the CLS 500 looks, I’m afraid that the opposite holds true for the interior. Based on the tuner’s release, no modifications were given to the cabin, which means that it’s going to be as stock as the nights are long in the wintertime.

Drivetrain

2016 Mercedes-Benz CLS 500 PD550 Black Edition Stealth By M&D Exclusive High Resolution Exterior
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The engine modification is pretty straightforward, or at least more so than what other tuners are capable of. Don’t expect to see a smorgasbord of new parts and components that have been added into the configuration of the Merc’s V-8 engine. According to the tuner, all it did was a simple ECU tuning that resulted in the engine putting out an impressive 498 horsepower and a 546 pound-feet of torque. That’s an impressive increase of 90 ponies and 104 pound-feet of torque from the turbo-packing V-8’s standard output. No performance specs were detailed by M&D Exclusive, but it did say that as part of the ECU remapping, the CLS 500’s speed limiter was taken out entirely. That means that the coupe-sedan’s top speed could realistically hit at least 170 mph.

Safety

2016 Mercedes-Benz CLS 500 PD550 Black Edition Stealth By M&D Exclusive High Resolution Exterior
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To go with the new Prior Design-sourced body kit and the ECU remap of the engine, M&D also installed its very own Airmatic suspension electronic lowering module to help give the CLS 500 a lower stance and just as important, to accommodate all the aerodynamic and performance modifications

Price

M&D Exclusive didn’t roll out the price tag for this program, although it did say that the model in the photos is for sale. Those interested in procuring it are advised to contact the tuner directly. The same applies to those who already have a CLS 500 (C219) and are just looking to give it a modern-day makeover.

Competition

BMW 650i By M&D Exclusive

2015 BMW 650i By M&D Exclusive High Resolution Exterior
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The Mercedes CLS 500 is the equivalent of BMW’s 650i. You could say the same thing in reverse and it still would come to the same conclusion. So, since we’re dealing with the former here, why not line it up against the latter? This program for the BMW 650i was presented in November 2015 by M&D Exclusive. Yup. The same M&D Exclusive that’s responsible for the CLS 500 kit.

Coincidence notwithstanding, the PD6XX GT3, as the 650i program is called, carries a lot of similarities with its Merc rival. It’s got a bespoke wide-body aerodynamic kit that gives it shades of the physical attributes of the mighty M6. It also has a lot of liveries resembling those found in the M6 GT3. Most importantly, it has an impressive performance update that has gotten lost in the detailed and expressive physical transformation of the 650i.

I can rattle on about the cosmetic upgrades, but I’ll leave that to the photos. What’s important to know is the performance upgrade given to the car. Not surprisingly, the updates on the 650i’s 4.4-liter twin-turbo V-8 engine is limited to just a simple ECU software remap. But, the remap works because M&D managed to squeeze out 495 horsepower and 533 pound-feet of torque out of the V-8. Those are right in line with what it got out of the CLS 500.

Given the fact that both cars look like road warriors and have a similar ECU remap under their respective bellies, it does feel like a race between the two should be in order.

Read our full review here.

Alpina B6 Bi-Turbo Edition 50

2016 Alpina B6 Bi-Turbo Edition 50 High Resolution Exterior
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If you’re looking for a competitor that’s a bit more modern, the Alpina B6 Bi-Turbo Edition 50 can definitely give the M&D Exclusive-tuned CLS 500 a run for its money. Introduced at the 2015 Geneva Motor Show, the B6 Bi-Turbo Edition 50 was a celebratory project undertaken by Alpina to commemorate its long history of hotrod Bimmers. The tuner only built 50 units of the model and, at this point, it’s highly unlikely that there’s still some pieces unaccounted for.

Cosmetically, it’s not as aggressive-looking as the M&D Exclusive’s CLS 500. Actually, it’s not aggressive at all because Alpina opted to give it a more subdued upgrade through color options like Black Sapphire, Mineral White, Individual Sepia, Alpina Blue, or Alpina Green. The interior of the car is dressed up, something you can’t say for the CLS 500.

But, what really sets the B6 Bi-Turbo Edition 50 apart is the lengths by which Alpina took to give it a comprehensive engine upgrade. Without jumping into detail, the noted BMW tuner was able to increase the output of the car’s 4.4-liter twin-turbo engine from the standard 445 horsepower and 479 pound-feet of torque to 600 horsepower and 590 pound-feet of torque. That’s enough power to run circles around the CLS 500.

Performance numbers also jumped to supercar-like levels. For instance, the car is capable of sprinting from 0 to 60 mph in just 4.2 seconds, 0.2 seconds quicker than in standard configuration. Its top speed also reaches 203 mph, unabashedly faster than the standard model’s electronically limited top speed of 155 mph.

Read our full review here.

Conclusion

2016 Mercedes-Benz CLS 500 PD550 Black Edition Stealth By M&D Exclusive High Resolution Exterior
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As impressive as this program is, I’ll admit to not being a fan of this one in large part because of what I believe is an over-the-top cosmetic upgrade on the car. Now I’ll confess to being on board with M&D Exclusive’s program for the 650i back in November 2015, but that one actually tried to replicate the look of something that already exists: the M6 GT3.

This one, I feel, only cheapens the status of the CLS 500. If the camo print were a little more subdued, then I would’ve been on board with it. The current configuration just feels like it’s a little over-the-top for my liking. Great work on the engine upgrade though. I always thought that Mercedes shortchanged the CLS in that department. It’s nice to see the sedan have the kind of power I wanted it to have in the first place.

  • Leave it
    • * Wraps feel a little over the top
    • * No interior updates
    • * Availability and access could be issues
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