Not sure which side of the line I am on. I have managed the 12 inches of snow and ice here in Indianapolis last couple of days driving my CLS550 back and forth to work with the 18" AMG wheels with Conti Sport 2 tires. I have been more than impressed with how well the CLS has handled the conditions.
Actually the hardest part has been getting out of the parking lot at work come the end of the day. The adjustable ride height Airmatic has been a saving grace as most driveway entrances have turned into mountains of plowed snow and slush. The AMG front spoiler is still in place.
I learned a lot about the ESP the last few days. With all the electronics on, the car will not move or spin a wheel regardless of throttle angle if there is no traction. I often have to switch the ESP off to get some forward momentium with a little wheel spin and then switch it back on once rolling. It works very well for keeping the car going straight when I see other cars sliding around. This car causes a lot of envious onlookers in the dry, so you can imagine the looks from AWD and 4x4 drivers in these conditions.
I would have to say the rear differential could be a bit tighter. Uncontrolled one wheel spin with the ESP off has often made things more difficult than if both rear wheels would receive some varied amount of torque. I should have expected as much because in dyno mode, both my CLS550 and a friends CLS63 smoke the inside tire rather than the rear stepping out.
My only "lesson learned the hard way" was to clean all the snow and ice out of the tray housing the passenger side wiper linkage. I scraped the windshield and made sure the blades weren't frozen to the glass but the tray was full so the wiper linkage couldn't articulate. As soon as I turned on wipers, only the driver side moved. A 5 minute stop by the dealer on the way home last night solved the problem painlessly. (Other than almost getting stuck in their parking lot!) Rather than scramble the linkage as would happen in the past, there is provision for a linkage joint to pop apart. Those clever Germans!
I wish I would have taken some pictures with the car at max ride height and fenderwell packed with snow and ice. It would have been a stark contrast to the usual beauty shots posted here.
Sorry to those of you who might think it shameful to exposing a CLS to such conditions, but a great car is a great car and it should be enjoyed.
I would never drive my CLS in the snow let alone the rain. I live in california so I don't see no snow actions but the rain comes out my car stays in. Interesting to know that the CLS does well in the snow hopefully I won't run into any but I know that I'll be safe now.
I learned a lot about the ESP the last few days. With all the electronics on, the car will not move or spin a wheel regardless of throttle angle if there is no traction. I often have to switch the ESP off to get some forward momentium with a little wheel spin and then switch it back on once rolling. It works very well for keeping the car going straight when I see other cars sliding around.
This is the only way I've been able to get through the mess we've had here in the last few days. Its amazing, with the ESP on you can put the pedal to the floor and nothing, then switch it off and the motor runs to redline and the wheels go mad. Just like you, my driveway (as you can see is a slight incline) and the parking lot at work, which sits on top of a slight hill have been harrowing moments until today when they cleaned it all up. We had such a warm, snow free winter up until this month so I didn't get the required snow tired. Really regret that and won't make that mistake next year, provided we don't get any more real snow this year forcing me to make the purchase this season. Either that or I'm going to get a VW Rabbit or something to drive everyday/winter.
Has anyone actually fit snow tires to their CLS? The Mercedes AMG spec is 245/40 R18 front and rear on the 8.5J x 18 ET 25 or 245/35 R19 front and rear on the 8.5J x 19 ET 25 wheels. I would have to buy a pair of front wheels and four tires. ($$Ouch$$)
They say we just got through the worst storm in 20 years so hopefully winters worst is behind us. (Fingers crossed)
Tried to get through the most recent 3 blizzards here in Colorado with my "summer shoed" CLK 500... Turning off ESP helps some but on my car, ESP never actually gets completey turned off... This car sure could use a good LS diff... My Z06 actually did better in the snow than this CLK because it had an LSD and I could turn traction control completely off or to Competition Mode... Since I live in the mountains ( nothing flat ), I decided to leave the CLK in the garage and either drive the wife's R350 or my Ford SuperDuty 4wd when it's really bad... Driving these cars in snow without dedicated snow tires is just such a white knuckle ride that it's just not worth it...
I have the 2006 ClS500 in wintery Chicago. In mid December I put Blizzaks LM-25's on it and I have had no control/steering/braking problems at all. I never had the guts to drive on the snow with the stock tires so I can't really compare the two. However, from what I understand snow tires do perform better in the snow than sport tires, they also can withstand the cold temperatures far better than the sport tires. I've driven on the ice/snow/slush with my tires and have had no problems, even during the blizzards we got in December & February with about 5-7 inches of snow on the roads. You'll probably hear some more road noise from the snow tires, but this is better than a lot of other things that can happen in snowy conditions. Also, make sure that when spring comes around and the last snow has fallen, you change your tires ASAP because snow tires wear down much quicker than sports in non-snowy/ice conditions. One last thing, as I read the manual yesterday and have heard from experienced drivers...turn the ESP OFF in the snow because the tires lock when you don't want them to when the ESP is on (default).