IT'S always quite exciting when a new classification of car comes along and the arrival of the original Mercedes-Benz CLS back in 2005 was certainly a case in point.
There was always an assumption that saloon cars had to look a little dull and uninspiring but Mercedes turned that notion on its head entirely.
The CLS proved that four doors and a fair measure of practicality could be combined with rakish coupe styling that was to die for.
The CLS is undoubtedly one of those cars that could be considered a modern classic and there aren't many.
Of course everyone else subsequently got in on the act, with rivals Audi and BMW following suit with their Sportback and Gran Tourismo models - even Volkswagen joined this merry band with the Passat CC.
To my mind the CLS is still the pick of the bunch though, even if the current version doesn't quite have the wow factor of that original back in 2005.
At the risk of repeating myself that car of 14 years ago really was a head-turner.
I recall my cousin telling me how he entered a Mercedes dealership to buy an SUV and came out with a CLS.
The current model is in fact the third incarnation of this winning formula from Mercedes and there is no reason to imagine its popularity waning.
It still looks sultry, stylish and different and really offers the ultimate for someone who needs a versatile saloon car but wishes they were buying a sports car.
Looks apart, there's quite a bit that's different when comparing the latest CLS to its predecessors the biggest being the huge amount of technology.
Added to that the level of opulence seems to have been turned up a notch or two.
While you might imagine its sleek profile is its main USP the chances are you will feel the interior also gives it a run for its money.
I can't remember the last time I sat in a car where I felt so comfortably cosseted and cocooned and you really do sit down into it - rather like a sports car.
Luxury levels are high throughout with one of the defining features being the grey open-pore ash wood trim, which gives it a super classy feel.
The tech includes two 12.3-inch display screens one of which features all the infotainment settings.
The second, behind the steering wheel, relates to the car's vital functions and has a selection of settings - Classic, Sport or Progressive.
Other features on this car included remote parking assist and wireless phone charging.
The CLS isn't cheap of course. The range starts at around Â£50,000 but this high end 400 d 4MATIC in AMG Line specification will set you back more than Â£60,000 and it would be easy to see that figure rise even further if you want to factor in a few optional extras.
In terms of practicality the CLS certainly measures up and is capable of being a very usable everyday family car if that's what you need it for.
However it can also be a true sporting thoroughbred.
The contrast is best experienced through the selectable driving modes available.
The Eco and Comfort settings are perfect for suburban toing and froing or motorway cruising but if you want to have fun engage the Sport or Sport+ modes.
The car feels different in an instant - even the engine note changes from a purr to more of a growl.
As you would expect the Sport mode makes for a more fun driving experience and Sport+ a positively thrilling one.
Add in the 4MATIC four-wheel drive and the level of grip it offers and you are in for an experience you will thoroughly enjoy.
The 3.0-litre diesel is a smooth and capable performer too and wonderfully refined.
Familiar Mercedes glide-like ride quality is also a prominent feature, though the aforementioned driving modes vary how it feels accordingly.
All in all the CLS is as good as ever, with the latest tech ensuring it is as up to the minute as any car can be.