A rare mix of luxury and performance.
The Mercedes-Benz CL offers super handling, super acceleration, and super luxury all in one package. The CL’s pillarless side glass gives an uninterrupted look into an exquisite interior. The front seats are heated and ventilated and offer massage capability, and the sport seats in the AMG models feature active side bolsters. By our measure, the entry-model CL550 is for those who will drive their CL year-round in snowy climes — it is the only model with all-wheel drive. The CL we’d own is the eight-cylinder CL63 AMG from Mercedes’ performance division. In 2011, AMG’s 6.2-liter V-8 was replaced by a 5.5-liter twin-turbo V-8 good for 536 hp. Opt for the AMG performance package, though, and power rises to 563 hp as torque jumps 74 lb-ft to a total of 664 lb-ft. The output boost is enough for the CL63 to reach 60 mph in 4.3 seconds, matching the CL65 AMG. For customers who demand the ultimate in prestige, Mercedes offers not one but two smooth-spinning V-12 engines. It’s worth noting that a top-spec CL sits in Bentley and Maserati territory when it comes to price, but we can’t think of a compelling argument to choose either of those cars over the Merc. The CL’s handling is remarkable, especially given its size, and even the base V-8 engine is powerful enough for the CL to keep up with sports cars on winding back roads.
Aston Martin DB9
Bentley Continental GT
new for 2013
The only change for the 2013 CL-class is a new Grand Edition Package that adds AMG fascias, twenty-inch wheels, and a choice of three paints and three interiors from Designo, Mercedes’ personalization arm.
ABS; front, side, side curtain, and driver’s knee air bags; traction and stability control; tire-pressure monitoring; parking sensors; and a drowsiness monitor are standard. Optional equipment includes adaptive cruise control with collision mitigation, night vision that highlights pedestrians, blind-spot monitoring, and lane-keep assist.
Timeless and elegant style
Sporty big coupe
Safety systems galore
Steep price of entry
Excellent V-8s make V-12s superfluous
Base Price Range: $116,205–$214,105
DRIVE: Rear-wheel, 4-wheel
TRIM LEVELS: CL550 4Matic, CL600, CL63 AMG, CL65 AMG
BODY STYLE: Coupe, 4-passenger
ENGINES: 4.7L twin-turbo V-8, 429 hp, 516 lb-ft
5.5L twin-turbo V-8, 536/563 hp, 590/664 lb-ft
5.5L twin-turbo V-12, 510 hp, 612 lb-ft
6.0L twin-turbo V-12, 621 hp, 738 lb-ft
TRANSMISSIONS: 5- or 7-speed automatic
PASSENGER VOLUME: 104.2 cu ft
CARGO SPACE: 13.5 cu ft