The magic continues with the new Mercedes-Benz CL Coupe. Headlining the seventh generation range of the gorgeous coupe is a twin-turbocharged 4.7-litre V8 engine for the CL 500 which is more powerful (320kW) but cleaner and more fuel-efficient than its naturally aspirated V8 predecessor.
For the CL 63 AMG, power comes from a 5.5-litre version of the twin-turbo V8, while CL 600 and CL 65 AMG retain their twin-turbo V12 engines.
Predictably, there’s also substantial extra technology and luxury features…would you expect anything less from Mercedes-Benz?
By any measure, the CL is a fabulous car – without doubt the best luxury sports coupe we have driven.
Mercedes-Benz CL Coupe Overview
Surprisingly, Mercedes-Benz CL owners are the most loyal – the model has the highest repeat customer base of any Mercedes-Benz passenger car. The CL was the vehicle used by Mercedes-Benz to launch some of the high-tech safety advances we take for granted today – like disc brakes back in 1961 and Electronic Stability Program in 1996.
Now, the latest Mercedes-Benz CL comes standard with Active Body Control (ABC) with crosswind stabilization. This system uses ABC spring struts and millisecond-perfect computer control to regulate rolling, pitching and squatting – meaning the large (5095mm overall length, 2070kgs kerb weight) CL Coupe feels and behaves like a lightweight sports coupe.
The latest Mercedes-Benz CL lineup has risen in price just slightly. Starting prices are $337,000 for the CL 500 and $423,300 for the CL 63 AMG. For the 12-cylinder models - CL 600 is $425,600 and the range-topping CL 65 AMG is stickered at $519,250.
During a day on a mixture of roads between Melbourne and the coastal town of Torquay, Car Showroom was able to test both the standard CL 500 and rip-snorting CL 63 AMG. This is ‘Benz doing what ‘Benz is best at: game-changing technology, blistering performance and gob-smackingly gorgeous looks/luxury kit.
Apart from the CL’s beautiful leather, chrome and walnut wood trim, it’s the attention to details which customers in this league appreciate – for example, the dashboard clock in the CL 63 AMG isn’t just a clock, it’s a beautifully-crafted ‘IWC Ingenieur’ analogue timepiece.
Mercedes-Benz CL Coupe Engine
But the big news is under the bonnet in for the form of two new twin-turbocharged V8s.
Mercedes-Benz CL 500 runs a 4.7-litre unit delivering 320kW at 5,250rpm and peak torque of 700Nm from as low as 1,800rpm. That’s 32 per cent more torque and 12 per cent more power than the superseded 5.5-litre, naturally-aspirated V8. That translates into a faster sprint from zero to 100 km/h – 4.9 seconds compared to 5.4 seconds.
Importantly, the engine in the Mercedes-Benz CL 500 is from Benz’ BlueEFFICIENCY range for optimum fuel consumption and emissions. Compared to the outgoing CL 500, the newcomer’s fuel use is 20 per cent improved at 11.1l/100kms and exhaust C02 emissions are down to 259g/km.
For Mercedes-Benz CL 63 AMG, the 5.5-litre twin-turbocharged V8 replaces a 386kW/630Nm, 6.2-litre, naturally-aspirated V8. Staggeringly, the newcomer delivers 400kW at 5,500rpm and peak torque of 800Nm from 2,000rpm, to return 0 – 100km/h in just 4.5 seconds.
And - just as impressively - despite the massive kick in performance, the new engine is also more fuel-efficient than its predecessor – down by more then 25 per cent from 14.5l/100kms to 10.6l/100kms. C02 emissions are rated at 247g/km.
The Mercedes-Benz CL 500 drives the rear wheels via Benz’ magnificent seven-speed automatic transmission, while the CL 63 AMG gains the AMG SPEEDSHIFT MCT 7-speed auto.
Mercedes-Benz CL Coupe Interior
Combine ‘sumptuous’, ‘sporty’ and ‘sophisticated’ and you get – apart from more S’ than the Great Ocean Road! – some idea of the Mercedes-Benz CL interior. After entering via the wide-opening doors you sit low as this is a genuine sports coupe.
The CL 63 AMG greets you with the words “AMG V8 BITURBO” on the virtual dashboard which springs to life with conventional looking dials after you fire-up the engine. Addition of the AMG sports seats and AMG sports steering wheel are two further inclusions in the AMG model.
In fact Mercedes-Benz CL Coupe buyers can select from four different wood trims – all sourced from renewable European forests and hand-made for individual matching. And there are five colour combinations in two different kinds of leather for the seats.
Entertainment is a Discrete Logic7 Harman Kardon audio/DVD system with spilt front navigation screen (the same screen offers the passenger a view of the entertainment source, while the driver retains the map) with LINGUATRONIC voice control.
You can even choose between three modes for the interior ambient lighting (amber, white and ice blue).
Oh, and by the way, with electronic adjustment for the seat and steering wheel (rake and reach), the Mercedes-Benz CL delivers a perfect driving position. And with ‘Active Blind Spot Assist’ (automatic braking if you ignore the audible warnings and try to change lanes on top of another car), despite its size, visibility is perfect.
This is a large sports coupe and even with our driving position set, rear seat leg room remained quite generous. Access to the individually-sculptured rear seats is via a typically ‘Benz clever automated electronic sliding/folding operation for the front seats.
Luggage capacity in the large boot is 490-litres
Mercedes-Benz CL Coupe Exterior & Styling
The new Mercedes-Benz CL adopts an altogether more powerful appearance, highlighted by a new front end with LED strip Daytime Running Lights, V-shaped grille and curved headlights. The AMG version takes that further with a large cool air intake and single horizontal grille slat.
At the rear there are new taillights and of course the AMG version runs a full bodykit including front splitter and rear diffuser with quad rectangular exhausts.
Both run 20-inch alloy wheels (10-spoke for the CL 500 or five-spoke for the CL 63 AMG). More conservative CL 500 buyers can opt for 18-inch or 19-inch wheels.
Mercedes-Benz CL Coupe On the Road
No doubt about it, across the entire spectrum, the latest Mercedes-Benz CL is the best high performance sports coupe we’ve tested…it’s as simple as that. On the day Benz’ launched the CL, the wonderful twin-turbo V8 burst into life with a surprisingly raucous burble and this was a pre-cursor to a sublime drive over a variety of roads which showed the absolute class of this mighty coupe.
Amongst the armada of high-tech driver aids, the one which intrigued us was ‘Torque Vectoring Brake’ which brakes the inside rear wheel when cornering to reduce understeer. It works well as this large sports coupe could easily have been be a tad ‘floaty’ in high-speed corners – it wasn’t.
Using the steering wheel paddle shifters to swap cogs manually induced a stunning roar from the exhausts and the predicted change in engine performance. But even in full automatic mode, as you would expect, the Mercedes-Benz CL delivered stunning acceleration for overtaking.
In short one of the best drives of the year.
Mercedes-Benz CL Coupe Challenges
We accept the Mercedes-Benz CL might not be everyone’s cup of tea, but from a purely product perspective, there’s nothing to fault.
Mercedes-Benz CL Coupe Verdict
A fabulous high-performance sports coupe – we can’t think of anything Mercedes-Benz has missed with the latest CL range. This high-performance beauty is as good as it gets in 2010/11.
Mercedes-Benz CL Coupe The Competition
Probably the most direct competitors for the Mercedes-Benz CL Coupe, the Bentley Continental GT/Continental Speed models have been discontinued and the replacement twin-turbo Supersports and GTC models require considerably more coin.
Conversely, BMW’s 6 Series and the Jaguar XK aren’t really competitors either - more ‘GT’ than ‘Sports Coupe’ – as evidenced by their lower price/lack of rear legroom.
The Porsche Panamera and Aston Martin Rapide might also be in the mix (but they have four doors).
Mercedes-Benz CL Coupe Likes:
Elegant styling; stunning engines; breathtaking performance
Mercedes-Benz CL Coupe Dislikes:
We only spent one day with the CLS