By on July 4, 2007

106946306c3777_003.jpgMass, what mass? As I hurled 4500 lbs. of rippled and flared German steel through a long, sweeping, belt-cinching corner, I felt like I was playing a driving simulation. Thanks to its improved active body controls, the Mercedes Benz CL63 AMG remained absurdly unaffected by the enormous lateral g-forces generated by its gyrations. Lacking suitable anti-gravity aids, my passenger and I were thrown towards the outer radius of the turn, welded to the CL63’s seat bolsters. Now that’s what I call fun.

The CL63 reminds me of the rockets I designed as a kid; the Merc's a massive, sleek shape punctuated by slits and evil looking slashes. Whereas the chop top CLS-Class seems more than a little forced, the CL63 makes perfect sense. Its athletic stance, gigantic wheel arches and aggressive surface effects combine to create a coupe that looks like it eats continents— and Porsches— for breakfast.

106950706c3777_019.jpgThe CL63’s rear is especially effective. Framed by a Batmobile-esque rippled valence, its quad pipes give the car’s rear the kind of purposefulness denied BMW’s overwrought 6-Series. While both cars have so much “flame surfacing” they could put Burger King out of business, it’s the big Merc that let’s me have it my way. 

The CL63’s interior is a bit too staid for my taste/money. That said, Affalterbach’s artisans add the requisite luxury touches, including rich, soft and dense leather and a sweet smelling Alcantara roof lining. The aforementioned seat bolsters provide an unwelcome awakening for first time users, before they learn to guide their bottom’s trajectory with appropriate care and precision.

106944106a3969-1.jpgMercedes’ COMAND system remains the most intuitive of Germany’s multi-media controllers— which is a bit like saying Rocky III isn’t quite as terrible as Rocky V. Tweaking the seat massage functions and adjusting the air flow from the HVAC from diffuse to focused is no great challenge. Not so the eight window controls; choosing the correct button to raise or lower one of the four windows is an ergonomic lottery.

I’m no great fan of the massive pods enclosing the CL63’s speedometer and navigation systems. While I appreciate the aeronautic theme, there’s too much dash for those of us who prefer visual flight rules. AMG’s 200 mph speedometer is a suitably wicked touch (that violates the spirit of Germany’s “gentlemen’s agreements”), but I find it hard to read. And despite exalted specifications, the CL63’s stereo sounds disappointing flat and dull.

106948506c3777_014.jpgThe AMG steering wheel is neither. Its organic shape immediately attracts your hands to the correct 10 and 2 positions. The perforated leather’s a bit hard to the touch, and I wish the wheel itself would adjust lower (my elbows couldn’t find a suitable perch). But the obligatory paddles, crafted from thick lumps of aluminum, tell you the tiller’s hooked-up to some serious stones. Yes indeed.

Igniting the CL63’s 6.2-liter, 518 horsepower, hand built AMG engine is an orgasmic experience. The four pipes spit out a guttural roar that vibrates your soul, resonating flesh and bone like the deep registers of gigantic church organ. Revving the CL63’s engine nearly breaks the sound barrier, sending children and small dogs scurrying in terror, and condemning BMW’s “bag of bolts” V10-powered M5 to eternal sonic shame.

106949606c3777_018.jpgAMG has installed this remarkable engine across virtually the entire Mercedes line. While it has transformed every chassis it has touched, it has transmogrified only two. The E63 is remarkable for its balance and, dare I say it, affordability. In the CL63, the mega-V8’s acceleration turns a boulevardier into a stealth fighter, capable of cruising serenely at speeds that other vehicles struggle to achieve.

More to the point, the CL63’s acceleration is exactly as you’d imagine: endlessly effortless and totally telepathic. Accompanied by a Wagnerian soundtrack, the naturally aspirated powerplant does a damn fine imitation of a big-bore V12– only without the hushed progress and nose-heavy nature. In fact, at speed, I’d swear the CL63 AMG was no bigger than a 911.

The CL63’s steering is firm but fair, communicating just enough surface information to make cornering worthwhile. The brakes are slightly stiff but unflappable, lending confidence to aggressive driving. The CL63’s ride quality is firm (there’s that word again) yet compliant. Road imperfections intrude very little on the luxury experience, despite standard 20” five-spoke AMG wheels.

106958906c3777_001a.jpgIn short, I’d trade my left arm for a Mercedes Benz CL63 AMG. Trouble is, the German automaker wants an arm AND a leg. The price of admission to AMG’s leather-lined roller coaster ride: 140 large. The monthly lease cost exceeds $3k. Even in California, a mortgage payment of this magnitude still affords a pretty nice house.

Still, it’s only money. If you ever wanted to fire-up a Merc that sounds like a muscle car, if you fancy leaping entire Western states in a single bound, there’s nothing to touch the CL63 for class, comfort, pace and grace.

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66 Comments on “CL63 AMG Review...”


  • avatar
    BigChiefMuffin

    Nice review – the thing is – is it worth THAT much more than an E63, which has similiar performace and a lot more practicality…

  • avatar
    dougw

    Exquisitely written, Jay!

  • avatar
    NICKNICK

    I’m gonna have to go ahead and, um, disagree with you…
    I think the CLS has *way* better styling. When I first saw the 300C, I thought it looked like a comic book thug car. When I saw the CLS, i saw a comic book *villain* car–evil with tons of class. The 300C says “I’m carrying a gun.” The CLS says “I have someone else carrying a gun.”

    The bowed beltline you say looks forced–I say it’s perfect. It passes my junior high litmus test: if a 12 year old would draw it, drool over it, or hang it on his wall, build it.

    And those wheelarches…I still have no idea how y’all can like them on this or the S-class. They make a Passat look good.

  • avatar
    AKM

    Nice review…It’s always a pleasure to daydream on a July 4th morning!
    As for styling, having seen both CL-classes and CLS-classes in the flesh, I much prefer the CL. THE CLS is much overwrought, and its window “slits” point at the soon-to-come encounters with low objects. I find the CLS too “easy”, the automotive equivalent of a woman with great fake breasts and a legs that were exercised, but not much else, as opposed to a complete, natural-looking package.

  • avatar
    JJ

    I find the CLS too “easy”,

    Exactly. Just like the not quite 6.3 V8 being deployed in every relevant model is too easy. Just today they (officially) announced the C63AMG with the same engine, however with only 457hp.

    I’ll take an M3, thank you. At least BMW M does the work to live up to their reputation/price. And with great result, too.

    On the CL63; In 3/4 years time you’ll be able to buy these things for about $5…if you know what I mean…which off course you do.

  • avatar
    Bob Peters

    Nice review!

    I hate to say this, but every time I see the rear of this car, I see an Acura RL with quad exhausts.

  • avatar
    mrcknievel

    *drools*

    The CL has been the thing of dreams for me forever it seems.

    The AMG bodykit (or any decent one like Brabus) definitely makes all of the difference though..the “base” CL550 isn’t as attractive IMO.

    I agree about the CLS. It’s a beautiful car but it’s too consciously beautiful..like the surgically enhanced, bottle blond trophy wives at the Plaza.

    I’ve heard people saying that it doesn’t generate the sense of occasion required for a car in this price range, but I think it’s rarity and subtle good looks make that a hard arguement to win.

  • avatar
    Sajeev Mehta

    Oooh, sounds like the CL65 I tested, but with a goofy interior. I wonder how it stacks up to ye olde bi-turbo V12.

    I couldn’t imagine owning this car new, because its a much more compelling proposition once the AMG-depreciation curve kicks in after 6-12 months.

    Well said, Mr. Shoemaker!

  • avatar
    atwDrew

    Pictures don’t do it justice. You really need to see one in person to get it. Curves that seem flattened and generic in pics come to life as you walk around it and take it in with your eyes. Then it becomes immediately apparent how elegant, muscular, and large it really is.

  • avatar
    213Cobra

    Sorry, not impressed. Visually, this car is a frightful mess of afterthought slashes and injected collagen bulges. Most of the car looks like Lisa Rinna’s face, the contemporary version. But this is the least of it.

    For $140,000, anyone can build a car that handles, and drop in a reasonably sophisticated lump of power. Ho-hum. Trouble is, it takes no thinking whatsoever to do it heavy. It’s just lazy engineering (no, make that mal-engineering) to build this car to outweigh a steel body-on-frame Lincoln Town Car. No wonder it needs 518 hp. It’s within 200 lbs. of a last-gen F150 S’Crew!

    Real engineering expertise at this price would have yielded a performance coupe at, say, 3600 lbs. or less, requiring less power and less added mass from ancillary tech for maintaining dynamic excellence.

    At a time when an Audi aluminum (“lightweight”) sedan weighs over two tons I guess this AMG coupe landing with a thud at 4500 lbs. shouldn’t be surprising, but it is nevertheless pathetic. For well into six figures, we should be demanding more creative engineering and far better-looking cars with real design integrity and visual panache than this misshapen thyroid malfunction.

  • avatar
    rashakor

    Cobra,

    I am impressed how somebody can be as negative about that car…
    Granted! being a S-class mercedes this baby should be more advanced than any car on the market and it is a little on the porky side but it is actually a faily gracious looking and elegant ship (brought back to under 4000lb would be nice).

  • avatar
    qfrog

    Today if it isn’t carved from a single ingot of uranium heavy it can’t possibly be luxury. Anything “nice” these days is well beyond portly to the point of morbid obesity. Honestly, fat is fab these days… MFG’s have just figured out that you can hide the heft with porportionally heavy wheels and tires. The Audi RS4 cabriolet is just 200lbs lighter… and by that I mean the RS4 is just 12lbs heavier than a base A8! (insert tickle me elmo “OH BOY” laughter)

    These cars are not my cup of chai. The last big Benz two door I drove was something like a ’97 SL500, I’m not sure if the CL63 drives anything like the soft top tank I drove but I’d have to skip if it does. I honestly prefer driving a current Dodge Ram 1500 quad cab to a big Mercedes two door, yes for serious. IMO a huge price tag and equally large curb weight do not a sports car make. Before somebody goes to get the nails, hammer and crucifix… I only used the phrase “sports car” because Jay mentioned he was driving it in an sporty manner. I realize in actuality it is a Grand Tourer of sorts.

  • avatar
    213Cobra

    Rashakor,

    I’m not complimentary of the S-Class either, but its aesthetic hangs together better as a 4-door sedan than it does here as a coupe. And what’s with the 1990s Camaro-like overhangs of Merc metal these days? Mercedes has been trying to make solidly-engineered cars beautiful for the last few decades, consistently failing. They have rummaged through a succession of visual languages that cue some aspect of established “Mercedesness” for a sense of premium continuity, but beautiful? No. Beautiful eludes them. By and large, if their cars were stripped of logos and badges, I am sure they would be subject to far more design criticism. Likewise, the Germans are getting a pass on needless dreadnought mass in their automobiles, which would be met with howls of derision if this trait plagued certain other manufacturers.

    A little on the porky side? A Shelby Cobra is a little on the porky side. A quarter to half ton of surplus bulk deriving from engineering laziness, arrogance or indifference at a buck-and-a-half is more than porky. You really couldn’t own or drive one of these things and feel any legitimate disdain for pickups or SUVs. Your coupe’s excess lard would be every bit as unnecessary as theirs. Even GM and Ford have figured out how to keep ~500hp road wranglers below 4000 pounds, at way less than the price of this car. ‘Adding lightness’ ought to be within reach of the engineering team building to the cost basis of a $140,000 performance coupe.

    Phil

  • avatar
    mmm

    Mr. T was incredible in Rocky 3 and I pity the fool who doesn’t recognize his Oscar caliber performance. Rocky V sucked large.

  • avatar
    johngrosspietsch

    I agree with the lazy engineering comments. Just three reviews ago we were all laughing and sniggering away at GM for the 4541 pound 2007 4WD GMC Envoy.

  • avatar
    Dave M.

    Fugly. WTF with this and the S? The CLS has become the top of the MB pile in my eyes….at least for this generation. The ricer fender bulges were beneath MB….or so thought. Sad.

    So, between MB and Bangle….Audi (merely a sweetly tarted up VW cousin) has become the premier German designer…..nice.

  • avatar
    TwingoV12

    Hi there,

    long-time listener, first-time speaker at TTAC.

    I second the opinion that the CL is a car that needs to be seen and experienced in the flesh to fully appreciate its looks and its appearance.

    I remember the first time I saw one (in Monaco, of all places :))…. it was stunning. Dark blue metallic paint, big wheels – it was both enormously elegant and had that hint of aggression (in terms of design, not with regard to how the elderly driver drove this thing through the narrow streets of Monte Carlo) that separates a nice-looking, bu somewhat bland design from a truly charismatic design.

    This thing is huge, but that´s not the only reason it has such a strong visual presence. When viewed in the flesh, that is.

    … my .02……

  • avatar
    ash78

    I find the styling horrendous (starting with the S-class, which introduced these downmarket Mitsu or Euro-Ford front fender flares…pardon the alliteration). Everything else is great, though.

  • avatar
    Roger Hislop

    Have you checked out the “power dome” on the new C63 AMG? Sheesh. I thought the power dome on the 335i looked bone-headed. Please, please, please may this not be a trend. The only thing worse than an American redneck is a German redneck.

    One hopes a brave manufacturer from Italy or France will re-introduce elegant simplicity as an alternative to the new fussy extravagence of slits, gills, swages, sills and flaming surfaces. The old 230E and original W202 C-Class Benzes still look classy and elegant after ten years. A new C-Class and 3 Series will look absurdly outdated in only a few years.

    Compare the smooth, clean, swoopy lines of a Citroen DS — shape, line and proportion gives visual lasting appeal, not schoolboy tricks with flanges and widgets.

  • avatar
    doctorv8

    Great article, Jay.

    One of these just showed up in the high rise where I live, and I want to line up with him in my previous gen 2005 CL65 and see what happens. I’m sure that the lack of traction below 60 mph will erase my power/torque advantage…but at higher speeds, it should get interesting.

    I definitely prefer the style of my old W215 chassis, esp since the new cars govt mandated pedestrian friendly square nose and excessive fussiness doesn’t compare to the clean, sleekness of the older car. To me, the W216 only makes the W215 look dated from the interior.

  • avatar
    guyincognito

    When I look at this and the S class I wonder why Merc decided to copy Mazda RX8 styling. Still I think it does somehow work. The weight is also ridiculous but expected for a fast luxobarge. People love to feel like they are driving a tank. Overall it sounds cool but even at a reasonable price I would never buy one.

  • avatar
    doctorv8

    213 Cobra,

    Comparing the weight of a CL to a GT500 or other lower line car is irrelevant. Think about all the extra hardware that MB packs into its high end cars…active suspension, umpteen airbags, massaging ventilated seats, tons of audio and electronic gear, self closing trunk and soft close doors….not to mention tons of sound insulation. Have you looked at the thickness of the side windows on the CL? The car is overbuilt, for sure, but you can’t add content without weight.

    I do wish that MB would make their 7th gear taller, though. It does wonders for fuel economy in the Corvette, and with 6 lower cogs, I doubt performance would suffer much.

  • avatar
    Lesley Wimbush

    Nice review Jay!

  • avatar
    CMM

    What an incredibly accurate review of the CL63. I am lucky enough to own the new CL63 and have been driving it for about one month now. The car exceeds all of my expectations, with the interior being about the only area that I think could be improved. This car is a dream machine, with performance, handling like a full blown race car, yet comfortable like an S-Class. Jay – This is a perfect review – kudos !

  • avatar
    shoes

    I am gratified to hear confirmation from some of the owners like CMM on my observations. I do agree with the many people concerned about the weight of this beast. The active body control provides an amazing offset for this issue, although admittedly it is a workaround.

    As a guy who spends time in many different cars, it is interesting to me how subtle changes can mean all the difference. I owned a CL 550 and found it somewhat dull and disappointing. AMG consistently turns water into wine and the CL63 is truly in a different category from its CL progenitor

  • avatar
    Maxb49

    Meh. The car looks like an obese jellybean, a tuned Chevy 350, Hemi, or even Ford Modular sounds and performs as good – if not better – for $$$ less.

    I’d rather have a Ferrari.

    Get rid of Dieter then we’ll talk.

    Nicely written review though. :)

  • avatar
    213Cobra

    docV8,

    I didn’t compare the weight of the Merc with the Cobra, “or some other lower car.” I simply pointed out the Shelby as one that qualifies as “a little porky” rather than obese. But your point about the contributors to mass in the Merc is also exactly my point. The car is absurdly heavy and just dumping all that content into it in the name of “luxury” without finding lighter ways to build the car while retaining rigidity is just boneheaded. Not to mention that indiscriminately accumulating mass only results in having to throw more tech into the car as a coping strategy for retaining dynamic precision. And you need more power to get it all moving.

    A GT500 is heavy for its size and purpose precisely because it performs on the cheap. It gets its muscle from a robust iron block, instead of the aluminum block used in the GT. It is nose heavy, and requires bigger brakes to stop the iron-block’s mass, and heavier springs to control it. But it remains a steel unibody, stick axle car to deliver 500 hp punch at the upper limit of mass market pricing.

    At $140K, those compromises should disappear. Well before that, actually.

    A Mercedes SL-55 AMG weighs 470 lbs more than a Cadillac XLR-V, with similar content, objectives and performance. The Cadillac has the more innovative structure, being built on a rigid uniframe with non-structural SMC body panels and a magnesium roof. A Merc S550 weighs about 600 lbs more than a Jaguar XJ Van den Plas, but then Jaguar has gone to the trouble of building their big sedan on an aluminum unibody because reducing mass was a design priority when the project to replace the prior generation XJ was launched. These weight advantages and innovations occur at lower price points. Why shouldn’t we seek more creativity from Mercedes at higher prices still?

    I’ve seen the CL63, up close. To my eye, it hasn’t a trace of design elegance, and if looking like Mickey Rourke in ‘Sin City’ is what it takes to make a car appear aggressive, well then perhaps. The surplus mass is equally ugly in marring the idea of the CL63, even though you can’t see it. It raises the requirements of every system in the car, pulling more mass on top of useless dead weight. Result? Increasing numbness and the sense that the active systems are fighting the intrinsic dynamics of the unadorned car.

    No, thanks. Design sophistication has become so dumbed down that ugly and incoherent is rationalized as “dramatic.” Dead weight and bloat indicate status. A huge price tag no longer suggests innovation. A beautiful, incisive, performance coupe is my favorite type of car. Unfortunately, Mercedes doesn’t make any.

    Phil

  • avatar
    Drew

    One hopes a brave manufacturer from Italy or France will re-introduce elegant simplicity as an alternative to the new fussy extravagence of slits, gills, swages, sills and flaming surfaces. The old 230E and original W202 C-Class Benzes still look classy and elegant after ten years. A new C-Class and 3 Series will look absurdly outdated in only a few years.

    Wow. I couldn’t have said it better. The cynical side of me thinks that this is exactly what the car companies want to happen. They want their cars to look outdated in a short time so that you’ll want to buy the new model when it’s released. Wash, rinse, repeat.

    I’ve gotten a number of compliments on my E34 5 series. Admittedly, it’s in great shape, but people are always flabbergasted when they find out how old it is. Elegant simplicity indeed.

    That elegant simplicity is in short supply now and I think that people miss it even if they don’t know it. Audi really is making better looking cars than MB and BMW. And their sales are looking good too.

  • avatar
    Drew

    I hate to say this, but every time I see the rear of this car, I see an Acura RL with quad exhausts

    I knew there was something familiar about that.

    See this pic of the RL

    or this one

  • avatar
    doctorv8

    Phil,

    You said: “Even GM and Ford have figured out how to keep ~500hp road wranglers below 4000 pounds, at way less than the price of this car.”

    If that’s not a comparison, I don’t know what is.

    I agree with you that MB needs to work on the weight issue, but frankly, their S550 drives so much better than the lightweight Jag that I would still choose it, hands down, excess poundage or not.

    Now, in my C6Z06, when I’m on the track, every bit of its mass savings is evident every time I turn the wheel or prod the throttle/brakes. But, it’s a sports car.

    However, the big, overweight Benzes perform exactly how they should; solid and confident on the straights and, as Jay noted, remarkably competent in the twisties….the Active Body Control permits a ride/handling compromise that the softly sprung conventional suspension XJ8 cannot match, even in supercharged XJR guise. The lack of impact harshness even with the AMG spec low profile tires is astounding, and unmatched in any other car I’ve sampled.

    Maybe the next generation S/CL will be more aluminum intensive. Considering how well they have tamed the dynamics of a 2.5 ton car….one can only imagine what subtracting 500 lbs could accomplish.

  • avatar
    brownie

    Dead weight and bloat indicate status.

    Yup. And dead weight leads to eye-popping HP figures, which are required just to move these beasts at a decent pace, which further indicate status.

    Unfortunately, the fact of the matter is that this car exists for no other purpose than a display of status. It is not a sports car like it’s smaller brethren, nor a beast in grandpa’s clothing like the S63, nor is it a secret hell-on-wheels compromise for the otherwise practical family man a la the R63. It is a very expensive car for people who want the world to know they bought a very expensive car.

  • avatar
    213Cobra

    docV8,

    The comment about GM and Ford fielding 500hp cars at more reasonable weight was a different point. They’re meeting a relatively low price point and are prioritizing power & performance over refinement for a different class of car. Mercedes should be expected to figure out how to make their car lighter still when there is an additional $90,000 – $100,000 in retail to work with.

    It’s true that if you’re going to bring a 4500 pounds 2+2 to the premium market at a commensurate price, active technologies are your savior for delivering precision handling. But that’s not the same as involved handling. Just keeping the tires planted isn’t enough. When I drive a current high-end Merc, I feel the benefits of the active tech, but the lasting impressions are the sensory cues that the the active features are fighting the intrinsic physics of the bloat. Some say, “Well, hey, the car goes where you point it…what else matters regardless how much it weighs?” What turns me off is its numbness, the wasted power due to absence of engineering discipline and the undisguised experiential reality that you’re still driving an unnecessarily corpulent car.

    Computing power and dense microelectronic systems have become fixes for flaws, laziness, or lack of attention to fundamentals. Chips are cheap and easy to incorporate, so why take on the hard imagineering work of taking half a ton out of the car? Why put cost into more advanced materials when computing can arrest the adversity of mass? Why retool for a space-frame when we already know how to make a stiff and heavy unibody? Why build a light, fast, strong, responsive luxury coupe that requires less power and fuel consumption to satisfy its brief when it’s so much easier to build it heavy and dumb? We shouldn’t keep making excuses for this level of disappointment and lack of engineering ambition in deep six-figures cars. Plain and simple, Mercedes has been and is on an unsustainable track. Their cars get bigger, uglier, heavier and less tasteful with each model change (yeah, don’t pretend you don’t hear me too, Lexus & BMW), all of which is unsurprisingly correlated to declining reliability. How far can a premium automaker push its products past beauty, taste, creativity and genuine innovation, and retain power to suggest same on the part of its customers? Or put another way, can fat, dumb and ugly continue as talismans of an owner’s taste, sophistication and grace? It looks like Mercedes-Benz intends on finding out.

    Phil

  • avatar
    doctorv8

    You make some good points, Phil. It’s just that the target market needs an S Class that shines dynamically about as much as they need a 4 seater Z06 or Boxster.

    We’ll just have to wait and see when the negative points you mention will begin to outweigh the intrinsic solidity, capability, and serenity with which the big Benzes go about their business…enough to adversely affect sales.

    Maybe AMG is slowly turning the corner with their new Black series cars…but up until now, they’ve done well enough leaving the responsive handling luxury car market to BMW…who ironically (as you noted) have also been gradually contaminating their formerly sharply tuned suspensions with electronic frivolity.

  • avatar
    doctorv8

    The target market I referred to above is exemplified by CMM, who posted a response above that his CL “handles like a racecar.” There are apparently enough well heeled buyers waving cash at the local MB dealer with this misinformed viewpoint to encourage the continued production of these cars. Personally, I like my CL65 because of its ability to handle the daily grind with aplomb, combined with its ability to sprint from 60-100 in grin inducing fashion. If I want to hit the twisties, I’ll drive the 3100 lb Z06….which itself is far from being a “racecar,” but is closer to that ideal than anything else that I would want to take a 4 hr roadtrip in.

  • avatar
    AndyR

    Jay,

    You continue to provide thrilling accounts of cars too fantastic for any normal pocketbook. I enjoy the ride in every one of them, vicarious though it may be…

    To everyone,
    With stories such as these filling up the pages at TTAC, I am left wondering a bit about the individuals wielding the pen. The comments you authors graciously provide reveal a bit of the character of the cohort, but I wonder…

    Would it interest any of you – the authors – to provide a sort of autobiography piece? Paul Niedermeyer’s series has been an outstanding collection of exploits and remembrances, but I am thinking more of a mission statement. I’d like a piece explaining both the origins of your automotive passion, the qualifications you bring to the table, and your basic philosophy of the automobile and what it should be. For Jay in particular, I’m curious about the situation he finds himself in to be able to entertain the thought of these exclusive vehicles and how he personally nurses his passion for them. I imagine profiles such as these would only deepen the impact of the reviews and commentaries on this (already fantastic) site… Thoughts?

  • avatar
    Sajeev Mehta

    It’s true that if you’re going to bring a 4500 pounds 2+2 to the premium market at a commensurate price, active technologies are your savior for delivering precision handling. But that’s not the same as involved handling.

    Phil, don’t buy a extra-large Grand Touring coupe if you want involved handling. Get a C6 ‘vette or a 911 instead.

    I don’t understand why you are so hung up on weight for a megadollar luxury car. The CL has always been proof that taking the “heavy” out of luxury cars is like ordering a burger and a milkshake at a fancy restaurant.

    High quality leather/wood/insulation/metal trim is heavy, and cutting corners there is a no-no. The massive doors feel awesome because of their heft. And don’t forget the lack of a B-pillar for style. Pillarless hardtops are inherently heavy because of current safety needs.

    And you can’t have such an awesome ride and unflappable durability (MB’s electronics aside) without that heft.

    The car is frickin’ awesome just the way it is. And we would all sacrifice fuel economy just to own this heavy beast.

  • avatar
    213Cobra

    Sajeev,

    That a Corvette or a Porsche is the only way to get involved and competent handling due to the inability of high-end makers to get off their addiction to bulk is the essence of what’s wrong with the industry, isn’t it? Add up ALL the wood, leather and aluminum foil in a luxury car and it doesn’t come close to accounting for the silly bulk. Sound insulation? Okay, it begins to amount to something. Enough airbags to render the car a rolling psych ward? Yep, getting closer. The combined electronics of an American kitchen + home theater? It’s piling on. Pillarless coupes? Such things used to be built lighter in the bad old days of crude excess. Besides, what good is making a coupe pillarless if it still ends up as desparingly ugly as the CL63? The big issue is that engineers and designers only know how to add. They are not creative about subtracting mass. There’s no weight budget. You want 16 airbags? OK, what are we going to do to compensate? That question isn’t even being asked, let alone answered. So, where does it end? You’ll have to stop laughing at 6000 lb. SUVs when your 2WD sedan weighs more.

    And you can’t have such an awesome ride and unflappable durability without that heft.

    What is this, the German car apologist’s 21st century reincarnation of 1950s “road-hugging weight?” Geeze Louise. Sure, people who can afford this car can disregard fuel economy, and that includes me. But that’s really beside the point. The whole point of premium pricing and the ability to afford it is to get something special, well-made, innovative, exclusive for reasons beyond its price alone. Heft is not the same as strength, and heft isn’t the only way to get strength in a platform. Being heavy only makes these cars worse than they could be, certainly worse than they should be for deep into a Hundred Large. I can’t think of a single way in which corpulence improves a car like this on a holistic level. It’s quieter but is dynamically compromised. So the electronic fixes come out but it gets numb and remote. All the moving parts must be made more robust to deal with the effort to get the beast moving, change its direction and then to retard said motion. So mass goes up more. The car becomes progressively more complex and less reliable. 518 hp applied to a same-class car built 600 or 1000 lbs lighter would be more entertaining and capable in every way. Or 400 hp would do. How can an audience as informed and allegedly sophisticated as this defend the engineering laziness of this vector from a company as accomplished as Mercedes-Benz? I don’t get it.

    The car is frickin’ awesome just the way it is. And we would all sacrifice fuel economy just to own this heavy beast.

    Well, not me, nor apparently some others here. We have one person who prefers a RAM QuadCab to a CL63, and I understand him fully. It’s not the fuel economy, though there are good reasons to use less fuel. It’s that I don’t agree the car is awesome. Not in the least. Instead it’s a travesty of engineering dishonesty from a once-formidable engineering company. It’s a design wreck from a company that’s forgotten it once built the SSK and the Gullwing. It’s a cave-in to the status-buyer who only seeks to telegraph (or perhaps broadcast) wealth rather than discernment. If the entire market for this design and engineering vector for ultra-luxury cars collapsed overnight, we might see what’s possible for $140,000. What we’re currently getting is an embarrassment that I, for one, would be ashamed to drive.

    Phil

  • avatar
    Sajeev Mehta

    That a Corvette or a Porsche is the only way to get involved and competent handling due to the inability of high-end makers to get off their addiction to bulk is the essence of what’s wrong with the industry, isn’t it?

    Nope. You forgot to mention that pillarless coupes were lighter before because they didn’t have rollover/crush standards to meet. And all the other stuff you mentioned. And gigantic wheels/brakes and hypercomplex suspension parts. Whether or not you find the goods appealing or beautiful, all that stuff adds up in a high dollar pillarless coupe.

    What is this, the German car apologist’s 21st century reincarnation of 1950s “road-hugging weight?”

    Are you disagreeing with the fact that heavier cars are more likely to ride better than lighter ones, even with similar suspension tuning? I know the Lincoln Town Car rides better than the Lexus ES…and I’m sure the Rolls Phantom creams them both.

    Heft is not the same as strength, and heft isn’t the only way to get strength in a platform.

    I’ll agree with that, in theory. The MB should be all aluminum a la Audi, though I expect that a large amount of the CL is made of the light stuff.

    It’s a cave-in to the status-buyer who only seeks to telegraph (or perhaps broadcast) wealth rather than discernment.

    Mercedes has been good at that for decades, and why not? Today’s market is terribly segmented and product specialization is paramount. Just because you’d be “ashamed” to drive a CL doesn’t mean its not an engineering tour de force, and its not an awesome luxury car with an amazing combination of smooth ride and impressive handling.

  • avatar
    213Cobra

    Sajeev,

    You forgot to mention that pillarless coupes were lighter before because they didn’t have rollover standards to meet.

    No, I didn’t forget. It’s simply no excuse. For example, a Corvette (while not a pillarless 4-place coupe it still has to satisfy regulations) meets current rollover standards and is lighter than it was 30 year ago, and similar to its weight 40 years ago, when it had no such standards to meet and carried far less content. This is true for a variety of cars in various classes. The Chevy is also much more powerful, competent, comfortable, quiet and loaded while keeping its mass down and rigidity up. The current car has a much stronger and yet lighter structure, truer still in spades for the Z06. But then it has real innovation: balsa, magnesium, titanium, SMC, a box tunnel and a weight-saving uniframe — and is profitable — despite being a low-production car. Its pioneering frame hydroforming has found its way into cars from many makers, including sedans. Jaguar is making outstanding use of aluminum in much less expensive cars, and to lesser extent Audi too. No such progress can be claimed in a same-class Mercedes, but there should be. Stringent structural standards aren’t deterring some other manufacturers from arresting weight gain. Why should we let Mercedes off the hook, especially at $140,000?

    Are you disagreeing with the fact that heavier cars are more likely to ride better than lighter ones, even with similar suspension tuning?

    Heavier cars ride better if their suspensions are tuned to allow it. A lighter car can match the ride of a heavier car if the suspension is engineered to do so. Ride quality is at least as affected by wheelbase as weight. Keeping unsprung mass low is a major contributor too. Make it lighter yet stiffer, and push those wheels closer to the corners. And put lightweight advanced technologies like GM’s magneto-rheoodyne active dampers to good use. Mass alone is the simpleton’s solution to ride quality.

    Just because you’d be “ashamed” to drive a CL doesn’t mean its not an engineering tour de force, and its not an awesome luxury car with an amazing combination of smooth ride and impressive handling.

    We just disagree. “Amazing” and “tour de force” aren’t terms I’d apply to any aspect of the CL63. But I do mean sincerely I’d be ashamed to own or drive it, for both its poverty of visual grace and being bereft of engineering imagination. Software, computing and microelectronics have their place in automotive design. All are essential to engine control and combustion management if you’re going to deliver environmentally-responsible power. Carburettors and old-school distributors can’t match fast computing and software logic for that. But if the car-as-hardware is properly designed, you can remove the digital suspension and still have a modern, compellingly competent car.

    Again, the Corvette. Drive a C6 with the active suspension and one without. You will appreciate the intrinsic goodness of the hardware engineering and all the effort GM invested in keeping the car light while adding features. Drive an XLR-V, keeping in mind that you are driving Corvette bones with an additional 600 lbs of luxury, and you can feel how computing mitigates added mass beautifully, but that the mass is nevertheless present. But you will also feel in driving a straight XLR sans the active suspension that those Corvette bones allow a perfectly acceptable car using passive damping alone. Passive damping alone applied to the 4500 lb CL63 would alarmingly degrade it. Point is, better fundamental engineering moderates the oversight that computing must exercise to assist or control the dynamics of corpulence that is otherwise allowed to accumulate. Make it good in the first place, and use computing to judiciously improve it, rather than make it silly heavy and then *need* chips and software to rescue a lazy design.

    That MB isn’t doing more to reduce mass rather than merely mitigating its deleterious effects while piling it on, indicates a failure of culture or willful indifference in a formerly great engineering company. It doesn’t matter. Either of these reasons makes it shameful and cynical for them to field such a car when so much more is possible for the price.

    Phil

  • avatar
    CMM

    doctorV8:

    I think ‘misinformed viewpoint” is a bit unfair when referring to something called a “subjective opinion”. Not everyone enjoys nor needs to mod their vehicles to enjoy “handling like a racecar”, and because they don’t, it doesn’t make their opinion any less valid. As I am sure your brother would agree, in the daily driving world, the CL63 outperforms 99% of the cars on the street. I’ll be the first to agree that it isn’t the most practical thing on the street, but then again I’m not so sure that a 559hp C215 is any more practical or necessarily better,(imo).

  • avatar
    doctorv8

    CMM,

    No offense intended, but even a new Z06 is miles away from being a “full blown race car.” A CL Mercedes is a competent handler, intended to cater to a luxury car buyer who will drive the car with zeal occasionally.

    I understand you are impressed with the handling, and rightly so, for a luxobarge….but I guarantee that the CL63 (and my CL65 for that matter) will be shredding tires and brakes very quickly if subjected to even moderate competitive track sessions.

  • avatar
    Sajeev Mehta

    The current car has a much stronger and yet lighter structure, truer still in spades for the Z06. But then it has real innovation: balsa, magnesium, titanium, SMC, a box tunnel and a weight-saving uniframe — and is profitable — despite being a low-production car. Its pioneering frame hydroforming has found its way into cars from many makers, including sedans.

    Agreed. Maybe some of that would help the Benz, but I bet you can’t get Benz levels of NVH dampening without a lot of its old-school engineering. The C5 and C6 are far from masters in noise control.

    Hell, compare the weight of a C6′s lousy bucket seat (they are all pretty bad, esp compared to the wonderfully heavy Sport Buckets in the C4) to the one inside the absolutely decadent Benz…there’s probably 100 extra lbs of padding in the Mercedes! :)

    A lighter car can match the ride of a heavier car if the suspension is engineered to do so.

    I don’t buy it. A smooth ride comes from inertia of a vehicle almost as much as suspension tuning. That inertia is what creams out bumps that makes lighter cars shimmy and jounce on the same road. My 3800lb Mark VIII runs on cushy air springs, soft shocks and tall 60-series tires, but it still doesn’t ride like a 4200(?) lb Town Car. Not by a long shot.

    And the Toyota Camry LE is another good example: its so softly sprung it flops and wallows in a gentle 30mph corner, but its flimsiness from its lack of weight (the chassis is tight, not the problem) makes a mediocre ride compared to a Crown Vic that weighs 700+lbs more than it. Not that the Camry rides poorly, but compare it to a heavier car with similar suspension tuning…

    Drive a C6 with the active suspension and one without. You will appreciate the intrinsic goodness of the hardware engineering and all the effort GM invested in keeping the car light while adding features.

    I have and Magnaride is impressive…just like Mercedes hydro-whatever suspension. And I’m sure Magnaride is less complicated and weighs less than the Mercedes system. I agree with you there.

    But even a Magnaride Buick doesn’t crush potholes like a big Benz. Speaking of the XLR, its lacking the hefty interior materials and reassuring weight in the doors…the stuff you like in a $60,000+ car. I bet if Cadillac made it more like the SL, it would weigh over 4000lbs: even with the C6s wonderful chassis.

  • avatar
    Jan Andersson

    BMW M5:s “eternal sonic shame”. Well, I don’t know. Idling, yes. But then …

    http://www.automotorsport.se/tv/?m=10646

  • avatar
    213Cobra

    Sajeev,

    …but I bet you can’t get Benz levels of NVH dampening without a lot of its old-school engineering. The C5 and C6 are far from masters in noise control.

    Right, but the Corvette is a sports car, not a luxury coupe. Wringing out the last bit of NVH isn’t a priority. Still, the C5&6 have much lower NVH than a C2 or C3 while being lighter, stronger and faster. And with an extra $95,000 in retail to play with compared to a base C6, don’t you think Mercedes could apply the build principles of the Corvette — or some other lightweight architecture — to a luxury coupe’s more stringent NVH goal? If not, they’re far afield of their alleged prowess.

    A smooth ride comes from inertia of a vehicle almost as much as suspension tuning. That inertia is what creams out bumps that makes lighter cars shimmy and jounce on the same road. My 3800lb Mark VIII runs on cushy air springs, soft shocks and tall 60-series tires, but it still doesn’t ride like a 4200(?) lb Town Car. Not by a long shot.

    Good example, because I have personal experience here, having owned both a Lincoln Mk VIII LSC and a Panther-platform Mercury Marauder in the past, and I’ve put a few thousand miles on Town Car rentals over the last 10 years. First, the Mk VIII had a wheelbase of 113″ vs. the Town Car’s 117″. Yeah, the 4 inches makes a difference. And the Town car also has air springs on the stick axle out back, tuned differently for the application. The Mk VIII was biased more toward performance than the Town Car; the Mark having a 32 cam mill in a lighter-weight unibody and IRS against the Town Car’s floating pumpkin, body-on-frame, less powerful 2v mill and added 500 lbs. of mass. True, the Town Car rides smoother than a Mark VIII, but then its supposed to, by design. However, not because of its weight. The Mercury Marauder, built on the same platform as the Townie but with an updated version of the Mark’s 32 valve engine rode less smoothly than my Mark VIII and far less so than a TC. But that was to be expected. The Marauder’s suspension was biased more toward performance at some cost to comfort, and with bigger wheels and gummier Z-rated rubber than Lincoln chose. It also handled & performed much better than any Town Car, always provoking consternation by Porsche drivers who couldn’t figure out why they couldn’t shake the big mystery sedan in SoCal’s canyons. The only thing the added mass of the Panther platform did compared to the Mark’s was make it more necessary to stiff-arm the dynamics to deliver similar tenacity. The Mark VIII was the more graceful car and as the difference between Mark VIII and LSC showed, suspension tuning, not mass, determined feel.

    The Camry rides poorly compared to a Crown Vic because no thought whatsoever was put into its vehicle dynamics. The Crown Vic’s behavior is informed by its cop car heritage and the exclusive use of a V8 for twist.

    Speaking of the XLR, its lacking the hefty interior materials and reassuring weight in the doors…the stuff you like in a $60,000+ car. I bet if Cadillac made it more like the SL, it would weigh over 4000lbs: even with the C6s wonderful chassis.

    The XLR-V doors are certainly lighter than the SL’s, but they close with a thunk and not a trace of quiver nor rattle. It is already strong. Cadillac rejected the Mercedes approach, so they wouldn’t build the XLRs more like an SL. If they get creative I’m sure they can take another 200 lbs out of the car. There is always a way to make a given car architecture heavier. That’s easy. Let’s make MB and its competitors work harder for getting us to sign for six-figure cars. This CL63 says they are no longer thinking critically.

    As for heavy seats, Herman Miller proved chairs don’t have to be thick and heavy to be ergonomic and strong. Southwest Air found more legroom, comfort and fuel economy in 737s by installing a thinner, lighter and more accommodating seat. There is a lot of potential to do the same thing in cars, and it should be the top end leading the way.

    An automobile design & engineering team gets a brief to deliver a competitive large ultra-luxury sedan/coupe with sporting dynamics, vanishing NVH, luxury credentials, visual panache, and they’re free to select any drivetrain the company has in use or that is scheduled for delivery within the next 3 years. The team has the freedom to field a car with the cost structure of a $150,000 retail offering. There’s only one constraint: weight cannot exceed 3500 lbs or the entire team gets fired. You know in your bones that something other — and better — than a CL63 would be under your nose at launch.

    Phil

  • avatar
    Sajeev Mehta

    The Mercury Marauder, built on the same platform as the Townie but with an updated version of the Mark’s 32 valve engine rode less smoothly than my Mark VIII and far less so than a TC.

    Hey Phil, I guess we’re gonna have to just agree to disagree. The Marauder is another example: its handling is on par with the Mark VIIIs, but I found it rode better. The Panther Marauder just sailed over bumps (I mean the bad stuff, like sinkholes) that the FN-10 Mark VIII “stresses” over.

    Let’s make MB and its competitors work harder for getting us to sign for six-figure cars. This CL63 says they are no longer thinking critically.

    Nah, that’s what Lexus, Audi and other comparative lightweights (ha-ha) are for. Nothing drives like a Benz, and I still feel that the weight is where its at.

  • avatar
    doctorv8

    People who cross shop SLs and XLRs will not be impressed with the Caddy’s ride quality. As the owner of numerous Vettes, currently a Lingenfelter ZR-1, F55 Magneride supercharged C5, and C6 Z06…I was prepared to fall in love with the XLR-V….but while I agree with the weight savings objectives….the XLR still rode only a bit better than my Dynomatted, minitubbed, non runflat equipped F55 C5….just not in the league of a big benz with active body control. I’m a huge fan of the Magnetorheological shock technology, but the heavy, complicated MB ABC affords a smoother ride by far. We won’t even get into the cheaper looking interior of the Caddy…it doesn’t look like an $80,000 interior, much less $100k.

    Again…WANTED to love the XLR….but am happy with my MB.

  • avatar

    doctorv8:

    I couldn’t agree more.

  • avatar
    shoes

    I will leave the issue of enhancing the writer’s profile section to the editor but will try to give a brief reply to AndyR’s request for my automotive curriculum vitae:

    Everyone of us who reads or writes for this site is, by definition, a car nut. I am 55 years old and have spent the last 40 years in quest of the “perfect car”. Along the way, I have owned 130 of them. Of course, I hang out a lot at car dealers, but the car I want is always coming out next year, so I travel to car shows around the world to learn more. As long as I was working this hard to satisfy my own interests, I found it personally rewarding to share my knowledge and experience with others.

  • avatar
    213Cobra

    DocV8,

    Robert Farago and I went round and round on the XLR-v vs. SL-AMG in the thread from his review of the XLR-v, so anyone who wanted to know what I think about that can find it there in detail. Suffice to say here, for now, that I did cross-shop the XLR-V and the SL-AMG and far preferred the Cadillac over the leaden Mercedes. The Merc’s bloat was the defining characteristic of the car, despite the active suspension capably mitigating the quarter ton of surplus bulk.

    What I think most who prefer the SL’s ride dislike is the V’s run-flat tires. Plus, Robert didn’t like (and IMO overstated) the minor skittishness of the Corvette platform’s transverse leaf spring suspension on bumpy corners. I don’t mind it and it’s easily anticipated and controlled.

    However, it’s the run-flats that are the chief irritant to the SL intender evaluating an XLR-V. I’ve driven a V with conventional, gummier rubber and the ride quality is much more like the SL’s, but with added grip and directional responsiveness.

    The platform-sister Corvette Z06 does not use run-flats for pure performance reasons. No doubt conventional rubber would improve both ride quality, suppleness on imperfect pavement, and grip on the XLR-V. However, anyone who remembers the Ennis Cosby murder from a decade ago, while he was changing a flat on his SL600 in the wee hours on the shoulder of the 405, may see run-flats as a superior luxury appropriate to the genre.

    I gladly gave up the SL’s added fat to get a more nimble experience with better dynamic immediacy than the SL. Point here is that it is factors other than mass that chiefly define ride. A company with a hi-po two seater 300 lbs on the wrong side of two tons isn’t making a strong engineering impression on me.

    The interiors are irrelevant to this discussion. The XLR-V interior is fine. It’s hard to take criticism of it seriously when the SL interior is so overwrought and its technology integration obtuse compared to the straightforward Cadillac.

    Phil

  • avatar
    doctorv8

    Phil,

    1) The C6 Z06 does indeed have runflats as std equipment. They are superior to the C5′s first gen GY runflats, which I summarily trashed on both C5′s I owned within days of purchase. No question the XLR would ride better without them. But thanks to the folding top, you cannot fit Corvette sized rubber in those cramped wheelwells, and spindly swaybars….limiting ultimate grip. My F55 C5 rides just about as well on wide 35 series gumballs, and adding Z06 swaybars allows sports car reflexes with its XLR caliber ride quality.

    2) Look at the XLR vs SL sales numbers, as well as resale values….as they illustrate, you are in the minority.

    I am historically a huge American car fan, but in this case, the Germans haven’t had much to worry about. Smooth ride and decent handling win out over the quasi-nimble XLR in the luxo-GT category 9 times out of 10. I can only hope the next gen car drives and feels more upscale.

  • avatar
    213Cobra

    Doc,

    I missed the detail of run-flats now being deployed on the Z06. The C5 Z06 did not, and the C6 Z06 I’ve driven already had aftermarket rubber on it. Our CTS-V has F1s (not F1 Supercar) on it and while they are sticky compared to earlier-gen run-flats, they aren’t any softer riding than the Pirelli Eufori’s on our XLR-V. However, I am getting more than double miles out of the Eufori compared to the F1.

    As for being in the minority, I don’t mind. GM didn’t attempt to outsell the SL with their first offering in the category, not even lining up the production capacity in drivetrains to do so. It will take some years to play out, and of course GM’s will to stick with the car and evolve it will be tested.

    You have an enviable array of Corvettes. I’ve had a ZR1 and an LT4 C4; skipped C5 and will probably grab a late C6 or early C7 of some sort.

    Phil

  • avatar
    doctorv8

    Thanks Phil. Love that CTS-V.

    Sorry for the off topic, Jay and RF.

  • avatar
    LamborghiniZ

    Solid review man, appreciate you guys actually being realistic with this machine, whereas Car and Drive & Co. blow it off as being a weak, pointless alternative to the CL600..which it most certainly is not.

  • avatar
    AKILEZ

    When I drive a Benz I feel like a D.O.M (Dirty Old Man) with a 21 yr old girl with me.

    So, if it’s German it is Durable and fast.lol give it a 5 star but if it’s just an Econobox that is well built it only gonna get 2 star.
    Thank god we never Colonized by the Germans because we will have a tremendous Colonial Mentallity that German cars are better than any other cars.

  • avatar
    KingElvis

    Don’t hate the CLS because she’s beautiful.

    I agree with NICKNICK – the wheel flares ruin this car – same with the S series.

    And for the weight watchers: 4500lbs isn’t THAT bad. This is a full size car afterall. The lightest full size reg cab, short bed pickup weighs almost as much.

  • avatar
    wsn

    Now MB is mass-producing these AMG63′s?

    I remembered that Jay reviewed ML63 and R63 before and praised them. But really, IMO, the lack of uniqueness alone kills any remaining appeal of these cars.

    When you give a car 5 stars, you got to be able to justify your decision. It’s not enough that the CL performs better than a Corolla. Is it better than your R8? Are you giving the R8 3 stars in contrast? I mean, when everyone gets 5 stars, 5 star pretty much equals 1 star.

  • avatar
    wsn

    Replying to qfrog:

    These cars are not my cup of chai.

    LOL, you want to drink fire wood? Or, did you actually mean “cha” (tea)?

  • avatar
    wsn

    Replying to 213Cobra:

    For $140,000, anyone can build a car that handles, and drop in a reasonably sophisticated lump of power.

    Exactly. Toyota can build as good a car at this price point, if profitability is not an objective.

    Toyota hasn’t done so, because the share holders and the management place profit above vanity.

  • avatar
    CMM

    wsn-
    Based on your theory of review rules, only one vehicle would ever qualify for 5 stars, since there can only be one grand prize winner. I think reviews of this nature, including the car magazines, review, rank and rate each vehicle on a relative comparison basis. For example, if your R8 or Corolla reference would have been a Continental GT or something more similar to the CL, then your question of the 5 star rating would have been more valid.

    Doctorv8-
    After reading several more of the posts here, I can now see how my “full blown race car” comment may have been taken incorrectly. Based on the quality and passion of many of the posters here, I have seen that the term “racecar” is not used lightly. I stand corrected and will now only use the term “expressway entrance ramp racecar” to more suitably reflect the “track” ability of the CL63. I will say however, that it may not “smoke” a ZO6, but is sure a surprize for just about everything else on the road. There are not many 4500lb cars in my neighborhood that can run like this CL.

  • avatar
    doctorv8

    CMM,

    No doubt, your CL63 is in the 99th percentile of performance out there. I’m looking forward to sampling one to compare to my previous gen CL65 soon….even more so after reading Jay’s informative and entertaining review.

    So…is it true that the new CL’s don’t have the complex door hinges of the old W215?

  • avatar
    CMM

    If you saw the mechanism, you almost wouldn’t believe it. The door is still mounted to the body with 2 typical door hinges but the real news is the single hydraulic assembly that allows you to literaly have an infinite amount of detents when opening and closing. The door stops anywhere you want it to stop, all because of a simple 1/4″ steel rod.

  • avatar
    wsn

    Replying to CMM:

    Based on your theory of review rules, only one vehicle would ever qualify for 5 stars, since there can only be one grand prize winner. I think reviews of this nature, including the car magazines, review, rank and rate each vehicle on a relative comparison basis. For example, if your R8 or Corolla reference would have been a Continental GT or something more similar to the CL, then your question of the 5 star rating would have been more valid.

    In a college class, only about 10% get A, the next 10% get A-, and so on. It’s not necessarily only one, but could be just one, given how few alternatives are out there. All I said was that rating itself is meaningless, without a comparison.

    We cannot just say the CL63 handles well. Because it doesn’t. We can only say the CL63 handle better than [insert a car here], or worse than [insert another]. Get my point?

    I don’t know exactly what score the CL63 should get, since I cannot afford it and won’t have a chance to test drive the Continental GT.

    But the Corolla probably should get A- (4.5 stars) in its class. I would list Civic at A, Focus at B, Cobalt at B-, and Caliber at C. Not that my ratings are super accurate. I just don’t rate everyone within the same class with the top score.

    My post mentioned R8, simply because Jay bought an R8 for himself and I never read any review of the Bentley from him. You don’t need to be that picky. And BTW, in term of brand prestige, Audi are more comparable to MB.

  • avatar
    shoes

    The dynamics of the Bentley GT do not compare favorably with the CL63. The Bentley is 1,000 pounds heavier and lacks the CL63′s active body control. The Bentley interior is a far prettier place. The Audi R8 is a pure sportscar and is really not relevant to this discussion of GT’s.

  • avatar
    wsn

    Replying to shoes:
    The dynamics of the Bentley GT do not compare favorably with the CL63. The Bentley is 1,000 pounds heavier and lacks the CL63’s active body control. The Bentley interior is a far prettier place. The Audi R8 is a pure sportscar and is really not relevant to this discussion of GT’s.

    Even though no two cars are positioned identically, people will continue cross-shopping them as long as they are in the same price range.

    The MB CL vs. Bentley GT comparison is very similar to the Civic vs. Corolla comparison. The former being the better handling one, while the latter is softer and more comfortable.

    Ever heard of people cross-shopping Corolla and Civic? I did, plenty of times. And magazines do compare them on a score basis.

  • avatar

    wsn, don’t assume everyone uses the same foreign language(s) you do. “chai” may mean “fire wood” in whatever language you’re thinking of (Japanese?), but in others (like Russian, ISTR), it means… “tea”.

    HTH!

  • avatar

    The new CL is by far the best looking CL, especially in the AMG guise.

    Check out this Fleet.TV’s review of the CL63 AMG.


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