The Mercedes CL550 is one of the most exclusive Mercedes models sold on our side of the pond. With the highest base MSRP of any non-AMG product, and rarer on American roads than all but the boxy G-class and the incredibly rare SLS AMG, the CL plays in quite a different league than the S-class on which it is based. I am told that Ford sells more F150s in a day the CL’s yearly sales figure and judging by the number I see on the road, I am inclined to agree. The CL was separated from the S-Class line in 1998 to help aid in the exclusive reputation of the model. For those that wonder, CL supposedly stands for Comfort Leicht (or Comfort Light in my native tongue). The comfort is obvious (and mandatory at this price point), but “light” must truly be a relative term as the CL tips the scales at a biscuits-and-gravy fed 4,700lbs. Does this matter? Let’s find out.
Once upon a time, luxury cars were defined by giant drop-top land barges like Cadillac’s V-16 or the Bugatti Royale. Somewhere along the way, the luxury sedan-turned-convertible has fallen out of favor with the glaring exception of one of the world’s most expensive cars: the Rolls-Royce Phantom Drophead. But now, having pioneered the four-door coupe and (coming soon) the five-door coupe, Mercedes-Benz’s endless search for “new” segments has it looking backwards to the good old days of massive top-down touring luxury.
One of these cars is two years old and has a base price of £19,365 in the UK (it is not sold in the US), while the other is brand-spankety new and starts at £88,325 in that same UK market (it arrives stateside this fall). Which is which? And, since this is an easy one for the crazy car-identification ninjas that prowl this site, is this much family resemblance good or bad for Mercedes?
An AMG-tuned S Class Coupe prototype (note that the CL moniker has been dropped) gets stuck in a drift while testing in the icy north. Auto Motor und Sport reports that it took the combined efforts of an ML prototype and an S Class prototype to pull the beast from its icy resting place. Sportisch!