Mercedes CL65 AMG Review

Sajeev Mehta
by Sajeev Mehta
mercedes cl65 amg review

Albert Einstein posited that energy is equal to mass times the speed of light squared. The Mercedes Benz CL65 AMG provides a new definition: energy equals horsepower at the speed of light for squares. Relativity speaking, the big Merc’s top end is significantly less than the cosmic speed limit of 670,616,629.384 mph. Subjectively, that number feels about right. In fact, the CL 65 is Die Grosse Bang on wheels, an automotive event that warps the time space continuum to the point where I swear I wrote this review tomorrow.

Forget supercar silhouettes. Mercedes’ rolling physics lesson sports a style more befitting Bloomingdale's parking lot than a car collector’s humidity controlled habitation. The CL 65's gorgeous pillarless hardtop and rakish lines say trophy wife boulevardier like no other. To appease alpha males who dare spend $186k on what could be their wife's car, Affalterbach's Mercmeisters festoon the CL with AMG-spec trimmings and the requisite badge blingery ("V12 BiTurbo" adorns the fenders), slip on some split five-spoke wheels and drop the stance.

The CL 65’s cabin sees the standard CL's chips and goes all in. The iron-fisted beast stocks a plethora of solenoid-backed assistants: ventilated seats, navigation, keyless-go, power closing doors, etc. The model also brings Merc into the e-generation, complete with iPodability, remote electronic diagnostics, emergency door unlock and alarm notification, cell phone and satellite radio connectivity. There’s even a concierge button to hook you up with a human to explains how it all works.

All is not perfection, though. While the CL 65's doors, dash and parcel shelf are upholstered in hides naughtier than a Dormitron Bondage actress' wardrobe, and the thrones have more lateral support than sports coupes half its size (which is, let’s face it, all of them), the steering wheel is wrapped with a disappointing mix of vinyl and hard leather. The headlight's high-resistance rotary knob cracks into position like a realigned vertebra. The ten-speaker Bose stereo is mediocre, trumped by high-value sedan boom boxes. The CL's organic curves may thumb their nose at Mercedes’ austere heritage, but they'd also feel right at home in a Hyundai Sonata.

But it's so not a Sonata. The CL65 AMG is a 4750lb two-door with a twelve-pot twin-turbo motor with enough power (604hp) and torque (738 ft-lbs. @ 2 – 4000 rpm) to reverse the planet's rotation. With so much twist underfoot, the CL's luxo-coupe forward progress is infinitely serene; you can arrive at your destination without the slightest clue how you got there. Even with 35-series tires the CL 65 never crashes, thuds or thumps. Roll down all four windows for a big-bore hardtop coupe experience not available since the Nixon administration.

Depress your right shoe at anything more than quarter-throttle and the ESP traction control light starts blinking Morse code: your… license… is… in… grave… danger… The CL 65 AMG lays down the grunt like a big-block Chevelle on Mickey Thompsons. The stats say zero to sixty takes four point five second of your time, but the truth is you're gone almost before you start. Close the glass, get your speed on and the sound insulation, aerodynamics and massive weight remove all sensation of speed. A glance at the speedometer is your only indication that a police helicopter may be struggling to reach your 10-20.

Unfortunately, surrendering sackfuls of cash to your Mercedes dealer does not get you a "Get Out of Jail Free" card. Good thing, then, that the CL 65's dinner plate-sized cross drilled rotors scrub speed off Merc’s mega machine with eyeball popping confidence. Cornering Daimler’s turbo-tank is as easy as ABC (Active Body Control). Reasonably communicative steering and the aforementioned e-Nanny intervention keep death at bay through all but the tightest twisties. A Cayman S it ain’t, but the CL’s electro-hydro suspension and gummy Michelins provide enough grip to let you go fast enough to want to slow down in a hurry. And when those curves straighten out, the CL 65 is an unstoppable force.

Attention well-heeled sports car lovers: why brandish a scalpel when you can throw a sledgehammer? Ah, but which one? Mercedes offers several variations of blunt force trauma for one's two door hardtop lifestyle. There's the V8, the bigger V8, the blown V8 and two boosted V12’s. Aside from the usual AMG dot com bubble-style depreciation curve, the top-dog CL 65 makes a convincing case for itself. The choice rims have plenty of snob appeal and the extra turbo boost makes it the ideal car for Baby Zoomers with Adrenal Deficiency Disorder. Or a physics degree.

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  • Sajeev Mehta Sajeev Mehta on Sep 26, 2006

    Oh yeah, that was a nice one. From the outside, that V12 sounds pretty mean for an exhaust system with two turbos, two resonators, and two mufflers hushing everything down.

  • Doctorv8 Doctorv8 on Sep 26, 2006

    Not to mention two catalytic convertors. I think the mufflers and resonators gotta go...then it would sound wicked, and probably pick up a bit of power as well. The turbos, cats and 300 lbs of insulation should still keep it civilized while cruising.

  • Kat Laneaux Wonder if they will be able to be hacked into (the license plates) and then you get pulled over for invalid license plates or better yet, someone steal your car and transpose numbers to show that they are the owners. Just a food for thought.
  • Tassos Government cheese for millionaires, while idiot Joe biden adds trillions to the debt.What a country (IT ONCE WAS!)
  • Tassos screw the fat cat incompetents. Let them rot. No deal.
  • MaintenanceCosts I think if there's one thing we can be sure of given Toyota's recent decisions it's that the strongest version of the next Camry will be a hybrid. Sadly, the buttery V6 is toast.A Camry with the Highlander/Sienna PSD powertrain would be basically competitive in the sedan market, with the slow death of V6 and big-turbo options. But for whatever reason it seems like that powertrain is capacity challenged. Not sure why, as there's nothing exotic in it.A Camry with the Hybrid Max powertrain would be bonkers, easily the fastest thing in segment. It would likewise be easy to build; again, there's nothing exotic in the Hybrid Max powertrain. (And Hybrid Max products don't seem to be all that constrained, so far.)
  • Analoggrotto The readers of TTAC deserve better than a bunch of Kia shills posing as journalists.