There's now another compelling reason to want to be rich. The CL65 AMG, the beautiful S-Class-based coupe with a 6.0-liter V12 tickled by two turbochargers. It will cost around $190,000 when it goes on sale in October. But to be able to purchase something that has such style, performance, luxury and attention to detail is a rare treat, even for the monied classes.
We've already seen the AMG 40th Anniversary Edition (ec, July 2007, page 42) with the snarky Alubeam 'liquid metal' paint job. This is pretty much the same, but covered with normal paint. The big difference is finally getting behind the wheel. With 604 hp and 737 lb-ft all waiting to be tapped by a mere twitch of the accelerator pedal, the CL65 is nothing short of awesome. It's almost as if the mere wish of overtaking a car is immediately fulfilled, a straight becomes shortened at the speed of imagination. All to the tune of a subtle yet thrilling exhaust note.
Those twin turbos are there to make sure nothing has to work too hard, not a valve spring or an ankle muscle. If there's one thing more remarkable than the CL65's acceleration, it's the effortless way this acceleration is achieved.
Of course, the car is far from all brawn and no brain. The sports suspension is based on Mercedes' Active Body Control, it also features the Pre-Safe occupant protection system, Distronic intelligent cruise control, and self-bolstering front seats that respond to cornering forces. AMG has installed its high-performance braking system with twin sliding calipers up front, which is claimed to be a world first, said to combine the advantages of a floating caliper (less heat transfer to brake fluid) with the performance of a fixed caliper.
Sending power through to the rear wheels is a five-speed automatic transmission with Comfort, Sport and Manual modes (the latter is operated with paddle shifters under the steering wheel). Mode selection will also change suspension settings accordingly. The difference during everyday driving is perceptible, but not marked.
Because of the car's long wheelbase and because its foundation is one of the world's finest luxury cars, the CL65's ride quality combines sybaritic comfort with exacting control. It isn't light, but still feels agile.
Standard equipment includes M-B's COMAND navigation system, a DVD player and sound system, and Poplar wood trim (there's a carbon fiber option). The wood, when taken in conjunction with the diamond-stitched leather seats, does verge on bling, but the car is tasteful and tasty enough to get away with it.
Naturally, we all want to be rich so we can perform great acts of philanthropy. But a nice house with a CL65 AMG in the garage are a couple of perks surely no one could begrudge.
2008 amg CL65
Longitudinal front engine, rear-wheel drive
6.0-liter V12, sohc, 36-valve
Four-link w/Active Body Control (f), multi-link w/Active Body Control (r)
Vented and perforated composite rotors all around
*Wheels & tires
8.5x20 (f), 9.5x20 (r)
255/35 (f), 275/35 (r)
Length x width x height (in.): 200.2 x 73.7 x 55.8
Curb Weight: 4938.4 lb
Peak Power: 604 hp @ 4800 rpm
Peak Torque: 737 lb-ft @ 2000 rpm
0-62 mph: 4.4 sec.
Top Speed: 155 mph
*Why we love it
Tremendous engine, surprisingly nimble
*Why we don't
Not exactly a bargain
The Price Tag: $190,000 (est.)