First Look: 2011 Mercedes-Benz CL63 AMG and CL65 AMG

2011 Mercedes-Benz CL63 AMG

World-class luxury and mind-altering performance, a rate combination of traits that few automakers are capable of bringing to the table. Mercedes-Benz is one such automaker and its latest creations, the AMG versions of the new 2011 CL-Class, certainly fit the bill.

Leading the charge is the 2011 Mercedes-Benz CL63 AMG. Yes, we know. It didn't make sense to call it "63" when the engine actually displaced 6.2 liters and it makes even less sense now that it displaces only 5.5 liters. Still, there's a lot of cachet in the 63 moniker, so it stays. With this kind of performance, you really won't care anyway.

It may sound like we're talking about the 382-horspower 5.5-liter V-8 in the old CL550, but that isn't even close. This new mill straps on a pair of turbos that pump up to 14.5 psi of boost into the engine, creating up to 563 horsepower and 664 pound-feet of torque. We say "up to" because that output is not only optional, but it will cost you extra. Mercedes won't yet say how much extra, but if you don't pop for the optional AMG Performance Package, your CL63 AMG will get only 536 horsepower and 590 pound-feet.

Opt for the less expensive model and you'll still hit 60 mph in a claimed 4.4 seconds on the way to a limited 155 mph top speed. Double down on the Performance Package and you'll get there a bit quicker, hitting 60 mph in a claimed 4.3 seconds on the way to a limited top speed of 186 mph. That's up to 0.3 seconds quicker than the claimed 0-to-60 mph time of the previous CL63 AMG and on par with the last CL65 AMG.

You also get better efficiency to go with all your extra performance. Integrating the turbochargers into the exhaust manifolds keeps lag down and increases efficiency to the point that Mercedes did away with the blow-off valve, relying instead on a vacuum-operated waste gate to manage pressure. "Pulsation holes" in the crank case even out air pressure to reduce pumping losses while variable cam timing can infinitely adjust both the intake and exhaust cams up to 40 degrees each for maximum performance or economy. A two-mode oil cooling system helps get the engine up to temperature quickly and catalytic converters integrated into the exhaust just after the turbos scrub the exhaust the instant it leaves the turbines.

The result is a claimed reduction in CO2 emission of 30 g per kilometer and 27-percent better fuel economy. Based on EPA numbers for the previous model, that equates to CO2 emissions of 1.14 pounds of CO2 per mile, down from 1.46 pounds per mile. More importantly to most consumers, that means fuel economy could be as high as 14 mpg city and 23 mpg highway, up from 11 mpg city and 18 mpg highway. All in all, not too bad for a car believed to weigh over 4700 pounds.

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