Mercedes gave up building mere automobiles a long time ago. The current obsession is building ground-bound rolling rockets like their latest offering, the 2012 CLS63 AMG. Not only does it have the thrust to reach orbit but also the looks to impress any advanced civilization.
The original CLS defined the modern 4-door coupe concept with its release in 2004. The 2012 CLS63 sharpens the aesthetics but looks to be more of an evolution of the same design with most of the improvements being seen under the skin. The design team at AMG focused on efficiency as much as performance improvement, but when we are talking about Mercedes, more power always seems to creep in. The CLS63, which was powered by an almost appropriately sized 6.2-liter V8 is now powered by a completely non sequitur 5.5-liter direct injection twin turbo V8. The M157 engine is actually 33 percent more fuel efficient than the previous unit while producing an extra 43 hp and 85 pound-feet of torque bringing numbers up to 550 hp and 590 pound-feet with the optional Performance Package. With those kinds of numbers they can call it the CLSuzan and no one would care.
Leaning away from the industry trend of dual-clutch transmissions, AMG has chosen the Speedshift MCT 7-speed unit first used on the SL63. It replaces a traditional torque convertor with an electronically controlled wet-clutch. The transmission has four modes of operation; sport, sport+, manual and Controlled efficiency. In Sport+, Race Start function provides launch control and Controlled Efficiency employees a start/stop function to increase fuel mileage.
The CLS63’s suspension has been updated to match the new power output as well. The steering system now utilizes a variable assist feature that not only increases steering response and comfort but also increases efficiency by only operating at the level currently needed. Adjustable ride height and variable damping allow the driver to select from Comfort, Sport and Sport Plus modes at the touch of a button. All of these options add up to a car that can be tailored to individual driver’s tastes and the needs at hand.
Since no space craft is complete without electronics, Mercedes employees a fair share of those as well. Stability and traction control are standard on all Mercedes cars, but they really earn their money on the AMG models. With so much power on tap, they are constantly working to keep the vehicles pointing where the driver is aiming. Mercedes ahs also introduced The Driver Assistant Package, which in the past would have meant someone to hold your helmet when you got out of the car. The modern version includes active blind spot assistance, active lane keeping assistance and DISTRONIC Plus. All three systems help keep inattentive drivers from becoming inattentive accident victims. The lane changing and blind spot assistance will apply the brakes to one rear wheel at a time to steer the car in order to keep the driver from drifting into other vehicles or oncoming lanes. DISTRONIC PLUS will apply the brakes when an imminent collision is detected.
Several other options will be offered at roll-out including a new full-LED lighting package that will not only consume less power but also increase safety with a total of 71 LED lights and Adaptive Highbeam Assist. Theo ptional “Launch Edition” will feature Matte Mangnit Gray Magno paint. We can only guess that is not-so shiny version of gray paint. The Interior will be done in Corteccia Pearl Designo Leather which is said to have a shimmering metallic surface finish, we imagine this will not look like your teenage daughter borrowed your car wearing too much body glitter, but we can’t say for sure. Floor mats will cut from black velour and edged in the same shimmering seat leather while the A,B and C pillars will be upholstered in anthracite alcantera. To finish the package, all AMG trim elements will be finished in piano carbon fiber black.
US Market launch of the 2012 Mercedes CLS63 is expected in the summer of 2011. Buyers anxious to see the SLS inspired 4-door coupe will have their first chance at the LA Auto Show. We assume it will make appearances at following shows, so everyone has a chance to wrap their hands around the flat top and bottom steering wheel and dream of launching into a different world, quickly.