The CL65 AMG is the epitome of a German grand tourer, a unique beast that’s half sybaritic sled, half sport coupe. Good God Almighty: There’s so much torque on tap from the twin-turbo V-12 engine, it can barely get to the ground, especially if the 20-inch Dunlop tires are cold. You’ll be lighting up the rear tires with just the slightest misapplication of your right foot to the accelerator. Forward thrust belies the vehicle’s 5000-pound curb weight, and the CL65 hungers for open freeways where it can hurtle along effortlessly at triple digits. Despite our test example’s matte paint, this is still a pretty understated car compared with competitors like the Bentley Continental GT. A new S-class is coming soon, and not far behind it will be a new S-class coupe (Mercedes is going to dump the CL badging). There’s no word yet whether this wonderful twin-turbo V-12 powertrain will still be offered, so if you’ve been wanting to join the twelve-cylinder club, there’s no time like the present.
Joe DeMatio, Deputy Editor
This car made me entertain thoughts of becoming a police-evading fugitive. One’s chances of getting away would be uncommonly good, I think. This car is ridiculously capable at very high speeds, and it almost sorta blends in. The massaging Designo leather seats could help calm runaway criminals, too. Most people would have to rob a bank just to buy and feed a car like this, though.
I highly recommend against ever turning off this AMG’s stability control. The safety net very frequently steps in to keep the car pointed in the right direction and to keep the tires from smoking like a Top Fueler’s burnout. And that’s when you’re keeping the accelerator well off of the floorboard. Bury the gas pedal and the CL65 tries to break loose again when the turbos spool after the shift into second gear; at about 55 mph the car will tug sideways. Like I said, turning off stability control is a bad idea in this car.
Rusty Blackwell, Copy Editor
The CL65 was parked right outside our office door, backed into its parking spot so the tailpipes were pointed toward the building. I hopped in and, immediately upon hitting the ignition, depressed the throttle a couple of times just to hear the noise of that brawny V-12. It was mere seconds before associate editor David Zenlea rushed outside to find out what was making that rousing noise.
If the CL65 is that much fun when it’s standing still, imagine what it’s like to drive. It’s hard to describe just what it feels like to have that much power — 621 hp and an almost inconceivable 738 lb-ft of torque — at your command. Prod the accelerator, and you are traveling at extralegal speeds almost before you’ve had a chance to look down at the speedometer — it all happens so effortlessly you wouldn’t notice, but for the fact that the landscape is traveling by your windows so quickly. Yet you can also be happy when you’re driving more sedately, because the interior is as comfortable (and probably better furnished) than your living room and is packed full of almost every conceivable luxury option.
Having said that, driving this car made me sort of a nervous wreck, because I was keenly aware of its $228,000 as-tested price. Driving a car that’s worth as much as my house had me obsessively checking the rearview mirror every time I encountered to a red light or a stop sign, fearful that I would be rear-ended. As much fun as it is to drive the CL65, I fear that I’m not in the right tax bracket for such a car.
Amy Skogstrom, Managing Editor
2013 Mercedes-Benz CL65 AMG
MSRP (with destination): $216,205
PRICE AS TESTED: $228,415
6.0-liter DOHC twin-turbocharged V-12
Horsepower: 621 hp @ 4800 rpm
Torque: 738 lb-ft @ 2300 rpm
WHEELS AND TIRES:
20-inch aluminum wheels
255/35R-20 97Y Dunlop SP Sport Maxx GT front tires
275/35R-20 102Y Dunlop SP Sport Maxx GT rear tires
FUEL ECONOMY (city/highway/combined):
Cargo: 13.5 cu ft
Legroom (front/rear): 42.2/32.2 in
Headroom (front/rear): 36.9/36.4 in
Designo Magno Platinum/Black
Active body control suspension
Torque vectoring brakes
Keyless entry and ignition
Active multi-contour front seats
Interior ambient lighting
Automatic dual-zone climate control
Power rear sunshade
Ventilated front seats
Power-folding exterior mirrors
Auto-dimming exterior mirrors and rearview mirror
Harman/Kardon surround sound audio system
SiriusXM satellite radio w/6-month trial subscription
Bi-xenon headlights w/curve illumination
Adaptive highbeam assist
Forward collision assist
Active lane keeping and blind spot assist
Night View Plus
OPTIONS ON THIS VEHICLE:
Designo magno platinum matte paint- $3950
Black 20-inch forged aluminum AMG wheels- $500
Designo jet black edition interior- $7050
Heated wood and leather steering wheel
Designo black leather-trimmed interior
Split-view screen- $700
KEY OPTIONS NOT ON THIS VEHICLE:
Illuminated door sills- $1000
Mercedes-Benz claims the CL65 AMG can go from zero to 60 mph in 4.3 seconds on its way to a top speed of 186 mph.