REVIEWS: 2013 Mercedes-Benz CL550

August 2, 2013
2013 Mercedes Benz CL550 Front Left Side View 1
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The CL reminds me of a killer whale, and not just because its air suspension sometimes emits a certain "pfft" that sounds like a blowhole. Rather, it's the way the CL glides effortlessly glide down the road, feeling every bit like the 4600-pound luxo-barge that it is, only to then accelerate like a muscle car or grip through a corner like a sport sedan. And this is the base model.
There's been a lot of hand wringing in the press lately about the direction Mercedes is headed with its higher volume, lower-priced CLA and upcoming GLA crossover. I say the brand is just fine if it can continue to build cars like this.
David Zenlea, Associate Editor
2013 Mercedes Benz CL550 Front Left Side View 1
It's cars like this, the all-important S-Class sedan and its meaningless CL-Class coupe, that make it possible for Mercedes to sell the CLA and GLA at premium prices. The CL-class is downright anachronistic, though, reminding me of a modern-day Cadillac Coupe de Ville more than anything else. It has good road manners in corners thanks to adjustable dampers and wide, 20-inch diameter tires, but mostly it's all about reclining the massaging heated/cooled driver's seat back a few degrees and rolling down the freeway at extra-legal speeds. Massive brakes will bring you back down to safe double-digits when you spot that Fife and the biturbo V-8 will get you back up to speed as soon as you wish. The car looks fabulous in its Designo trim package -- when Mercedes launched Designo in the late '90s, some of the first SLKs with it were a bit too much. My wife enjoys spending the first 15 minutes of the drive adjusting the front passenger seat's lumbar support and massage features, and yes, she likes the dynamic bolsters that support your right knee and thigh in left-hand corners and your left knee and thigh in right-hand corners.
2013 Mercedes Benz CL550 Front View 5
This particular CL550 is a lame duck. The new S-class sedan is just coming out, and within a year, Mercedes will complement it with the S-class coupe, which helps ensure that it will beat the BMW 7 Series and Audi A8 in the sales charts. Not by much, though -- big luxury two-door coupes always have very low volume sales. If I were a raconteur who operated slightly outside the law, I could see myself "retiring" to Buenos Aires with a straw fedora, two-tone shoes, and this car.
Todd Lassa, Executive Editor
2013 Mercedes Benz CL550 Engine 13

2013 Mercedes-Benz CL550

MSRP (with destination): $116,205
4.7-liter DOHC twin-turbocharged V-8
Horsepower: 429 hp @ 5250 rpm
Torque: 516 lb-ft @ 1800-3500 rpm
7-speed automatic
20-inch aluminum wheels
255/35ZR-20 Continental SportContact 2 tires
FUEL ECONOMY (city/highway/combined):
15/24/18 mpg
4619 lb
Doors/Passengers: 2/4
Cargo: 13.5 cu ft
Legroom (front/rear): 42.2/32.2 in
Headroom (front/rear): 36.9/36.4 in
Towing: N/A
Mocha Black/Black
4Matic all-wheel drive
Air suspension
Brake-based torque vectoring
Keyless entry and ignition
Parktronic w/front and rear parking assist
Power sunroof
Automatic dual-zone climate control
Leather-trimmed interior
Power rear sunshade
Heated and ventilated front seats
Power folding exterior mirrors
Auto-dimming rearview mirror and exterior mirrors
Harman/Kardon surround sound audio system
SiriusXM satellite radio w/6-month trial subscription
Xenon headlights
Splitview- $710
Designo Mocha Black paint- $2300
20-inch 10-spoke aluminum wheels- $2020
Premium package 2- $3490

Rearview camera
Active multicontour seats
Night view assist plus
Driver assistance package- $2950
Distronic plus
Active blind spot assist
Active lane-keeping assist
Grand Edition package- $2630
Designo exterior paint, interior upholstery, and headliner
Sport side skirts, and front and rear fascias
Heated steering wheel- $490
For 2013, the CL's Grand Edition package is available with a choice of 3 Designo paints and 3 Designo interiors, as well as AMG styling and 20-inch aluminum wheels.
Aston Martin DB9, Bentley Continental GT, BMW 650i xDrive, Jaguar XKR coupe


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