2007 Mercedes-Benz CL65 AMG

Shamit Choksey

But there's a flip side: the sheer size of this yacht is something that just can't be ignored. The car's girth takes up so much roadway that its large presence is somewhat of a tight fit on just about any two-lane passage--an issue that will certainly impede on one's desire to go into full-tilt road-carving mode when the venue calls for it.

But if you decide to go wild anyway, you'll have tons of stopping power to back you up. Reigning in forward momentum are front brakes armed with twin-sliding calipers, combining the virtues of a floating caliper with the high-performance abilities of a large fixed one. The massive rotors are vented and cross-drilled.

The CL65 is shaped like the rest of the CLs, so you either love it or you don't. It looks either classy and regal or pretentious and weird. Its wide Roadmaster-esque presence may find a fonder reception from a more senior generation. And the missing B-pillar is one of those "eye of the beholder" things, though it certainly gives the interior a more open, panoramic feel with the windows down, especially for the somewhat tightly situated rear-seaters.

But what does set the visuals apart are the CL65's amped-up AMG appendages, namely the quad pipes out back. The rear diffuser is available in carbon fiber, which gives the coupe a hardcore look that is further advanced by the vertical side air vents, and of course, twenty-inch, twin-spoke wheels wearing 255/35ZR tires in front, 275/35ZR in the rear.

Being the fortieth anniversary of AMG, Mercedes also offers this CL65 in a super-exclusive limited edition. Coated in Alubeam, essentially a liquid metal paint job, this version takes on the coloring of Arnie's silvery shape-shifting nemesis from Terminator 2. Mercedes is making only forty vehicles for this elite anniversary group, twenty of which will be available in the U.S.

Within, find just what you'd expect: severe refinement and world-class opulence. The plush cabin broods the intimacy of a cozy lounge made for sipping brandy and puffing fine tobacco. The Drive Dynamic seats are as soft and comfortable as a La-Z-Boy during normal motoring, but hold you perfectly in place with inflatable side bolsters during aggressive maneuvers. And the CL's sound system pipes in music that makes you believe you're in the actual studio while the artist is recording it. It is utterly mind-blowing.

Ultimately, the CL65 AMG is one of the most powerful luxury-cruisers ever put together. With monstrous under-the-hood prowess, superb long distance comfort, and status appeal galore, this CL has everything that the super-loaded, super-demanding driver would ever want. The only question now is, how will Mercedes out-do this one?

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