First Drive: 2011 Mercedes-Benz CL

Other technological wonders are less Orwellian and more entertaining. An optional split-view Comand screen allows a front-seat passenger to watch a DVD while the driver sees the navigation map, for instance. And the electronic gauge cluster in the AMG cars can call up a lap timer function.

Price? If you have to ask...
Despite a new front clip and a revised rear end (bumper and taillights), the overall look of the big Benz coupe is changed only subtly. Its signature element remains the arced roofline, set off by the B-pillarless greenhouse (which also nicely opens up the interior). In this rarified atmosphere, competitors are thin on the ground. No other car company does a two-door off of their large luxury sedan. The next-closest competitors might be the BMW 6-series (currently on hiatus), and the Continental GT, which has undergone its own, similar update this year.

The twelve-cylinder Benz coupes bracket the Bentley in price, with the CL600 at $157,875 and the CL65 AMG reaching $210,175. The CL63 is $151,125, while the CL550 is the bargain of the bunch at $114,025. Any one of them is a singularly self-indulgent machine.

2011 Mercedes-Benz CL550/CL63 AMG

BASE PRICE: $114,025/$151,125
ENGINE: 48-valve DOHC twin-turbo V-8
DISPLACEMENT: 4.7 liters
HORSEPOWER: 429 hp @ 5250 rpm
TORQUE: 516 lb-ft @ 1800 rpm
ENGINE: 48-valve DOHC twin-turbo V-8
HORSEPOWER: 536/563 hp @ 5500 rpm
TORQUE: 590/664 lb-ft @ 2000 rpm
TRANSMISSION: 7-speed automatic
DRIVE: 4-wheel (CL550), rear-wheel (CL63)
STEERING: Speed-sensitive, power-assisted rack-and-pinion
SUSPENSION, FRONT: Multi-link, air springs (active dampers, CL63)
SUSPENSION, REAR: Multi-link, air springs (active dampers, CL63)
BRAKES: Vented disc, ABS
L x W x H: 200.6/201 x 73.7 x 55.8/56.2 in
WHEELBASE: 116.3 in
TRACK F/R: 63.0/63.3 in
WEIGHT: 4619/4806 lb
FUEL MILEAGE: 15/22, 15/21 (est.)

4 of 4
This car has always perplexed me. It is a two seater. Why get such a large car only to provide seating for two people realistically?An E coupe, CLS, or E sedan would be far more practical, lighter, quicker, and cheaper.

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