Driven: 2011 Mercedes-Benz CL

2011 Mercedes-Benz CL550

Besides their new powertrains, the big coupes' driving experience is little changed. The air-sprung CL550 is nearly as compliant as an S-class. With its standard Active Body Control, the CL63 is a bit stiff-legged over bad pavement, but the upside is iron-fisted body control. The CL63 has essentially no body roll, and for such a heavy machine (some 4800 pounds) it's also amazingly resistant to understeer.

Inside, the S-class-inspired cabin continues largely unchanged, although the large Comand screen can now be equipped with Mercedes-Benz's split-view technology, which allows the front-seat passenger to watch a DVD, for instance, while the driver sees the navigation screen. In other technology news, the optional lane-departure and blind-spot warning systems will now brake the wheels on one side to nudge the CL back into its lane if the driver ignores their warnings.

The appearance tweaks and substantially improved powertrains should help keep the big Benz coupes relevant and on the radar of an audience whose stature is undiminished.

The Specs
On Sale: Now
Price: $114,025/$152,125 (CL550/CL63 AMG, est.)
Engines: 4.7L twin-turbo V-8, 429 hp, 516 lb-ft; 5.5L twin-turbo V-8, 536/563 hp, 590/664 lb-ft
Drive: 4-wheel/rear-wheel (CL550/CL63 AMG)

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mo_pho
Overkill turned up a notch.

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