2008 Mercedes-Benz CL63 AMG

David Gluckman

How much is this car, anyway? Never mind, I don't care: I want one. Much more so than the S63 AMG sedan we had a couple of weeks ago, the sleek and purposeful CL coupe seems like the perfect repository for Mercedes-Benz's 518-hp, 6.2-liter, AMG-tuned and -built, superstar V-8 engine. Maybe it's because, at 42, I'm easing into middle age (as much as I hate to admit it), but I prefer a powerful, sybaritic luxury coupe to a pure sports car most of the time. I want power and torque on demand, and I want to access it by burying the throttle, not by fiddling with shift paddles or gear levers. Call me lazy, if you will; I call myself contented. (For the record, the CL does offer manual controls for the seven-speed automatic; they're mounted behind the steering wheel.)

It's not like I'm looking for a plush-o-matic experience, folks. Wheeling the CL63 AMG from the sixth floor of our parking structure last night, I noted with satisfaction its ability to whip itself around the concrete poles with calm and aplomb, with not a whiff of tire squeal or body roll. With 518 hp (at 6800 rpm!) and 465 lb-ft of torque on call, you can launch yourself across the entire city of Ann Arbor in no time, or at least to 60 mph in 4.5 seconds, according to Mercedes-Benz. When the dreaded Ann Arbor Police come into view, front brake discs that are 15.4 inches in diameter and a hefty 1.4 inches thick will scrub off speed more quickly than you can say "Mercedes-Benz see-sixty-three eh-em-gee." (If any members of the Ann Arbor Police are reading this, rest assured, this is hyperbole; I don't actually speed within the city limits.)

So, other than the engine, why do I like this car? I like its size, the grand sweep of the sheetmetal, the utter excess of it. This is a grand touring coupe with a grandly luxurious air and an unapologetic attitude. Yes, it gets only 11 mpg in the city and 18 mpg on the highway. But there aren't too many CL63 AMG coupes running on the world's roads, now are there?

The 2008 Mercedes-Benz CL63 AMG had a University of Michigan undergraduate leaping with excitement when he encountered our test car parked at a meter along State Street here in Ann Arbor yesterday evening. Running his fingers along the AMG badge on the trunk lid, he exclaimed to his companion, "Dude! This car isn't even on sale yet! It's a 2009 model!"

Well, that's not exactly true; the 2008 Mercedes-Benz CL63 AMG is on sale now. And it can be yours for the princely sum of $138,375.

Joe DeMatio, Executive Editor

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