It's funny; there's nothing like a black-on-black CLS 63 to make you feel like a drug dealer/all-around badass/cutthroat, profilin', capital-p Pimp. The car simply oozes evil, but thankfully, it's the good kind of evil - the kind that drinks all the beer in your fridge and leers at your cat but still has enough class not to try and date your teenage daughter.
I'm with Rusty on this one. Even ahead of the manic CLK63 Black Series, this is still my second-favorite AMG model (like him, I think the C63 takes the first-place cake). The engine's soundtrack and the menacing profile essentially make the car, and you tend to forget that it's little more than an E-class in an expensive, albeit damn good-looking, suit. Like all the other 6.2-liter AMG cars, the CLS snorts and snarls when you stand on it, and it crackles and pops on the overrun like an old-school hot rod. It feels just a little unhinged, and the resultant I-fought-the-law feeling works well with the swooping sheet metal.
Would I buy one? Probably not. The C63 is more my style; it's less ostentatious, more practical, and slightly more of a hooligan. But if the CLS63 didn't exist, the world would be a much poorer place.
-The stability control seems to be tuned more loosely here than in a lot of AMG models - low-speed oversteer is still possible with the system on, which means you can leave stop signs looking out the passenger window if you toe into the throttle too much. Love it.
-Like all CLSs, the CLS63 feels more special than it really is (blame it on the low roof and fat C-pillars, both of which are obvious from the driver's seat). The effect is magnified here thanks to the carbon-fiber trim, the suede headliner, and the heavily bolstered seats. This is one of the few modern cars that actually feels like it comes from another era. It's a nice touch.
-The square-bottomed steering wheel. Call me a racing geek, but I love it.
Sam Smith, Associate Editor