2009 Mercedes-Benz CL63 AMG

I drove our Four Seasons Audi R8 one weekend, and then the weekend afterward, I drove this Mercedes-Benz CL63 AMG. (I know, I know; we automotive journalists are quite a pampered lot. If it makes you feel better, I'm driving a minivan this weekend.)

Anyway, when I took a gander at the CL63's window sticker, it immediately occurred to me that the Benz coupe costs about twenty-five grand more than the R8 supercar. I guess this is an apples-and-oranges comparison, but I have to say, if you're spending big bucks hoping to get noticed on the street, the R8 is the better car for you.

That said, I love the CL in all its iterations. It hits all the hot buttons for me: prestige, ultra comfort, style, performance, and a fair bit of utility. I had four adults in the car for a quick run to dinner, and there were no complaints from the rear seat, just gasps of disbelief when I tore out of our driveway and hit the gas and this luxury ship rocketed up the road.

As for the utility? I stopped by one of my favorite specialty food stores on Sunday afternoon to pick up a few items, and I noticed that their garden center had a closeout sale on patio pots. Sixty percent off! How could I resist? I selected two big heavy terracotta pots, each probably about 27 inches tall and 18 inches in diameter, and loaded them into the trunk, which had no difficulty at all swallowing them. The only problem with this arrangement is that I then had to drive home very slowly and carefully, so as not to bang the pots against each other. This is not easy to do in the CL63, which begs you to hot-foot it away from every intersection and to toss this big sucker into every corner (the sport-tuned chassis is remarkably composed under such circumstances).

Joe DeMatio, Executive Editor

New Car Research

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