2011 Mercedes-Benz CL63 AMG

Matt Tierney

The CL63 has a great, throaty, rumbly exhaust note on start-up. I pulled out of the parking structure and to the first intersection. The engine went dead. Oh, there's a big green ECO light below the transmission indicator in the main instrument binnacle. An AMG car with stop/start! What a concept. I shouldn't be surprised; In July 2007 I was in Frankfurt, Germany, with Mercedes-Benz to drive its McLaren SLR roadster. Ironically, Mercedes also had us participate in a fuel-economy seminar, and I remember their engineers advising us that if a car is running for more than 12 seconds while sitting, it's best to turn it off.

I also have no issues with the twin-turbo V-8, which provides tremendous acceleration; I quickly got to 120 mph on a freeway connector road where I have just enough space to get to 105-110 mph in most cars. I like the light-filled, beautifully executed interior, and the lack of a B-pillar in the side glass. If you want a big, luxurious, grand touring Mercedes coupe, there's lots to love here.

Joe DeMatio, Deputy Editor

Like Joe, I had a moment of confusion when the engine shut down while I was sitting at my first traffic light. Once I realized what had happened, my confusion turned to surprise. Not because I was driving a 536-hp Mercedes-Benz AMG that shuts down its 5.5-liter twin-turbocharged V-8 at idle to save gas, but because the restart is so un-Mercedes like. It can be felt and heard -- not a critical flaw but far more noticeable here than in others I've driven -- but for me the real disconcerting element was the 2-3 second pause between toeing the throttle and forward motion. For those who spend significant amounts of time driving around town, the delayed engine start-up could become a serious nuisance. Fortunately, for these instances the system can be manually turned off while in comfort mode, and is automatically deactivated when in sport or manual mode.

Of course, after bombing down an entrance ramp, throttle flattened as I made the curve, I completely forgot about the stop/start system and, well, just about everything else. The engine is truly intoxicating, and it's hard to believe that a vehicle this enormous and heavy can feel so nimble and stable, and be so utterly effortless to drive at triple digit speeds. And, while it may not be considered beautiful by all, the CL63 looks muscular and confident and the lack of a B-pillar goes a long way in reducing the vehicle's visual mass. I could definitely do without the dinner-plate-sized Mercedes-Benz star on the grille, though.

Jennifer Misaros, Managing Editor, Digital Platforms

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