2011 Mercedes-Benz CL63 AMG

Matt Tierney

Sumptuous interior and impeccable execution aside, AMG-tuned CL coupes always wow me with just how well they perform, especially when driven in anger. For a refresher, this is a 4600-pound car that measures in at nearly 201 inches in length, yet when the suspension is dialed into sport mode, it's surprisingly agile, taut, and responsive. It makes as much sense as suggesting a freight locomotive is the ideal vehicle for tackling the Nordschleife, but somehow, the engineers at AMG are able to bend the laws of physics in their favor.

The CL63's acceleration is also nothing short of incredible, although this year, it's produced by way of an all-new engine. In lieu of the old 6.2-liter, AMG now packs the 63-series forms of its S- and CL-Class models with a 536-horsepower, twin-turbocharged 5.5-liter V-8. Let the purists cry over the disparity between displacement and nomenclature, I was far too busy listening to the lusty grunt of an exhaust note (now accented with a faint hint of turbo whine), ripping through the seven speeds of the new wet-clutch automatic transmission, and watching the speedometer's needle quickly sweep towards triple-digit territory. Much as I love the old adage that there's no replacement for displacement, the new twin-turbo 5.5-liter is a fine substitute for the old engine, and few buyers will ever miss the lost seven-tenths of a liter when behind the wheel.

They may appreciate it, in fact, when it comes time to refuel. The decrease in engine size is largely in response to mandates issued around the world for automakers to increase fuel economy and decrease CO2 emissions. To that end, Mercedes has seen fit to give the CL 63 an automatic stop/start system, which operates when the transmission is set to its comfort mode. Such a system may seem out of place for a car designed to quickly eat up long stretches of the Autobahn, but is actually logical, considering a substantial number of these cars will no doubt spend much of their time slogging through urban gridlock. Fuel economy rises from 11/18 mpg (city/highway) to 15/21, although if you can afford an AMG-tuned CL to begin with, chances are the cost of filling the 23.8-gallon tank with premium isn't much of a concern.

Evan McCausland, Associate Web Editor

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