A danger inherent to my chosen profession is the possibility of getting "hooked".
Like drug dealers whose mantra should be "Never get high on your own supply." I have to remember the test car will eventually go away. Unfortunately, in the rarefied strata of my area of expertise, the temptations are great. So now, like a socially inept choirboy experiencing a strip club for the first time, I'm forced to admit I've just been seduced by the charms of a ride that won't be my bride.
Nicely updated for the 2011 model year, Mercedes-Benz has addressed the primary quibble I had with the CL-Class, while introducing other improvements to make the car an irresistible package. The new sculpted hood and redesigned grille add sleekness to the car where it was bulbous before. The overall design is now completely cohesive and has at last achieved its full potential. The 2011 Mercedes-Benz CL-Class is now quite possibly the most beautiful new car on the road . Its gracefully flowing lines and powerful stance emit an aura of class, exclusivity and capability that affects onlookers intensely.
Yeah, Ferraris, Lamborghinis and those other swoopy-ass exotic sports cars turn heads, but they do so because of their sheer audacity. The CL-Class turns heads because of its quiet air of power and style. Anybody with enough money can go out and get one of those flying doorstops to demonstrate their net worth. But showing up in a CL does exactly the same thing while making the statement, "I'm confident. I have style. Baby—I'm a connoisseur."
And the CL550 4Matic I tested will get you there just as fast as those wedgy wonders do too.
Its all-new twin-turbocharged 4.7-liter V-8 produces an impressive 429 horsepower. But that's nothing compared to its torque output of 516 pound-feet at 1800 rpm! Remember, it's torque that gets you moving and the CL550 4Matic is good for a zero to 60 of 4.8 seconds. Remarkably, even with all this performance potential, the engine is the very epitome of the word smooth in operation. A seven-speed automatic transmission with a manual shift mode via steering wheel paddles conducts power to all four wheels.
And as good as all of that is, it's only a portion of the car's charms. Those fortunate enough to travel in a CL550 will be treated to an experience almost beyond description. The beautifully crafted accommodations simultaneously inspire respect and relaxation. Rather than merely sit in this car, you luxuriate. The front seats are nearly infinitely adjustable in every direction imaginable. Heated and cooled, they massage and even automatically adjust their side bolsters to hold you in place when the car goes around a turn. In other words, the seats literally hug you.
Every comfort, convenience and safety feature currently available is included in the car. Night vision with pedestrian detection, blind spot detection, lane departure warning, voice activation for audio, navigation and communications, an automatic opening and closing trunk, self-closing doors, the list goes on and on and on. In addition to all its other attributes, the Mercedes-Benz CL550 is, quite simply put, the state of the art luxury coupe.
And it goes over the road the same way.
Outrageously prodigious at elevated speeds, the CL550 actually lowers itself on the highway to improve its aerodynamics and handling. Around town, the Benz flows graciously with minimal effort on the part of the driver. And, like all Mercedes-Benz product, the CL550 4Matic possesses a preternatural turning circle. Turn the steering wheel full lock in either direction and the front wheels articulate practically perpendicularly to the car. On winding back roads, switch the transmission and suspension to sport mode, pilot the Benz smoothly, and you'll find yourself tearing through curves at speeds that will leave you absolutely slack jawed—thanks to its remarkable balance and the grip supplied by its all-wheel drive.
Long story short, the Mercedes-Benz CL550 4Matic is nothing less than a world-class, state of the art luxurious high performance sports coupe. It has the grace and craftsmanship of the finest mega-dollar rides, the electronic accoutrements of a technogeek's wet dream, the speed and power of the most highly capable sports cars, and legs long enough to see you through a five hundred mile Interstate drive, easily capable of going five hundred more.
And here's the truly amazing part—there are three, even more powerful engines available for this magnificent automobile, one of which is featured in the video below.
Pricing for the 2011 Mercedes-Benz CL550 4Matic starts at $114,025.