2009 Mercedes Benz CL Class 5.5L V8Enlarge Photo
Witness the Benz CL-Class, the most expensive two-door to wear a three-pointed star. Its price pushes into real-estate territory; its fuel economy has more in common with single-digit sportscars than with more common coupes. It's the kind of car that makes you want to work three jobs until you can afford until you can afford one and its car insurance quotes.
Even the base CL550 is a tour de force in torque and tech. It's powered by a 5.5-liter V-8 with a 388-horsepower engine that's teamed to a seven-speed automatic. Honestly, you'll never miss the optional V-12 versions, though you will be tempted by the AMG-tuned editions, which offer ferocious turbocharged power, with some turbo lag.
Like the S-Class sedan that originated much of its goodness, the CL-Class is a rear-driver. My test car came with the new 4Matic four-wheel-drive option just introduced for 2009. In a car this hefty (5000-plus pounds) and this sure-footed already, the 4Matic system is as invisible as it gets. And with Active Body Control (ABC) suspension taking charge of the suspension feel, the CL glides along without a care for speed bumps, potholes and the like. It's not tuned for true sport driving--the steering's just a tad slow and detached--but the CL's responses are pretty balletic for such a mass.
The Mercedes CL leaves nothing to the imagination, where luxury is concerned. The cabin's snugly fitted with leather, wood and chrome straight out of an Architectural Digest shoot. The extreme tech of the COMAND system is there too--like the other wheel-spinning, radio-controlling systems out there, it takes a lot of learning to become second nature. Once you do learn, your phone, MP3 and satellite radio can live in relative harmony, though.
Add in some swanky multi-adjustable seats, a pair of adult-sized buckets in the back, and a heavy ladling of safety technology, and it's not difficult to see how the Mercedes-Benz CL-Class adds up to an 8.8 rating in TheCarConnection.com's rankings of new cars, with a perfect score of 10 for features.
The bottom line? It's simply one of the most luxurious two-doors available today. All it needs is the sign-off from your financial planner.