2011 Mercedes-Benz CL63 And CL65 AMG Preview

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Three weeks ago Mercedes-Benz released the new 2011 CL-Class to the world, and today, we are graced with its brawny AMG brothers, the CL63 and CL65 AMG. These two cars offer better handling, more aggressive looks, higher base equipment specs, and, of course, a stupendous amount of power.

Smaller, But Bigger
First up, the little brother of the duo: the CL63 AMG. Though it's the less-powerful of the two cars, it actually has the (arguably) more advanced engine: Mercedes AMG's new 5.5-liter twin-turbo V-8, with 536 horsepower and 590 pound-feet of torque standard, and up to 563 horsepower and 664 pound-feet of torque with the AMG Performance upgrade. This is actually a down-size in displacement from the previous 6.2-liter (though Mercedes called it a 6.3-liter) naturally aspirated V-8, but it's a step up in power. Paired with the standard three-mode AMG SpeedShift MCT seven-speed sport transmission, the car is good for 4.4-second 0-60 mph runs and 155 mph top speed in standard trim. Mercedes hasn't released the performance figures of the upgraded AMG package.

At the end of the flow path you get an AMG sport exhaust system with dual twin chrome tailpipes. The suspension is AMG-tuned all the way around, with the front sporting anti-lift control, and the rear getting both anti-dive and anti-squat systems. AMG also tunes the Active Body Control system for better behavior under sporty conditions.

Twenty-inch wheels wrapped in 255/35 front and 275/35 high-performance tires put the power to the ground. Brakes are huge two-piece internally vented and cross-drilled 15.4-inch untis up front with dual sliding calipers, while the rears are just 1-inch smaller and get single sliding calipers--lots of stopping force for a big, fast car.

As for standard equipment, the CL63 AMG comes with the COMAND infotainment system, sporting a 40-gigabyte harddrive and GPS navigation, Bluetooth handsfree calling, voice control for audio, telephone and nav, plus a range of high-spec electronics including an 11-speaker Harman/Kardon LOGIC7 surround-sound system with SD reader and six-disc DVD/CD changer. AMG premium leather, performance steering wheel and aluminum shift paddles, Racetimer-equipped instrument cluster, and 14-way power heated and active ventilated front seats with lumbar support are also standard. For the full (and highly detailed) spec list, check out page two.

Two options packages are available for the CL63 AMG: Driver Assistance and AMG Performance. The Driver Assistance package offers Distronic Plus with Pre-Safe brake, Active Blind Spot Assist, and Active Lane Keeping assist. For more on what these technologies do, check out our overview. The AMG Performance package removes the top-speed limiter, bringing it up to match its bigger brother at 186 mph, boosts power by 27 horsepower and 74 pound-feet, and adds a carbon fiber engine cover.

The CL65 AMG
The CL65 more than makes up for its slightly older engine tech with a roaring 6.0-liter V-12 strapped with a pair of turbochargers that pump output to 621 horsepower at 4,800 rpm and 738 pound-feet of torque available from 2,000-4,000 rpm. The extra power only shaves 0.2 seconds off the 0-60 mph time of the CL63 AMG, resulting in a 4.2-second dash. The likely culprit? The rear tires can only do so much. The extra power will certainly be more apparent once already rolling, particularly when passing at moderate speeds or accelerating at the top end, though the AMG Performance package addition to the CL63 AMG will close the gap significantly. Top speed of this V-12 beastie is 186 mph.

The beefier engine means the CL65 AMG has to step back to just five speeds in its AMG SpeedShift transmission, though it too gets the three-mode setup offering Sport, Comfort, and Manual options.

Brakes are the same as the CL63 AMG, as are the wheels, tires, suspension, and steering system. Exterior differences include badging and a set of "V-12-design" twin chrome tailpipes.

Unlike the CL63 AMG, the CL65 AMG doesn't offer any packages (it gets the upgrades standard) but does offer a range of stand-alone options, including a Splitview dual-content screen, carbon fiber t rim, and a range of paint and upholstery options. For the full specs and details on the CL65 AMG, check out the list on page three.

The 2011 Mercedes-Benz CL63 and CL65 AMG will hit dealers this November.


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