The 'entry-level' CL500 is incredibly quick, although acceleration isn't on a par with other super-coupes like the Bentley Continental GT. The CL63 and CL65 AMG models, on the other hand, are quick enough to give you an impromptu face-lift. There's also a non-AMG V12 in the CL 600.
The CL has a superbly comfortable ride and, considering its size, also handles exceptionally well, especially in sporty AMG form. It's still a big car, however, and the steering is a little light on feedback for really chucking the CL about. However, we doubt this will worry many buyers - overall the CL has great ability.
Wind- and road noise are almost entirely banished from the cabin, and the automatic transmissions are also very slick. Change down a few gears as you're cruising along the motorway, and your passengers are unlikely to notice.
There's no getting around the fact that joining the CL club is expensive. Even a few per cent off these sticker prices is an awful lot of cash. Still, if those extraordinary list prices don't put you off, the other running costs certainly won't. Plus, there's the consolation that resale values are strong.
The CL is extremely well-made from the choicest materials. Every switch, button, handle, lever and knob operates smoothly and suggests the CL will still be going long after you've gone. Mercedes has vowed to return to its more reliable ways, so should have invested heavily in this flagship car to make good on its promises.
All you would expect in a car of this class is included, from all-round airbags and clever adaptive headlights to stability control and powerful, electronically-controlled brakes. The car will even stop you inadvertently changing lanes into the path of another car or drifting off course without realising.
The wide range of seat- and steering wheel-adjustments means you'd have to have the top half of Geoff Capes and the bottom half of Bonnie Langford not to get comfortable. Controls are easy-to-use and centre on a 'Command' rotary knob which combines many functions in one. It's not hard to get your head around.
It's a big car, so there's lots of space in the cabin, particularly up front. There's enough room in the back to keep adults happy, although a trans-continental slug might be a bit much to ask. Enormous boot has plenty of space for a few sets of golf clubs.
These are expensive cars, but at least there's no denying that you get an appropriate amount of kit for your cash. Leather upholstery, climate control, electric seats and wood trim are all standard across the range.
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The best CL: the V8 gives it all the pace you could ever realistically want; refinement is fantastic; and, it’s massively comfortable and spacious, even if the interior feels cheap in places.