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What Car? says

3 out of 5 stars

For A big and classy coupe that's packed with style and loads of equipment

Against Quality not quite up to par for the money; the fuel economy can be frightening

Verdict This sleek coupe has understated presence and style, but it'll cost a lot to run

Go for… CL500

Avoid… CL65 AMG

Mercedes-Benz CL Coupe
  • 1. The rear seat will take a couple of adults, but no more as the seats are sculpted for two only
  • 2. With the correct servicing, a CL will carry on for huge mileages without so much as a hiccough
  • 3. Running a CL will be dear: servicing is required every 9000 miles and Mercedes dealers charge some of the highest labour rates in the UK
  • 4. Never mind the really fast versions - the entry-level CL500 has enough power to keep most people happy
  • 5. The big CL is a very comfortable cruiser, but it still feels like a sports car along a twisty road
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Mercedes-Benz CL Coupe full review with expert trade views

For those who don’t need the space of a Mercedes S-Class and fancy something a lot more exclusive, the CL coupe is just the ticket.

It's based on the contemporary S-Class platform, so the ride is cushioningly comfortable, but the CL can also handle twisting country roads and is refreshingly nimble for such a large car. The V8 and V12 engines are silky smooth and powerful, especially the awesome 604bhp twin-turbo V12 in the CL65 AMG.

The dash is much the same as an S-Class’s of the same vintage, so it’s laid out logically and tastefully, while the front passengers enjoy superb comfort and space. There's room for a couple of adults in the back, but no more as the seats are sculpted for two only, and the large boot easily copes with a couple of sets of golf clubs.

Trade view

Martin Keighley

Silly high new price. Not the best example of how a Merc should hold its value

Martin Keighley
Valuations expert,
What Car? Used Car Price Guide

The CL500 was the most affordable CL when new and remains so in the used market. It’s also the best of bunch as its 5.0-litre V8 has 302bhp to deliver commanding performance, refinement and even a modicum of economy, with 25.0mpg achievable with a light right foot. This model also does a fine job of combining sharp handling and a comfortable ride.

The CL600 offers more of the same as the 500, just with a whole load more oomph. It matches the CL65 AMG's performance, and both dispense with the 0-62mph dash in 4.8sec, but the 600 is much more refined.

The CL55 AMG uses the same 500bhp supercharged 5.4-litre V8 as the SL55. It’s a superb engine, sounds great and goes like the clappers.

All CLs come with a lengthy list of luxury equipment. Franchised dealers will have younger CLs in stock, but an independent specialist is a better bet for earlier cars.

Trade view

James Ruppert

CL500 or CL55 K easier to retail than a CL600

James Ruppert
Used car guru

The CL is not a cheap car to own and run, so expect some hefty bills during ownership. Prime among these will be ones for the tyres, especially the rears because the engines’ power gives them a real work-out.

Servicing is required every 9000 miles, and Mercedes dealers charge some of the highest labour rates in the UK according to Warranty Direct. Independent specialists can help reduce the labour charges, but parts prices are likely to still be high.

Insurance is the other big drain on your finances - all CLs sit in group 20, and if you opt for one of the AMG models, the premium will be even higher.

Fuel consumption is one more major financial consideration. The CL500 can return up to 35mpg if it's driven gently, but realistically you’ll be lucky to see more than 20mpg. The other models all struggle to get into the high teens.

Trade view

Martin Keighley

Silly high new price. Not the best example of how a Merc should hold its value

Martin Keighley
Valuations expert,
What Car? Used Car Price Guide

A big, fat and full service history is essential with a CL, not only to show that it’s been properly cared for, but to safeguard its future value. Any sign of skimping on servicing and repairs should be an alarm bell telling you to walk away. However, with the correct servicing, a CL will carry on for huge mileages without so much as a hiccough.

Some reports of minor electrical glitches have been mentioned by owners, but most of these have been sorted by Mercedes and tend to concern the sat-nav rather than anything that might make the car break down.

The interior build quality is not quite up to what we expect of a Merc costing this much, so look for any loose trim. However, the CL is still far better put together than most of its rivals and you shouldn’t hear any squeaks or rattles.

Trade view

James Ruppert

CL500 or CL55 K easier to retail than a CL600

James Ruppert
Used car guru
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