Mercedes-Benz CL driven
* Updated coupe reviewed * New V8 engines impress * On sale now...
What is it? Merc's flagship coupe, revised
A hard car to fathom, the Mercedes CL. Just why would anyone want a five-metre coupe that's not especially pretty and not as good as the S-Class saloon it is based on? The fact is, in these budget-constrained days, few do.
Mercedes hasn't given up trying to tempt you, though. The CL has just been given a revised look grille, lights, wheels and mirrors; the latest collision-avoidance and drowsy-driver detection systems from the S-Class; and more colour and trim options.
It also has some of the new engines and the revised seven-speed automatic transmissions also slotted into the S-Class, which will make visits to the petrol forecourt a less frequent occurrence and do the environment a favour.
They're led by a 430bhp 4.7-litre twin-turbo V8 that replaces the previous 5.5-litre unit. The only one of the four options not to be available solely on special order, it delivers a bit more power and masses more torque with huge reductions in fuel consumption and CO2. It's not all about facts and figures, though: there are equally impressive gains in refinement and driveability. Floats like a butterfly; stings like a bee.
A couple of V12s remain available, with slight increases in high-speed performance and overall efficiency in the case of the 65 AMG version, but the other engine worthy of note is the new V8 in the CL63 AMG. As with the other V8, vastly lower fuel consumption and emissions go hand-in-hand with huge gains in torque and driveability and no mean exhaust note. With the special sports transmission and AMG-tuned chassis, theres just a hint of old-school German Touring Car racer about it.
So, it's a better CL, if you're one of the dwindling band of devotees, but still not as good as an S-Class.
What car? says
Better to drive, but still no looker