Not quite a traditional grand tourer sports car, the Mercedes-Benz AMG CL63 is nothing short of a full-blown yet two-door luxury car reminiscent of America’s vast coupes from Motown’s heyday. A direct descendent of the old SEC coupe version of Mercedes’ S-Class flagship, the CL-Class is build on an S-Class platform, but beyond its sheer size, displacement and wafting comfort, the CL63 is light years away from Detroit’s old personal luxury coupes. Offered in several regular Mercedes and two AMG hot rod versions, the CL-Class has just been face-lifted for 2011, and to coincide with the cosmetic changes, AMG have replaced the CL63’s 6.2-liter naturally-aspirated V8 with a brand spanking new 5.5-liter twin-turbo V8 that offers more power, flexibility and economy.
Combining stately elegance with muscularly aggressive styling accents, the AMG CL63 is a huge 5106mm long, which shares the S-Class platform but looks more indulgent, with more traditional and now enlarged Mercedes headlights mixed with LED running and turn signals, while its’ rear lights look like more aristocratic interpretations of the S-Class’. Contrasting its vast 19-inch wheels, aggressive from spoiler, rear diffuser and wide-bore quad tail-pipes are a minimalist one-slat grille with embedded tri-star and a beautifully arced roofline with no B-pillar to obstruct either aesthetic flow or driver vision. Hulking yet flowing, the CL63 cuts an imposing figure and with a raft of standard and optional safety features, is as safe as it looks.
With a host of radar-based safety features including adaptive cruise control to keep a distance from vehicles ahead, the CL63 also features optional blind spot warning and Active Lane Keeping Assist, which applies brake force to keep the car from straying across lanes. In addition to Mercedes’ usually excellent safety features list, the CL63 also comes with Torque Vectoring Braking, which utilizes sensors and automatic braking to keep the CL63’s line precise through corners, while Active Body Control, which compensates for crosswinds detected by lateral acceleration sensors by varying the load on different wheels for a particularly stable high speed experience.
It is under the skin where the CL63 has been most heavily revised, and now features a smaller but more powerful and efficient engine, which boasts 544PS at 5500rpm and 590lb/ft at 2000-4500rpm compared with its’ 6.2-liter predecessor’s 525PS at 6800rpm and 465lb/ft at 5200rpm, and is 30% more fuel efficient and produces 25% CO2 emissions. Force-fed through twin fast scrolling turbochargers, the new direct injection CL63 is both responsive and far more muscular than before, with a glut of torque available throughout the crucial mid-range providing excellent flexibility and effortless progress, while power accumulates seamlessly. The results are astonishing on the track, as despite a vast 2135kg weight, the CL63 reaches 100km/h in a mere 4.5-seconds.
With such brute power, vast weight and rear-wheel-drive, the CL63 is not built for tight handling maneuvers and takes a light touch and certain technique to drive fast through slaloms and in wet conditions, without letting its over-sensitive electronic stability controls intervene forcefully. With stability controls set to low intervention, the CL63 feels more fluid and natural to control through such conditions, but it is however as a high speed continent cruncher where the CL63 excels in comfort, insulation and stability. Driven on the Yas Marina Formula 1 circuit, the CL63 wafted mightily, but through fast long corners was highly composed and reassuringly poised and taut, despite light touch steering, while this huge beast’s braking is spectacularly curt.
A palatially spaced luxo-coupe, the AMG CL63 is more sumptuous, comfortable and better equipped than most West Amman mini-palaces, and boasts easy access and plenty of space for four occupants. With a dividing centre console CL63 occupants sit far apart and enjoy vast shoulder, elbow and leg space, while seats are brilliantly finished, hugely comfortable, and feature relaxing and invigorating massage functions. Visibility is terrific and one has a commanding seating position, while the CL63’s dashboard layout has luxury rather than driver-focus in mind, and so features a central infotainment screen accessed from a centre console control pod and an American-style steering column gear selector complemented by steering paddles to manually select the CL63’s efficient, smooth and swift 7-Speed MCT wet-clutch automatic gears.
- Engine: 5.5-liter, direct fuel injection, twin-turbo, V8-cylinders
- Bore x stroke: 98 x 90.5mm
- Compression ratio: 10:1
- Valve-train: 32-valve, DOHC, variable timing
- Gearbox: 7-speed MCT wet-clutch automatic, rear-wheel-drive
- Top gear / final drive ratios: 0.73:1 / 2.65:1
- 0-100km/h: 4.5-seconds
- Maximum speed: 250km/h (electronically governed)
- Power, PS (BHP) [kW]: 544.5 (537) [400.4] @5500rpm
- Specific power: 98.3BHP/liter
- Power-to-weight: 251.5BHP/ton
- Torque, lb/ft (Nm): 590 (800) @ 2000-4500rpm
- Specific torque: 146.5Nm/liter
- Fuel consumption, combined: 10.5-liters/100km
- CO2 emissions, combined: 244g/km
- Fuel tank capacity: 90-liters
- Length: 5106mm
- Width: 1871mm
- Height: 1426mm
- Wheelbase: 2955mm
- Track width, F/R: 1601 / 1607mm
- Kerb weight: 2135kg
- Steering: variable power assistance, rack and pinion
- Suspension, F/R: Four-link / multi-link
- Brakes, F/R: Ventilated discs, 390 / 365mm
- Tires, F/R: 255/40R19 / 275/40R19