Rather than fuss with the seemingly pedestrian, entry-level Mercedes-Benz CL550 4Matic, starting at just $116,205, we recently straightened our tie and climbed right into the burly flagship at the other end of the CL-Class range – the most exclusive entry behind the velvet ropes that goes by the name CL65 AMG.

With a price of $214,105, the bad-boy of big Benzes soars in rarified air – the same stratosphere occupied by Aston Martin and Bentley. Like the S65 AMG, its sedan sibling, the coupe is fitted with a handcrafted 6.0-liter bi-turbo V12 that delivers 621 horsepower and a mind-boggling 738 pound-feet of torque. Mirroring the sedan, the CL65 is also equipped with the automaker's robust five-speed "AMG Speedshift" automatic transmission sending power to just the rear wheels. Loaded with nearly every option in the automaker's arsenal, but all fitted as standard equipment, the four-place cabin is a cocoon that keeps its occupants isolated from the outside world while coddling them with the world's finest upholstery and trim. The CL65 AMG is elegant, spectacular and very exclusive.

Driving Notes
  • The V12 engine provides thrust levels that are more common to small jets. Despite the large displacement, there is slight turbo lag as the turbochargers build up their 22 psi of boost. Once pressure hits, a fraction of a second later, the driver plays spectator to a ferocious battle between the engine and electronic traction control system as the 4,940-pound coupe launches to 60 miles per hour in about 4.2 seconds. Triple digits on the electronic display arrive effortlessly and its passing power leaves everyone giggling. The engineers have restricted its terminal velocity to only 186 mph, apparently to prevent it from going into orbit.
  • Mercedes calls the CL65's Active Body Control (ABC) underpinnings "arguably the most advanced suspension in production" as its hydraulic systems actively control squat, roll, vibration, pitch and dive during maneuvers - it even mitigates the effects of crosswinds. Despite its AMG-calibration, and a near lack of body roll, the suspension never felt harsh or rough. Truth be told, it was actually much softer and more comfortable than we had expected it to be.
  • Twin-sliding front calipers, over 15.4-inch perforated rotors (the holes are cast in place), provide confident levels of stopping power and look great inside the forged 20-inch wheels. The high-performance tires are 255/35R20 front and 275/35R20 rear, with wide contact patches that contribute to stability. Those meaty rubbers are needed to keep the heavy coupe planted on the pavement, but noise from the tires annoyingly permeates the cabin on certain road surfaces.
  • Four adults will fit comfortably inside the CL65 AMG. Front passengers have an enormous amount of room to stretch out, but backseat passengers will need those up front to move forward a bit for the most comfortable accommodations. We marveled at the fit and finish, but would pass on the slick steering wheel and gloss black trim in favor of carbon fiber or wood.
  • The CL65 AMG feels more athletic and slightly more nimble than the strapping Bentley Continental GT, but not as agile and spry as the smaller and lighter Aston Martin DB9. The Mercedes-Benz CL-Class is a better four-passenger vehicle than both of its competitors, but its discreet badging may not warrant the same attention from an ignorant valet - lest it be confused with a visually similar CL550 – possibly damaging a fragile ego.


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  • 122 Comments
      ghghghfjlsl
      • 2 Years Ago
      I'm definitely getting one...in around 8 years when they're worth $25K
        Awhattup
        • 2 Years Ago
        @ghghghfjlsl
        It is one of the fastest depreciating car in fact...
      Terry Actill
      • 2 Years Ago
      I would rather have this than have sex with my wife.
      Darrell
      • 2 Years Ago
      I love big coupes. As much celebrity as the Bentley Continental GT has, I still dream of this exact car.
        superletter
        • 1 Year Ago
        @Darrell
        Good Choices Darrel - I have owned a Continental GT and currently own a CL65 AMG- both magnificent cars and a difficult choice decision But , for me the longer I have driven the CL the more I appreciate it's overall package and capabilities. I also (just a personal opinion) find the CL Styling is more timeless than the Continental GT.I'll revisit that opinion in 10 years.
      Awhattup
      • 2 Years Ago
      I love this car.... so much!
      S40Powered
      • 2 Years Ago
      HOT. What a glory to my eyes.
      Marc
      • 2 Years Ago
      It is amazing how the outside of the car doesn't match what's underneath. Very un-AMG. It is a very sedate, almost nondescript design, especially the rear. A true sleeper. I like.
        The Great 1
        • 2 Years Ago
        @Marc
        Class
        Feurig
        • 2 Years Ago
        @Marc
        You really gotta see one of these in person to appreciate it. Just be up close and walk around it. It's got such a great stance and you can almost feel power reverberating from it, lol.
      zizixx89
      • 2 Years Ago
      Its funny how this and the acura CL has the same name and almost the same tailights
      Avinash Machado
      • 2 Years Ago
      Lovely beast.
      Drakkon
      • 2 Years Ago
      Approaching the cool factor of the 560SEC-AMG. Not quite there, but getting close.
      Hazdaz
      • 2 Years Ago
      Looks like a Honda Accord. THAT'S how bad M-B styling has gotten
        SLR722GT
        • 2 Years Ago
        @Hazdaz
        ....?....You need new glasses bro
        • 2 Years Ago
        @Hazdaz
        [blocked]
      Koenigsegg
      • 2 Years Ago
      beautiful, but so many better cars you could get for that price... *cough* model s *cough*
      Jai302
      • 2 Years Ago
      It's a nice car but I'd honestly buy an Aston or maybe a Bentley if I was spending this kind of money on a 2+2 coupe. I wouldn't want to spend $200k+ and be seen in a brand of car driven by someone who spent $25k on an A or CLA-class..
        sparrk
        • 2 Years Ago
        @Jai302
        So you'd buy a "British" brand made by VW or by whoever now owns Aston instead of literally the mother of all (luxury) cars just because they make affordable cars too ?
          Jai302
          • 2 Years Ago
          @sparrk
          So you'd buy from a pricey German brand instead of literally the mother of all reliable luxury cars (Lexus) just because they (Toyota) make affordable cars too? See what I did there? People would buy an Aston Martin DB9 over a Mercedes CL-class for the same reason that people buy a Mercedes (E-class) over a Hyundai Genesis or Equus. And who made Mercedes the mother of all Luxury cars? That title belongs to Rolls Royce. Please don't start comparing Mercedes to Rolls Royce now
          FIDTRO
          • 2 Years Ago
          @sparrk
          @Jai302 Well to be fair, Mercedes is going to be releasing the Pullman S-Class which is supposed to compete with Rolls-Royce.
          sparrk
          • 2 Years Ago
          @sparrk
          @ Jai302, Karl Benz invented the motor car, bet you didn't know that, so they are the mother of all cars and of luxury cars, Rolls Royce just copied them.
        vi_per
        • 2 Years Ago
        @Jai302
        You can drive a $5000 car and nobody will care. Trust me, nobody wants to see your turdface.
          Jai302
          • 2 Years Ago
          @vi_per
          I'm sorry that you're ugly, I really am. Do you need me to pay for that plastic surgery which you cannot afford? Good luck seeking attention from other people who lead a better life than yourself :)
        Jai302
        • 2 Years Ago
        @Jai302
        The Merc would be more reliable though, that's for sure
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