Mercedes-Benz AMG Facelifts the Big CL Coupes for 2011, Adds a Boosted V8
To say we’re longtime fans of Mercedes-Benz’s fullsize hardtop coupes is a gross understatement. While we’re most partial to the achingly pretty W126 2-door (probably because we own one of its similarly-handsome sedan siblings), we can certainly appreciate all generations of Stuttgart’s big coupes, be it the baroque swagger of the W112, the just-this-side-of-overengineered W140, or the two generations that have been built during this century. Now the storied marque is giving the current generation CL-class (codenamed C216) a mid-cycle refresh, and that includes tweaking the high-po AMG lineup as well.
The big news on this front (other than the tweaked front and rear styling) is the fact that the CL63 AMG ditches its normally-aspirated 6.2L V8 in favor of AMG’s all new 5.5L twin-turbo V8. Yes, we’re puzzled by the decision to not revive the CL55 AMG moniker too. What we’re not puzzled by is why the atmo mill was sent packing: Looming clampdowns on fuel economy and emissions by governments in many of the markets where Mercedes-Benz does business.
But don’t go cursing Big Brother’s meddling just yet, as the new engine actually trumps its predecessor in multiple arenas. The new lump is rated at 536hp and 590 lb.-ft of torque (or 563hp and 664 lb.-ft with the optional AMG Performance Package), which compares quite favorably to the 6.2’s 518hp and 465 lb.-ft. Coupled to the recalibrated AMG Speedshift 7-speed automatic, the revised CL63 AMG cracks off 0-60 sprints in 4.4 seconds (4.3 with the aforementioned Performance Package). But the most noteworthy gain comes in the area of fuel efficiency. Thanks to features like direct injection and automatic start/stop that shuts the engine off when you’re stopped at red lights and the like, AMG claims Version 2.0 of its personal luxury missile is a staggering 27% less thirsty than Version 1.0. How’s that for progress?
Of course, if your fuel and/or carbon offset budget is limitless, the CL65 AMG is still available. Its 6.0L twin-turbo V12 has gained 17hp over the old one, for 621hp, while torque remains at 738 lb.-ft, which is all the 5-speed automatic transmission can handle without covering the road or track with the most expensive shrapnel you’ve ever seen. And both come standard with such techno-wizardry as adaptive steering that compensates for crosswinds, adaptive seats with 4-level massage and an 11-speaker harmon/kardon 5.1 surround sound system. And while scoring a mid-‘60s Ford Galaxie 500XL 427 or Pontiac Catalina 2+2 would be a much cheaper and less snobby-looking way to scratch our big, tire-cooking coupe itch, we certainly wouldn’t turn down a turn behind the wheel of one of these flying boats once they hit U.S. dealers in November (hint hint).