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Mercedes-Benz CL600

Mercedes-Benz

Review

Now I'm not going to get into a debate on the different cultures we have in Europe, but I am going to stick my neck out and say, definitely, that the Germans do have a sense of humour.

I came to this conclusion only recently, after spending a week behind the wheel of Mercedes-Benz's CL600, a £92,985, four seater luxury express which can outsprint most sports cars despite weighing roughly the same as a family of elephants.

This super coupe boasts a quite staggering 5.5-litre engine which, through the help of two turbochargers, produces an almighty 500bhp and 589lb-ft of torque.

This means the CL600 will sprint from 0–62mph in 4.8 seconds, about on a par with Porsche's 911 and Ferrari's 360 Modena. But that initial burst of acceleration is a small part of the CL's performance repartee, as is its top speed, which is electronically-limited to 155mph. What is really staggering about the CL600 is its mid-range performance.

Pick any speed and any gear, floor the throttle and, with the accompaniment of a touch of wheelspin before the electronic trickery sorts things out, you are hurled towards the horizon at a colossal rate of knots, or miles per hour if you prefer. In many ways it simply shouldn't happen – the CL is the coupe version of Mercedes-Benz's biggest car offering, the S-class, and with its weight it shouldn't be able to accelerate in the way it does.

But those German engineers have ensured the CL600's engine has so much power that seemingly anything is possible – see they do have a sense of humour after all. And to prove the point even further, they have just finished working on a new, more powerful version (as if one were needed). Coming to a showroom near you soon is the mighty CL65 AMG (replacing the already impressive CL55 AMG) which is powered by a new 6.0-litre twin-turbocharged V12 engine which has even more oomph – 612bhp and 738lb-ft of torque or, for the metrically minded, 1,000Nm.

As its name suggests, this CL has been given a thorough working over by Mercedes-Benz's AMG performance division to give it more of a driver focus with a firmer ride and quicker-shifting gearbox.

But for the time being the ultimate CL is the 600 and, to be honest, it has more than enough performance to satisfy even the most ardent petrolhead.

True it may not like corners too much (the AMG version will certainly be better), but as a transcontinental bullet, the CL600 is the ultimate Merc.

It cruises at high speed with the minimum of effort, it insulates the occupants from the outside world like no other car I have driven and it has true road presence.

Factor in a luxuriously- trimmed cabin, so many toys that you never quite work out what all the buttons do, and a sleek body, and the CL600 rightly holds its place at the top of the Mercedes-Benz tree.

However, that CL65 AMG does sound mighty tempting.

Model: Mercedes-Benz CL600
Engine (cc): 5,513
Power (bhp/rpm): 500/5,000
Torque (lb-ft/rpm): 589/1,800
Max speed (mph): 155 (limited)
0-62mph (sec): 4.8
Fuel consumption (mpg): 19.2
CO2 emissions (g/km): 353
Transmission: 5-sp auto
On sale: Now
Price (OTR): £92,985

CO2 emissions and fuel consumption data correct at time of writing. The latest figures are available in the Fleet News fuel cost calculator and the company car tax calculator.

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