Fleet News

Revised Mercedes-Benz CL

Mercedes-Benz

Review

The Mercedes-Benz CL-class bridges the gap between the likes of the Jaguar XKR and Maserati 4200 GT at the lower end of the spectrum and the Aston Martin DB7 Vantage at the higher end.

The CL-class, like the S-class, has been treated to a mid-life facelift and gains the new engines offered with the S and now has standard 'Comand' display and navigation controls.

There are minor styling changes like clear-lens headlamps and revised rear light clusters, as well as a new front bumper to give the big coupe a more aggressive stance. As before, the range kicks off with the CL500 (now priced at £68,000 on-the-road to take account of the standard Comand system), which produces 302bhp from its 5.0- litre V8.

It looks a little pricey compared with the Jag, which offers 395bhp for less than £60,000, but Mercedes-Benz would argue that its car is more hi-tech and offers comfortable transport for four people and their luggage.

The XKR is strictly a 2+2 with the second two occupants hard done by when it comes to head and legroom.

Based on the S-class, the CL tries hard to conceal its size with its subtle curves and discreet tricks of the light. It largely succeeds, looking elegant and understated from all angles.

The layout of the controls in the interior is similar to that of the S-class, although the light-tan wood trim in our CL500 test car would not be to everyone's taste.

The 5.0-litre V8 comes to life with barely a whisper and only becomes audible under hard acceleration or in kickdown. It sounds a little sportier than the V12 engine in the CL600, which we also sampled in the S-class last week.

The car seems to shrink around you the more you drive and you feel you can tackle even the tightest and twistiest roads with confidence. However, it is more of a GT in the traditional sense than a sports coupe, with a bias on comfort rather than outright handling.

For your £60,000 you also get active body control, an electronic stabilisation programme, leather trim, infra-red protective glass, parking sensors, automatic headlamps and windscreen wipers as part of the extensive equipment list.

Upgrading to the AMG model gets you special wheels, styling, brakes, sound system and steering wheel gear changing.

Despite the car's all-round competence, it seems rather soulless and for some that might be enough to send them looking elsewhere. But as a four-seater coupe, it is the most complete coupe money can buy.

Mercedes-Benz CL
Model 500 55 AMG 600
Engine (cc): 4,966 5,439 5,513
Max power (bhp/rpm): 302/5,600 493/6,100 493/5,000
Max torque (lb-ft/rpm): 339/3,000 516/2,750 590/1,800
Max speed (mph): 155 155 155
0-62mph (sec): 6.5 4.8 4.8
Fuel consumption (mpg): 23.9 21.4 19.2
CO2 emissions (g/km): 289 317 355
Transmission: 5-sp auto
Fuel tank capacity (l/gal): 88/19.4
Service intervals (miles): Variable under ASSYST
On sale: October 1
Prices (OTR): £68,000 - £91,260

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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