A surfeit of power is matched by a sharp chassis
Diamond-stitched seats unique to the CL 65
CL 65 beats the plane
What is it?
The latest in a long line of insanely powerful Mercedes models. The CL 65 uses the same engine as its predecessor: a twin-turbo 6.0-litre V12 delivering 612bhp at 4800rpm and a vast 737lb ft of torque at 2000rpm. Derived from the smaller-capacity powerplant found in the Maybach, it continues to be mated to Merc’s five-speed automatic transmission, owing to the newer seven-speed unit’s inability to cope with such outrageous twist.
What’s it like?
There are many things to like about the insanely powerful CL 65 AMG – a car many will surely argue is wildly out of step with these environmentally sensitive times. However, nothing is more compelling than its ability to devour vast distances with such nonchalant ease. As a way to do this it is hugely convincing and, from behind the steering wheel at least, far more entertaining than any Airbus.
Supercar-challenging performance is coupled with the refinement to make some high-end GT rivals appear positively ragged in comparison. Despite tipping the scales at 2240kg, the CL 65 AMG blasts its way to 62mph from standstill in just 4.4sec. Top speed, as ever, is an electronically limited 155mph. Which is a shame for autobahn cruising, because the CL65 is apparently geared for an unrestricted top speed of 212mph.
Whatever the case, the CL 65’s overtaking ability is stunning. Floor the throttle to unleash all the torque and it romps down the road, making big distances shrink underneath its impressive-looking 20-inch alloys and open corners suddenly seem treacherously tight as you arrive at them at speeds well above what seems probable.
Dynamically, it is vastly improved over the old CL 65 AMG, offering improved stability, sharper reactions and much more feel through the wheel. Push hard over challenging roads and it holds on remarkably well, but its natural environment is wide-open motorways.
Should I buy one?
If you’re the kind of person who demands the most of everything, then yes. But the most isn’t always the best, and we’d probably still say that the regular CL 500 is the pick of the range.