From £94,015
Merc's big two-door gets sharper looks and a new engine
3 September 2010

What is it?

A heavily reworked version of Mercedes-Benz’s four-year-old CL 500, incorporating elements of the German car maker’s new corporate design and an advanced new engine among some interesting additions to its long list of standard safety features in the form of Active Lane Keeping Assist and Active Blind Spot Assist.

Among the more predictable changes to the big Bentley Continental-rivalling coupe is a brace of exterior styling tweaks.

See the test pics of the Merc CL 500 BlueEfficiency

Included are edgier bumpers; the front unit includes new LED running lamps integrated into the middle of the brake cooling ducts, larger and curvier headlamps, and a more contoured bonnet with a more prominent grille.

At the rear there are revised tail-light lenses and, in a bid to give the car greater visual width, new reversing lamps integrated in the boot lid and trapezoidal shaped, chromed tailpipes.

More significant, however, are the changes that have taken place beneath the bonnet. In the place of the outgoing CL 500’s naturally aspirated 5.5-litre V8 is a new twin-turbocharged 4.7-litre V8 boasting added power and torque along with big reductions in consumption and emissions.

With 429bhp and 516lb ft of torque, the new engine delivers 46bhp and 125lb ft more than its predecessor despite its smaller displacement.

Mercedes-Benz also claims an impressive 22 per cent reduction in combined cycle fuel consumption at 29.7mpg – a figure equating to 224g/km in overall CO2 emissions – due, in part, to the incorporation of a stop-start function.

What’s it like?

Effortless, unfussed and wonderfully refined. The added reserves are instantly noticeable; the combination of forced induction and direct injection endow the CL 500’s advanced new engine with greater low-end muscle and a smoother nature through the mid-range than the old naturally aspirated unit.

The result? Fewer revs are required for any given speed and overall refinement is exceptional.


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It might weigh a whopping 2120kg but Mercedes-Benz’s flagship coupe is also impressively quick both from a standing start and through the gears. With all that torque developed at just 1800rpm, it storms away from the line with all the energy of a much lighter car and the acceleration remains strong well into the upper reaches of the speedo.

Mercedes-Benz claims 0-62mph in 4.9sec. The really impressive thing, though, is just how hard it accelerates beyond this. The CL 500 romps from 75mph to 120mph and beyond with a feeling of real invincibility. Makes you wonder why you’d bother with new CL 63 AMG.

As well as providing the CL 500 with a new engine, Mercedes-Benz has also reworked its seven-speed automatic gearbox, providing it with a new torque converter with reduced friction losses and altered shift points.

It swaps ratios decisively but full load upshifts are sometimes met with a nasty thud back through the driveline as the gearbox attempts to corral the engine’s prodigious torque.

The steering is light but linear in its actions and despite the heavy lump of engine there is abundant front-end grip. There is a fair bit of body movement during initial turn-in but it settles quickly and composure is nicely maintained through corners. The best part of its dynamic repertoire, however, remains its superb ride.

Should I buy one?

The new CL 500 is a more rounded car than the one it replaces. The new engine makes it faster and more economical, while improving on the already impressive levels of driveability and refinement.

Add to this its impressive new safety features and impeccable build quality and there’s a lot to recommend it next to the Continental GT, even at ₤89,425.

Mercedes CL 500 BlueEfficiency

Price: £89,425 (est); Top speed: 155mph; 0-62mph: 4.9sec; Economy: 29.7mpg (combined); CO2: 224g/km; Engine: V8, 4663cc, twin-turbocharged, petrol; Power: 429bhp at 5250rpm; Torque: 516lb ft at 1800rpm-3500rpm; Gearbox: 7-spd automatic

Join the debate



6 September 2010

Is that Barack Obama driving in the last photo? - I think the car would suit him.

Mercedes-Benz CL CL500:

6 September 2010

Although i'm not 100% convinced by the new rear end, I think the CL is a lovely but often overlooked car. And i think that is much to do with the fact that even the Mercedes badge struggles to convince punters to spend £80k+ on its luxury coupe range, something which Bentley has no problems doing with the far more expensive Continental GT. I probably see about a dozen GTs to every one CL.

Merc has no problems shifting SLs and SLSs over £80k, but the CL is different strangely.

6 September 2010

BlueEfficiency & 4.7L engine!

6 September 2010

, strange but true and probably a lot to do with the fact that Mercedes somewhat devalued their own brand with quality issues and also widening the range so much. That said, the CL is a much better rounded car than the Bentley. Decades ago the image, quality and reputation of Mercs such as the Grosser and the Gullwing allowed them to command the highest list prices for fantastic cars. Unfortunatley over the years other manufactures like BMW and Audi have caught up producing very similar products which can be seen as the three have almost mirrored each other's vehicle line ups. I think Mercedes missed a trick with the Maybach. They built an extremely capable car but forgot to aim for style and taste in the process. Perhaps not too late to rectify it with an uber luxury coupe (I remember reading about one recently).

6 September 2010

By the way, the CL at Launch was the car that restarted the fad of white cars in recent years. That was a great call by merc judging by the number of white Audis, BMWs etc you see on the road again!

6 September 2010

Rear window = S-type Jag?

6 September 2010

I have always had a bit of a thing for the CL, particularly a 3 year old example with a few miles and someone else taking the depreciation hit. Then I think about the mpg as I do a lot of miles, give an LPG conversion some thought, soon give that up and wonder why they don't do a CL350 CDI. I am not sure about the latest over-styled nose design that Mercedes are adopting - spoilt the SL as well to my eyes.

6 September 2010

[quote kahostheory]I have always had a bit of a thing for the CL, particularly a 3 year old example with a few miles and someone else taking the depreciation hit. Then I think about the mpg [/quote]

Me too; I love its design (both exterior and interior) but the fuel economy puts me off somewhat...and maintenance also won't be cheap.

7 September 2010

[quote kahostheory]and wonder why they don't do a CL350 CDI.[/quote]

Because it's a flagship luxury coupe. Maximizing sales isn't the point. It's similar to asking why, given that it shares a platform with the Phaeton, the Conti GT isn't available with the VW 3.0 TDI. CLs have always been V8/V12 and appropriately so, the whole point is that it isn't to be owned by people wondering how much it will cost.

I agree though, a nice used CL is a great buy. Quite a few have low mileages and they're rarer than the Conti GT. I think the interior in them is great too.

7 September 2010

Under 225 tax threshold - irrelevant but very impressive.

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