At what point does ‘good enough’ become ‘too much’?

I only ask because the other evening I ended up with the key to a Mercedes-Benz CL65 AMG, the £149k, twin-turbo V12 monster coupé. And never before have I experienced such a sensation of pure overkill.

The CL65 is mightily impressive, of course; its engine feels like it could pull a cruise liner, the interior is beautifully finished and supremely well insulated, to the point where you’d be hard pushed to know that the engine is running at all, were you not travelling at such a decent lick.

And yet as I cruised down the M3 at an appropriate speed, I remembered that lesser CLs – even the CL63 AMG, some £45,000 cheaper – do 99.9 per cent of the same job, for anything approaching 50 per cent of the cost.

The CL65 AMG is a Rolex of the car world; everything it possesses can easily be matched by far cheaper models, except its status as a range-topper. And Mercedes clearly thinks that there are enough people in the world willing to pay a £45k premium for that, if only to prove that they can.

Still, Rolex has done pretty well over the years. So perhaps there’s no such thing as ‘too much’ after all.

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