A coupe with the size and price tag that comes with the 2012 Mercedes-Benz CL-Class can only be found on competitive vehicles from Jaguar and Bentley. While the CL-Class is shorter than the S-Class, the 2012 CL takes some styling cues from its big brother. The 2012 CL offers can be dressed in four different models, and is the first car in the world to use active LED headlights. The CL-Class offers the choice of a revamped V-8 or a V-12 mated to either a five-speed or seven-speed automatic transmission.
Step on the gas pedal of the CL and expect to inertia to force you back into your seat. The CL's steering is quick to the touch, giving the driver an active driving experience. All the while, the driver and passenger are surrounded by the most luxurious cabin Mercedes-Benz can dream up. If you insist on taking two more passengers you can, but those who do it frequently should consider the S-Class sedan, which has everything the CL-Class offers with a real rear seat.
Engines: 4.6-liter V-8, 5.5-liter turbocharged V-8, 6.0-liter V-12, 6.2-liter V-12
Transmissions: 5-speed automatic, 7-speed automatic
Model: CL550 4MATIC, CL63 AMG, CL600, CL65 AMG
The CL rolls into 2012 with new style, two new V-8 engines and the world's-first active LED headlights. New aluminum doors hug the sides of the coupe while electromechanical steering directs it where to go. Fuel efficiency is the name of the game with the new direct-injection 4.6-liter V-8 being mated with a seven-speed automatic transmission in the CL550. The CL63 welcomes the addition of a direct-injection 5.5-liter V-8 with ECO Stop/Start Technology. Other technology updates include a color instrument cluster display, multicolor lighting, and a central controller. LED taillights and Active Parking Assist also make an appearance on the 2012 model.
The 2012 CL-Class has an exterior that looks sinuous even at a standstill, and if you tack on the AMG package you have one mean looking Benz. A redesigned front fascia in 2011 has been carried on into the current model year, which along with other body accents makes the CL visually appealing. While the rear end draws some ire for resembling a mid-90s Pontiac Sunfire, the rest of the CL executes the new look well. Depending on the trim and options selected, 18-, 19-, or 20-inch wheels carry the CL down the road and LED turn signals and taillights come along for the ride.
The CL-Class seats four people, two very uncomfortably in the backseat. An 11-speaker Harman/Kardon sound system surrounds leather seats, both of which are standard inside the CL. A Bluetooth interface, iPod integration, and Alcantara headliner are available options. A sliding glass sunroof headlines the usual cutting edge technology found in a Mercedes-Benz interior while polished wood and ornate leather line the surfaces inside. Refined wood makes up the center console and can also be switched out for a console made of carbon fiber.
Performance & Handling
A twin-turbo V-8 was added last year, giving the mid-range CL-Class more power, but it pales in comparison to the largest engine that can be found in the CL-Class. A V-12 that churns out 621 horsepower will make even the most seasoned driver smile when hitting the accelerator. All four engines offered provide power that stretches for miles backed by an arsenal of seven-speed automatics. Don't let the CL's size fool you either; the handling is second to none. If the standard options aren't enough, slap the AMG tag on to get even more power to accelerate and brake just as quickly.
Mercedes-Benz stuffs its vehicles with safety features and the 2012 CL is no exception. Active Lane Keeping Assist aides' drivers to avoid hazards through corrective braking by recognizing lane markings. Alerts are sent to the driver if the CL crosses the lines by an electric motor that makes the steering rumble. Electronic Stability Program is applied to this system while Active Blind Spot and Attention Assist are available safety features as well. 10 airbags line the interior of the CL with dual front airbags, front and rear side airbags, driver-side knee bag, and full-length head curtain all come standard. All four wheels have disc brakes with ABS and stability control to keep the driver in control of the CL.
EPA Fuel Economy
CL550 4MATIC: 15 mpg city/ 24 mpg highway
CL63 AMG: 15 mpg city/ 22 mpg highway
CL600: 12 mpg city/ 18 mpg highway
CL65 AMG: 12 mpg city / 18 mpg highway
You Won't Like
- AMG entry price
AWD offered with one engine
One fast two door
If You Like This Vehicle
- Bentley Continental GT
- Jaguar XK
- Aston Martin DB9