Complex Cupholders - 2005 Mercedes-Benz CL65 AMG Long-Term Road Test

2005 Mercedes-Benz CL65 AMG Long-Term Road Test

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2005 Mercedes-Benz CL65 AMG: Complex Cupholders

April 29, 2014

2005 Mercedes-Benz CL65 AMG

When cupholders do their job, you'll never give them a second thought. But perhaps too much thought was given when Mercedes-Benz designed the cupholders on our long-term 2005 Mercedes-Benz CL65 AMG. They are needlessly complex and aren't very good at holding anything larger than a can of soda.

The cupholders are hidden in the center console until you need them. Using them requires a two-step process (three if you want a second cupholder). When you flip it into position, the cupholder appears on the right, as if it belonged to the passenger. There's a tall (small if you're not versed in Starbucks jargon) iced coffee in the above photo. Opting for the Venti (large) would've been a risky proposition.

When you're done with your beverage of choice, there's a four-step process to put them away (five if you've used the second cupholder).

Take a look at this video to see the cupholders in action:

This may not be the worst cupholder ever (our long-term Miata might take the cake on that), but I'd venture to say that the CL65 may have one of the most complex.

Can you name any other cars with complex cupholders?

Ronald Montoya, Consumer Advice Editor @ 62,714 miles


  • duck87 duck87 Posts:

    I don't understand this fascination that Germans have with overcomplicating basic functions. What advantage is there to this other than moving your small drink off to the passenger side? Here's a better idea for a cupholder: It's called a "hole" in the center console. It's hard for me to fathom the possibility of breaking something like a cupholder, but looking at this design all it takes is an enthusiastic passenger and "sir, that will be $500". What's even harder for me to imagine is that there was undoubtedly an engineer in Germany, probably with a master's or PhD, who spent 2-3 years designing this thing.

  • mercedesfan mercedesfan Posts:

    @duck87, It was a cultural thing. For decades Germans simply didn't understand America's obsession with beverages in the car. Germans simply don't drink anything while driving. Up until the turn of the century there were actually laws in Germany making it

  • goaterguy goaterguy Posts:

    Couldn't agree more. Take a look at the new 911's targa roof complexity and compare it to the new Corvette's one. Ridiculous overcomplication for no reason. All at a savings of $1,330 compared to the convertible version, because when you are buying a Porsche priced over $100k, $1,330 matters...

  • diigii diigii Posts:

    Did M-B offer a separate manual to operate those cupholders? :)

  • bankerdanny bankerdanny Posts:

    The worst cup holders ever were found in my '96 Taurus SHO. Very shallow, yet also very wide, as if the 'designer' expected people to fit actual ceramic coffee cups in them. They were wide enough to hold a 1.5L water bottle, but only about 1.5 inches deep, so pretty much any cup or can of any size became a projectile at even the hint of braking. One of several interior design 'quirks' of that model. The interior was a triumph of 'design' over engineering.

  • greenpony greenpony Posts:

    IIRC, the Mk4 Jetta had flimsy cupholders that retracted into the dash below the central HVAC vents.

  • bryan__t bryan__t Posts:

    My dad had a Mercedes from that era. The first time I borrowed it I was playing with all the gimmicks in the car and opened up the cup-holder. Something went wonky with the cup-holder and it wouldn't close. My buddy and I spent about 20 minutes fiddling with the thing until it retracted, but I doubt it was functional. Luckily, my dad never drinks in his cars. Still, I don't know why MB decided to let Rube Goldberg design this thing.

  • bobinsepa bobinsepa Posts:

    An oldie but a goodie: "German cars don't come with cup-holders for the same reason that German coffee tables don't come with steering wheels."

  • Forget the cup holder, look at that beautiful gated shifter. A real shifter in a Mercedes, not a transmission turn signal switch. Ahhh the good ole days.

  • bankerdanny bankerdanny Posts:

    Greenpony, some did. My GL however had 2 decent cupholders in the center console in front of the fold down arm rest.

  • duck87 duck87 Posts:

    @mercedesfan: If you look at the mechanism, the "pop" out portion is thicker than the water bottle, a necessity to hold it. So why doesn't Mercedes just offer the pop-up cover and a hole for you to put your water bottle in? The Japanese tend to

  • mercedesfan mercedesfan Posts:

    @duck87, Like I said, it is cultural. Germans cars today have perfectly adequate cup holders, but that is only after they begrudgingly submitted to American preferences. Germans simply do not drink beverages in the car (something to be admired, in my hone

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