2005 Mercedes-Benz CL65 AMG Long-Term Road Test

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2005 Mercedes-Benz CL65 AMG: Performance Testing

February 27, 2014

2005 Mercedes-Benz CL65 AMG

By a rounding error of horsepower and an entire bucket of torque, our 2005 Mercedes-Benz CL65 AMG is the most powerful car we've ever had in the long-term test fleet.

Our awesome 2009 Dodge Viper was close, making 600 horsepower and a pedestrian 560 pound-feet of torque with fewer cylinders but way more displacement. Our SLS AMG roadster was kind of close in power with 563 hp and a laughable 479 torques. But what our CL65 AMG really feels closest to is our long-term Tesla Model S. It's all thrust, all the time. That car makes 416 hp and 443 lb-ft of torque, but does it in such a bizarrely smooth way that those numbers hardly feel relevant.

With its 6.0-liter V12 engine and a pair of turbochargers, the CL65 AMG makes a whopping 604 hp and 738 asphalt-peeling lb-ft of torque. Or at least it did in 2005. Have the past nine years and 59,000 miles taken a spring out of the old girl's step? We took it to the track to find out.

 
CL65 AMG
Tesla Model S
SLS AMG
2009 Viper
 
0-60
4.2
4.4
4.0
3.7
0-60 (with rollout)
4.0
4.1
3.6
3.4
1/4-mile (sec. @ mph)
12.2 @ 116.4
12.6 @ 108.4
11.7 @ 122.3
11.6 @ 125.7
60-0
112
113
106
107
Skid pad (ft.)
0.88
0.87
0.95
0.96
Slalom
63.9
63.6
68.6
74.0
As-tested weight
4,646
4,721
3,830
3,436

Vehicle:
Odometer: 59,033
Date: 1/21/2014
Driver: Mike Monticello
Price: $34,000 (New: $181,240)

Specifications:
Drive Type: Front engine, rear-wheel drive
Transmission Type: Five-speed automatic
Engine Type: Longitudinal, twin-turbocharged V12
Displacement (cc/cu-in): 5,980/365
Redline (rpm): 5,500
Horsepower (hp @ rpm): 604 @ 4,800
Torque (lb-ft @ rpm): 738 @ 2,000
Brake Type (front): 15.4-inch ventilated, drilled and slotted discs with eight-piston fixed calipers
Brake Type (rear): 14.4-inch ventilated and drilled discs with four-piston fixed calipers
Tire Size (front): 245/40ZR19 98Y
Tire Size (rear): 275/35ZR19 96Y
Tire Brand: Michelin
Tire Model: Pilot Sport A/S 3 M+S
Tire Type: Asymmetrical, directional all-season
As Tested Curb Weight (lb): 4,646

Test Results:

Acceleration
0-30 (sec): 2.0 (w/ TC off 2.1)
0-45 (sec): 2.9 (w/ TC off 3.1)
0-60 (sec): 4.2 (w/ TC off 4.4)
0-60 with 1-ft Rollout (sec): 4.0 (w/ TC off 4.1)
0-75 (sec): 5.8 (5.9 w/ TC off)
1/4-Mile (sec @ mph): 12.2 @ 116.4 (12.4 @ 115.5 w/ TC off)

Braking
30-0 (ft): 29
60-0 (ft): 112

Handling
Slalom (mph): 63.9
Skid Pad Lateral Acceleration (g): 0.89

Comments:
Acceleration: Here's what's amazing: On the first run, with traction control on and going straight from brake to full throttle, this 9-year-old car did zero to 60 mph in 4.2 seconds. The rush of power is alarming, yet utterly smooth. If there ever was a deceptively fast car, it's this CL65. Unfortunately, we could never duplicate that original run. Trap speeds did drop off a bit on subsequent runs, but it was more due to controlling wheelspin partway through 1st gear with traction control switched off. The other problem is that the transmission will upshift to 2nd early when it gets decent wheelspin, which immediately kills the run. But still, even 4.4 seconds to 60 mph is pretty darn incredible. Manual shifting is via buttons on the back of the steering wheel or the console shift lever (slap left to downshift). It does not hold gears to the rev limiter (shifts at 5,500 rpm) and does not blip the throttle on manual downshifts.
Braking: Considering that the CL65 has a pretty long-travel pedal in around-town braking, it felt pretty good in our panic stops. The pedal did get a bit more spongy by the final run or two. Not too much nosedive but lots of crazy ABS commotion, especially at the end of the stop. Consistent distances. The first stop was the shortest at 112 feet. The fourth stop was the longest at 115 feet and the sixth and final stop was 113 feet.

Handling
Slalom: The rock-hard all-season tires aren't helping the big CL in this test. It's interesting driving the car around the cones, because it feels really old. The steering is super-slow and requires busy hands to make it turn. The ABC (active body control) suspension gives little feeling because it allows minimal body roll. But considering the tires, how big and heavy it is and the car's age, this isn't a bad performance.
Skid pad: While the active suspension returns little feedback to the driver due to the lack of lean angle, there's no denying that 0.89g is a better-than-expected level of grip.

2005 Mercedes-Benz CL65 AMG

Mike Magrath, Features Editor (@Mike_Magrath) @ 59,033 miles

Most Recommended Comments

By bankerdanny
on 02/27/14
7:56 AM PST

I disagree judd. This isn't a sports sedan. Look at the weight 4700 pounds! This is an autobahn cruiser, a car to drive to Alaska and back really fast, not a car to tear up a canyon road or a switchback filled euro mountain road. Summer tires would be a waste of money.

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