2005 Mercedes-Benz CL65 AMG Long-Term Road Test

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2005 Mercedes-Benz CL65 AMG: Oregon Road Trip Part 2

September 8, 2014

2005 Mercedes-Benz CL65 AMG

Read Oregon Road Trip Part 1

One should never underestimate the sheer size of California. Oregon may be a neighboring state, but from my house in Los Angeles, it's a 660-mile journey that takes at least 10 hours. And that's just to get to the border.

In other words, my wife and I were going to be in the car for a long time. Well, as long as it kept running, which when it comes to the 2005 Mercedes-Benz CL65 AMG, was not a foregone conclusion.

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2005 Mercedes-Benz CL65 AMG: Our Engine Builder

August 19, 2014

2005 Mercedes-Benz CL65 AMG

I'd like to meet Andreas Schulz.

I probably never will, but it would be a thrill to meet the man that built the 6.0-liter, 604-hp, twin-turbo V12 that powers our long-term 2005 Mercedes-Benz CL65 AMG.

How do I know it was Mr. Schulz that painstakingly assembled our engine? Simple, he signed it.

No I'm not kidding. Every AMG engine is built by one man at the company's facility in Affalterbach, Germany. And when he is finished, and the engine is ready to be installed in a vehicle, he signs it just as Picasso signed his works.

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2005 Mercedes-Benz CL65 AMG: Active Body Control

July 11, 2014

2005 Mercedes-Benz CL65 AMG

One of the reasons NOT to buy a used 2005 Mercedes-Benz CL65 AMG is Active Body Control. It is a common and expensive source of problems with the car, and we've already experienced a few thus far in our short time owning our CL.

However, before you bemoan ABC's unreliability and laugh at us for making such a foolhardy used car buying decision, allow me to offer a retort: ABC is wildly sophisticated and thoroughly impressive.

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2005 Mercedes-Benz CL65 AMG: Effortless Power

May 27, 2014

2005 Mercedes-Benz CL65 AMG

With 604 horsepower and 738 pound-feet of torque coming from the V12 in our 2005 Mercedes-Benz CL65 AMG, you expect (and get) jetliner-like acceleration when you punch the accelerator. But another quality about this V12 that I enjoy comes about when you're not driving it hard.

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2005 Mercedes-Benz CL65 AMG: Exhaust Sound Video

May 23, 2014

2005 Mercedes-Benz CL65 AMG

If you knew you were about to fire up a car with a hand-built, twin-turbocharged 6.0-liter V12 good for 604 horsepower, you'd probably expect to hear the automotive equivalent of Wagner's Ride of the Valkyries. But this is our 2005 Mercedes-Benz CL65 AMG. Apparently, a certain amount of decorum is required.

If you're seated inside with the windows up and twist the key (or push the starter button atop the gear shifter), there's very little indication about what just came to life underneath that hood. It's a "civilized" V12 sound. But if you're standing outside of the car near the exhaust tips, it's a very different sound.

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2005 Mercedes-Benz CL65 AMG: Built for the Autobahn

May 19, 2014

2005 Mercedes-Benz CL65 AMG

"It feels like it wants to cruise at 90 mph." This is what my coworker James Riswick recently told me about what it's like to drive our 2005 Mercedes-Benz CL65 AMG on the highway. I hadn't driven our CL previous to that. But sure enough James was right.

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2005 Mercedes-Benz CL65 AMG: The CD Player Changed My Mind

March 26, 2014

2005 Mercedes-Benz CL65 AMG

In the past I've been doubtful about our long-term 2005 Mercedes-Benz CL65 AMG. I've wondered why James Riswick and Mike Magrath were so excited to get one. I've thought, "It's a big, old, silver Mercedes. What's appealing or unique about that? Can't we just get another NSX?" And when I have had the chance to drive our CL65, it has been on short commutes tarnished by the soul-crushing rush-hour traffic in West Los Angeles.

It's not an ideal environment for a fair evaluation, but on a seemingly mundane Tuesday evening, my mind was completely changed about this car, all because of the CD player.

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2005 Mercedes-Benz CL65 AMG: Dyno Tested

March 25, 2014

2005 Mercedes-Benz CL65 AMG

Our long-term 2005 Mercedes-Benz CL65 AMG is defined by its numbers in a way that few cars are. Big weight, big dollars, big torque, big power. Even twelve cylinders weren't enough when Affalterbach was devising its looney-tunes M275 engine. It had to be a twin-turbo V12. With twenty-four spark plugs, because it needed another big number.

So we recently hit the dyno rollers in our CL65 AMG in pursuit of knowledge. First, of course, big numbers. But we also wanted to find out if age and miles have eroded this thing's ability to belt out the goods. Our performance testing of the big coupe was certainly an informative exercise to help flesh out the answer, but a dyno test can tell us so much more.

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2005 Mercedes-Benz CL65 AMG: Monster Brakes

March 7, 2014

2005 Mercedes-Benz CL65 AMG

While the 2005 Mercedes CL65 AMG's twin-turbo V12 gets all the attention, it's not the only thing in our big Benz that boasts prodigious power. Lost in the acceleration numbers of our recent CL65 AMG track test was the braking distance.

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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.

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2005 Mercedes-Benz CL65 AMG: Hot Lap by the Stig

February 21, 2014

2005 Mercedes-Benz CL65 AMG

The 2005 Mercedes CL65 AMG was made for a lot of things: Being fancy. Being comfortable. Cruising. Long highway rides. Burnouts. Having more torque than anything else. Costing more than anything else in the MB fleet. Being pillarless.

What it's not made for, despite a 604-horsepower twin-turbo V12, is lapping a racetrack. Still, that didn't stop the boys from Top Gear putting the Stig behind the wheel to see how fast it went 'round their track. Stay tuned for our own testing numbers — performed by people with names and faces — shortly.

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2005 Mercedes-Benz CL65 AMG: Not My Favorite Engine

February 14, 2014

2005 Mercedes-Benz CL65 AMG

On paper, our 2005 Mercedes CL65 AMG looks like a monster. Its twelve-cylinder, twin-turbo engine has more horsepower than most sports cars while its torque output would impress an F-350 owner.

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2005 Mercedes-Benz CL65 AMG: Grand Canyon Road Trip

January 8, 2014

2005 Mercedes-Benz CL65 AMG

It's become an annual tradition that my wife and I take a post-Christmas road trip. Two years ago it was the long-term Mustang GT to Atascadero, Calif., and last year it was the long-term VW Beetle Turbo to Hearst Castle. This year we went way bigger on all fronts: Grand Canyon via Las Vegas in our new/old 2005 Mercedes-Benz CL65 AMG.

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2005 Mercedes-Benz CL65 AMG: It's Big, Heavy and Hard to Park

January 3, 2014

2005 Mercedes-Benz CL65 AMG

Our long-term 2005 Mercedes-Benz CL65 AMG is big. The V12 engine is big, the seats are big, it's over 16 feet long, and at approximately 4,700 pounds it feels predictably heavy. By comparison, it's a foot longer and nearly 1,000 pounds heavier than our old long-term SLS AMG roadster.

All this, plus our coupe's lack of a rear-view camera, makes it pretty difficult to maneuver in parking lots and snug up to curbs without scratching the wheels. Unquestionably, our CL65 AMG is quick, but make no mistake, there's a lot of car here.

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2005 Mercedes-Benz CL65 AMG: Smooth

December 26, 2013

2005 Mercedes-Benz CL65 AMG

This might be my current favorite long-term test car. I only drove it one night so far but I'm smitten.

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