September 8, 2014
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.
August 19, 2014
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.
July 11, 2014
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.
May 27, 2014
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.
May 23, 2014
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.
May 19, 2014
"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.
March 26, 2014
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.
March 25, 2014
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.
March 7, 2014
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.
February 27, 2014
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.
February 21, 2014
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.
February 14, 2014
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.
January 8, 2014
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.
January 3, 2014
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.
December 26, 2013
This might be my current favorite long-term test car. I only drove it one night so far but I'm smitten.