What's New for 2013
The Mercedes-Benz CL-Class returns unchanged for 2013.
The premise of the 2013 Mercedes-Benz CL-Class is pretty simple. First, start with one of the best car platforms to date, the Mercedes-Benz S-Class. Then remove the rear doors, give it a sleek profile, label it the CL-Class and call it a day. Yet from this simple formula arises one of the most desirable and prestigious coupes available today.
Passengers in the Mercedes CL-Class are treated to an exquisite cabin, impeccable manners on the road and a wealth of power under the hood. It is everything you'd expect from an S-Class sedan. Rather than looking like a limousine, though, the CL's athletic stance and arching roof line lend it an air of vitality and classy youthfulness that is a rarity among luxury cars.
With the CL, you get a car that delivers on its appearance of vigor. The CL-Class base model starts with a twin-turbo 4.7-liter V8 that thumps out 429 horsepower and 516 pound-feet of torque. From there, higher-trimmed models add more and more power until you get to the breathtaking CL65 AMG with its twin-turbo 536-hp V12.
But just as you'd expect, these looks and thrills don't come cheap. Indeed, the 2013 Mercedes-Benz CL-Class has to compete against some equally impressive alternatives. In terms of price, the 2013 Maserati GranTurismo is closest to the base CL-Class and benefits from one of the most beautifully styled exteriors pounded out of sheet metal. The Aston Martin DB9 and 2013 Bentley Continental GT are closer to the cost of the CL65, arguably more exotic and are capable of exhilarating performance, too.
If you're fortunate enough to be in this market, know that it it's pretty much impossible to be disappointed by any of these cars. Yet for an overall combination of comfort, feature content, performance and prestige, it's the Mercedes-Benz CL-Class that will likely prove to be the most appealing.
Body Styles, Trim Levels, and Options
The 2013 Mercedes-Benz CL-Class is a large, four-passenger coupe available in four trims that correspond with engine size: CL550 4Matic, CL600, CL63 AMG and CL65 AMG.
Standard equipment on the CL550 includes 18-inch wheels, adaptive air suspension, active bi-xenon headlights, LED running lights, a sunroof, a power rear window sunshade, keyless ignition/entry, a power-operated trunk and front and rear parking sensors. Inside the cabin, you get leather upholstery and trim, heated and ventilated 10-way power front seats with four-way adjustable lumbar, front seat memory functions, ambient lighting, Bluetooth, Mercedes-Benz mbrace emergency telematics, the COMAND electronics interface, a navigation system, voice controls and an 11-speaker Harman Kardon surround-sound audio system with a six-CD/DVD changer, HD radio, satellite radio and an iPod interface.
The Premium 2 package adds a rearview camera, infrared night vision display and front seats with massage and active bolsters. The Driver Assistance package adds adaptive cruise control, crash detection and an automated braking system, a blind-spot warning system and a lane-departure warning system. The Sport package adds 19-inch AMG wheels and sport body styling. The Sport Package Plus One adds 20-inch AMG wheels, high-performance tires and the sport body styling.
The CL600 includes the Premium 2 and Driver Assistance packages, plus a V12 engine, 19-inch wheels, Active Body Control, a heated steering wheel, heated and ventilated eight-way power rear seats and a faux-suede headliner.
The CL63 AMG offers the same comfort, luxury and convenience features as the CL550, and offers the Premium 2 and Driver Assistance packages as options. However, the CL63 gets a more powerful twin-turbo V8, various AMG-tuned components (suspension, brakes, steering and exhaust), 20-inch AMG wheels, Active Body Control, AMG-specific styling tweaks, a sport steering wheel, different interior trim and front sport seats with adjustable bolsters and massage. The AMG Performance package (optional only on the CL63) adds a raised top speed, additional power and a carbon-fiber engine cover.
The CL65 AMG gets the same AMG components as the 63, but with the added benefit of the twin-turbo V12. It also gets all the same luxury and convenience features as the CL600.
Powertrains and Performance
The 2013 Mercedes-Benz CL550 4Matic is powered by a twin-turbo 4.7-liter V8 that produces 429 hp and 516 lb-ft of torque. A seven-speed automatic is standard. The CL550 is the only member of the CL-Class to get all-wheel drive -- the rest send their power to the rear wheels. In Edmunds performance testing, the CL550 went from zero to 60 mph in an impressive 4.6 seconds. EPA-estimated fuel economy is 15 mpg city/24 mpg highway and 18 mpg combined.
The CL600 gets a twin-turbo 5.5-liter V12 that produces 510 hp and 612 lb-ft of torque. An older five-speed automatic transmission is needed to handle all that torque. Mercedes estimates that the car will hit 60 mph in 4.5 seconds. EPA-estimated fuel economy is 12/18/14.
The CL63 AMG features a twin-turbo 5.5-liter V8 that produces 536 hp and 590 lb-ft of torque. With the AMG Performance package, these numbers increase to 563 and 664, respectively. AMG's seven-speed dual-clutch automated manual is standard. Mercedes estimates a 0-60 time of 4.4 seconds without the AMG package. Fuel economy stands at 15/22/18.
Finally, the CL65 AMG gets a twin-turbo 6.0-liter V12 capable of altering the earth's rotation (well, it sure seems like it, anyway) with 621 hp and 738 lb-ft of torque. An AMG-tuned five-speed automatic is responsible for sending that power to the tires. The car's 0-60 time is estimated at 4.2 seconds. EPA-estimated fuel economy is 12/18/14.
Standard safety equipment includes stability and traction control, antilock brakes with brake drying, active front head restraints, front and rear side airbags, side curtain airbags, a driver knee airbag and Mercedes-Benz mbrace emergency telematics.
Optional on the CL550 and CL63, but standard on the CL600 and CL65, are a rearview camera, infrared night vision display, a pre-crash detection and automated braking system, a blind-spot warning system and a lane-departure warning system.
In Edmunds brake testing, a CL550 4Matic came to a stop from 60 mph in 108 feet -- an excellent distance for such a large car.
Interior Design and Special Features
The 2013 Mercedes-Benz CL boasts essentially the same elegant, luxurious cabin layout as the S-Class sedan. The supple materials, rich leather and gleaming polished wood are of the highest quality, and fit and finish is superb. Although the doors are large and heavy, they open easily and close tightly thanks to a power-operated closing assist. We also can't say enough about the traditional coupe roof line's lack of a B-pillar, which creates a sense of interior openness that very few cars with a fixed roof can match.
A wide range of steering wheel and seat adjustments, plus heated, ventilated and (optional) massaging front seats combine to make trips of any length comfortable in a variety of climes. The rear seats provide a fair amount of room for passengers, while in CL600 and CL65 guise they offer eight-way adjustment, heating and ventilation. Trunk capacity measures 13.5 cubic feet, which is more than enough for weekend bags and golf clubs.
You just don't expect something this big to be this quick, but the 2013 Mercedes-Benz CL-Class is a certifiable monster of power. Even the base CL550 delivers the sort of thrust that would've been restricted to lighter AMG models several years ago. All the other engines simply turn the dial up further, with the CL65 AMG topping out with its twin-turbo V12 and otherworldly 738 lb-ft of torque.
Of course, there's more to these cars than the engines. Each is an autobahn-bred grand touring car capable of reeling off great distances with the utmost comfort. The CL's handling is respectable for a large coupe, especially with the Active Body Control suspension technology (standard on all but the CL550 4Matic), which suppresses body roll in corners. We would never describe the AMG models as athletic, but their responsiveness to inputs is nevertheless impressive given their size and impeccable ride quality.