2005 Mercedes-Benz CL65 AMG: Big New Battery Saves Idiot
June 16, 2014
Fellow editor Brent Romans recently replaced the battery in our long-term 2005 Mercedes-Benz CL65 AMG.
And it's a good thing, too, because I'm an idiot.
Among other reasons I'm sure readers will point out, here's why. There I was, driving the CL65 up a narrow street in Los Angeles. After a third car pulled out from a side street in front of me, I decided it would be smart to turn on the headlights. Y'know, so that people might actually see the nearly two-and-a-half-ton coupe coming at them in the daylight of late afternoon.
Shortly thereafter, I parked. I'd completely forgotten that I'd switched the headlights on. It was still plenty light out, so their glow was not apparent from behind the wheel. I locked it up and walked away.
But what of the warning? Surely the CL65 warns you that you left the headlights on, right? Yes, the CL65 chimed and alerted, but since it always chimes at you and displays the message you see above, I've since tuned it out completely. It chimes when you unlock it and open the door; it chimes when you switch off the engine and open the door. Chime chime chime. I don't even look at the display anymore. If I had, I'd have seen the key warning above, then a "headlights on" warning a few seconds later. But I didn't.
Nearly three hours later, I returned to the car. It was now dark out. The CL65's headlights were readily apparent a block away. I immediately realized what I'd done. On one hand, I was relieved the headlights were still on. This meant the battery wasn't dead.
On the other hand, the CL65 has a monster starter motor. Seriously, it sounds like a race car's external starter during cranking, going VREEEEEE instead of the typical chuggachuggachugga of lesser engines.The thing probably draws a Hoover Dam-grade amount of current. If the battery was at all compromised after leaving the headlights on for almost three freaking hours, it wouldn't have enough sauce to turn the starter, and I'd have needed a jump.
No matter. The starter cranked as usual, the big V12 lit up as usual, and I was on my way.
It probably helped that the CL65 has HID headlights that don't draw as much current as do halogens. It probably helped more that the battery in this car is the size of Missouri. And brand new. Thanks, Brent!
Jason Kavanagh, Engineering Editor @ 64,315 miles