2005 Mercedes-Benz CL65 AMG: Oregon Road Trip Part 2
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.
My wife and I departed due north on a Sunday afternoon, opting to forego the interminable, truck-clogged slog of Interstate 5 through the Central Valley. Instead, we opted for Highway 99, a route that would add about 20 minutes, but would prove to be far friendlier to my psyche, as there are more turns to keep things interesting, more places to stop, more stretches of three lanes and seemingly fewer insane and/or inept drivers.
This, paired with the CL65's many long-haul talents, made our first, six-hour leg to Sacramento feel like a quick trip to grandma's house.
The next day's drive up the far more pleasant stretch of Interstate 5 from Sacramento to Grant's Pass, Oregon, was essentially the same story — albeit with more interesting scenery.
From Redding, California, northward, the 5 meanders its way through the southern Cascades and past stunning scenery, including the imposing Mt. Shasta that was shrouded in clouds like an eerie landmark along Frodo's path in Lord of the Rings. Photo op stops in the nearby town of Weed and at the Welcome to Oregon sign were obligatory.
It was along this stretch in the Cascades where the CL65's Active Body Control displayed its talents beyond providing a serene ride. With an abundance of long, high-speed sweepers, ABC did its thing, keeping the car flat as Fresno through corners despite the ample speeds I was carrying.
I did engage ABC Sport mode once or twice, but found its effects to be negligible in terms of road holding, body roll and even ride quality. There's certainly less of a difference than you'll find in current AMG Mercedes with adjustable suspensions.
Plus, despite many pre-journey prognostications from my colleagues, ABC didn't relieve itself of hydraulic fluid or blow a $900 part that needed to be flown in from Affalterbach in a carbon fiber box protected by a gentleman named Hans. Nor did the bi-turbo V12 require a new spark plug or 12. All in all, things were going swimmingly.
Of course, we would be hitting Crater Lake the next day and I had already been told there was something wrong with the parking brake. Perhaps swimmingly wasn't the best choice of words.
James Riswick, Automotive Editor @ 66,988 miles