Luxury Car Review:
While a bit shy of, say, an unobtainable Rolls-Royce or Bentley, the
CL550 represents the finest Mercedes money can buy, and it will take
plenty of cash to bring it home too.
I normally mention
price at the end of a story, but here it is now, the MSRP price was
$118,665, including a few options from the base price of “only”
$103,100. With that over with, let’s consider what you get for that
Most noticeable is the
sheer beauty and presence of the car. Based on the large S-Class sedan
platform, the CL is a pillarless coupe, a rarity these days.
The themes of recent
Mercedes products are especially nicely blended here. The side panels
swell boldly around the wheelwells, and a deep crease rises from the
trailing edge of the front wheelwell and sails over the rear,
culminating in a front-leaning taillamp lens. The sharp angle of
roofline to rear deck and turned up headlamps all contribute to a
vigorous, sporty look.
Inside, you’ll find
every luxury you can imagine. A stunning blend of traditional leather
and wood and top quality plastics swirl about you in athletic motion.
The wood-covered central console puffs out its chest proudly. Buttons
for many features have a high-quality metallic touch. The small central
analog clock looks like one of those stratospherically priced watches
that hide in glass cases at upscale jewelers. The cognac and black
leather on my 14-way adjustable heated seats was about as fine as you
And Oh those seats.
Mine had a lumbar support that “breathed,” meaning it deflated and
re-inflated twice a minute. This is designed to keep your back from
staying in the same position for too long and becoming fatigued. If you
really need some attention however, the seats offered a four-way massage
system! You could select a combination of slow or fast or gentle and
Mercedes uses the
COMAND System (Cockpit Management and Data System) to let you control
various features of the car, including the navigation, audio, telephone
and vehicle systems. It’s a matter of turning and clicking, much like
using a computer mouse. Engineers carefully tested human response, not
just computer functionality, to make this a natural, easy task. COMAND
becomes fairly comfortable after a few days of fooling with it, and the
solid aluminum controller feels good in your hand.
My Pewter CL550
featured the standard 5.5-liter twin-turbocharged V8 engine. With 382
horsepower and 391 lb.-ft. of torque on tap through a seven-speed
adaptable automatic transmission, the 4,486-pound car dashes from 0-60
in just 5.4 seconds. The automatic features adaptive shift logic, it
conforms to your driving style, and touch shift for near instant manual
gear changes if you so desire.
Fuel economy numbers
aren’t too bad either considering the 14 City and 21 Highway MPG
ratings. The price tag reflects a $1,000 gas guzzler tax too and I
averaged a 19.4 mpg. The EPA gives the CL550 a pretty decent 7 out of 10
for Air Pollution and an unsurprising 4 on the Greenhouse Gas rating.
The car has a
“leave-it-in-your-pocket” style key, and when you turn off the “Start”
button to leave, a message displays on the instrument panel warning to
“Don’t forget your key.” I was able to dial up live traffic reports that
displayed on the large display screen, which also showed musical
selections and a range of other information. I discovered Mozart’s
Symphony #29 and it seemed to fit the mood precisely.
When you put the car in
reverse, it automatically displays a rear view on the screen, thanks to
a camera. Night View Assist uses infrared beams to let you know what’s
ahead in the dark. These two features are part of the optional Premium
II package. And the instrument panel itself is abuzz with quick
reference information. There is an odd sense of being on the road and
online at the same time. All the time, of course, I was exquisitely
comfortable and serene.
Safety has been part of
Mercedes-Benz’s efforts for many years, but this car seems to contain
everything they’ve ever invented. If I approached too near to the car in
front of me, The CL could flash a light and automatically use the
brakes. If the PRE-SAFE system thinks a crash might be coming, your
seatbelts automatically tighten up and the driver’s seat moves back to
make more room just in case.
The Distronic Plus
cruise control system lets you keep a preset distance between you and
the car in front of you and automatically brakes and accelerates to keep
that distance consistent. It uses two different radar frequencies to
pull this off. It works eerily well.
For all its complexity,
the CL550 is a pleasant traveling companion. My son nearly cried when I
had to return it. Some weeks are simply better than others, I explained.
By Steve Schaefer ©
AutoWire.Net - San Francisco
Byline: Luxury Car
Review provided by Tony Leopardo © AutoWire.Net
Mercedes Home Page
Column Name: The CL550
represents the finest Mercedes money can buy
Topic: The 2008
Word Count: 885
Photo Caption: The 2008
Mercedes-Benz CL Internet Media
Series #: 2008 - 57
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2008 Mercedes-Benz CL550
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2008 Mercedes-Benz CL550