Nothing personal, but we aren't going to tell you where we've just been. Except that it was a narrow Southern California mountain road, one that only stops twisting when it starts to wind deeper into the forest. The surface was only so so, with scree found on many of the corners. Nevertheless, the new 2012 Mercedes-Benz CLS63 AMG felt remarkably at home.
And this thing isn't tiny. The big coupe-like sedan weighs just over 4200 lb. Nor it is a Slim Jim, measuring 196.7 in. long and 74.1 in. wide, just about an inch wider than the standard CLS-Class, thanks to a greater track. But as the old saying goes, this new Mercedes drives smaller than its dimensions would suggest.
There are several suspension settings:C Comfort), S (Sport), S+ and M
(Manual). We've been through them all and settled on manual because, to
be honest, it?s simply more fun. While it sometimes felt strangely loose
in everyday driving, the 7-speed multi-clutch automatic is all its name
would imply as we use the paddles to shift up or down...instantly.
If there was anything wrong with our Alpine-like road it was this: We couldn't play with the outstanding V-8 as much as we'd have liked.
Why not? So much power. The 5.5-liter V-8 has direct injection and a pair of intercooled turbos to produce 518 bhp at 5500 rpm and 516 lb.-ft. of torque at 1750-5000 rpm. Not enough? There's a performance edition of the CLS-Class that makes 550 bhp, also at 5500 rpm, and a torrid 590 lb.-ft. between 2000-4500 rpm. Those of you who know your AMGs will note that 518 is not a quantum leap from the supercharged 5.5 or naturally aspirated 6.2-liter V-8s, but get this: Fuel economy is up by some 32 percent. Not only that, but both the 518- and 550-bhp V-8s get EPA fuel economy of 16 mpg city/21 mpg highway.
We'd already experienced the straight-line acceleration of the car - which
was fitted with the Performance Package touching 60 mph in around 4
seconds and hitting the quarter mile in the low 12s. To add to the fun,
there's launch control. Top speed is limited to 155 mph. Must admit, we
didn't test that.
Outside, the 2012 Mercedes-Benz CLS63 AMG looks the part, with an aggressive nose, sleek body styling and a cutoff tail with carbon fiber across its upper lip. Inside, the car is just as impressive, save for the confusing COMAND multifunction controller. Happily, you can just drive like hell and ignore it completely.
The new CLS63 comes to the U.S. in June, the AMG version arriving concurrently with the normal CLS-Class. We don't have the official price, but figure around $100,000 for the 518-bhp version, and an additional $10 grand if you want 550 bhp. Add carbon-ceramic brakes and you?ll kick that total up about $12,500.
Expensive, yes, but CLS63 AMG looks like a good long-term investment...if you stand having that much fun and temptation over the long term.