2009 Mercedes-Benz CL-Class Review

Sometimes, being the only car of a particular type or price can put you in a lonely place — lonely enough that automakers usually avoid it, preferring to make their own copy of what everyone else is selling, and pricing it to match. The Mercedes-Benz CL-Class is an exception, an exclusive car in a couple of ways. For one thing, it's a large coupe, and that's a rare animal. In some ways it compares with the BMW 6 Series and the Jaguar XK coupe, but it's larger and starts around $30,000 higher than those models. At $107,900, it has the highest base price and lowest sales numbers of any Mercedes — except the $495,000 SLR McLaren, which is an animal rare enough to be extinct after the 2009 model year. All in all, being a lone wolf seems to be working out just fine for the CL-Class.

To oversimplify, the CL-Class is a two-door version of Mercedes' S-Class full-size sedan. Arguably, anyone who wants the best of both worlds can opt for the CLS-Class, which has four doors and the lines of a coupe, but Mercedes says that car's smaller size and lower price appeal to different buyers altogether. See them compared here.

The CL-Class comprises the CL550, the CL600 and two high-performance AMG models, the CL63 and CL65. The CL550 is the only version that sticks to a naming convention Mercedes once followed pretty closely: 550 stands for the CL550's 5.5-liter V-8 engine. After that, everything unravels: The CL600 has a turbocharged 5.5-liter V-12, the CL63 has a 6.2-liter V-8, and the CL65 has a turbocharged 6.0-liter V-12. I tested the CL550.

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