Performance to Match Looks

Despite its size and 4,650-pound curb weight, the CL550 has performance to match its looks. It shares its engine and seven-speed automatic transmission with the S-Class, and as of the 2009 model year, it comes only with 4Matic all-wheel drive — an option on the S-Class. 4Matic adds $3,000 to that sedan's price, but even with the feature, the S550 costs $15,550 less than the CL. You also pay for all-wheel drive in terms of highway fuel economy. The CL is rated 14/21 mpg city/highway, matching the S-Class 4Matic and bringing a gas-guzzler tax of $1,300.

At least the thirsty drivetrain pays off, with zero-to-60-mph times around 5.5 seconds. (All the other CL-Class versions take about a second less — while increasing the price anywhere from about $35,000 to $96,000.) The seven-speed transmission is just as happy to accelerate gradually and smoothly, and steering-wheel-mounted paddles allow you to shift manually if that's your thing. Or you can choose between Comfort and Sport settings, which make the transmission more or less reactive in automatic mode, and adjust the adaptive suspension's firmness as well.

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    Important safety notes
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    Map information in the display
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