The 2011 Mercedes-Benz CL-Class today continues a tradition that goes back to the legendary supercharged cars of the 1920s and 1930s. Since the 1950s, Mercedes-Benz has produced an uninterrupted series of these exclusive coupes that remain coveted for their sophisticated design and state-of-the-art technology.
All it takes is a glance and you know you’re looking at something special. Open the door and you’ll know you’re about to settle into the lap of luxury. This is the extensively updated Mercedes-Benz CL550 for 2011 and it’s here to reinforce its claim as the ultimate in automotive refinement.
The CL has always been the essence of glitz and glamour and as long as it projected the desired image for its owner, nothing else mattered; fuel economy was low on the list of priorities. But the factors that define one’s image have been changing — from yesterday’s extremes of excessive consumption to today’s desire to appear conservative and “green.”
So with this next-generation CL, we find Mercedes-Benz focusing on fuel consumption and exhaust gas emissions. According to Dr. Dieter Zetsche, Chairman of the Board of Management of Daimler AG: “The CL is the ideal ambassador for our brand. To a special degree it integrates the things that go to make a Mercedes-Benz: fascination, perfection and responsibility. And with the new generation we raise the ante especially in the area of efficiency. But in the realms of design, safety, comfort and performance, too, the CL shows: ahead is where Mercedes is.”
Elegance and luxury are still very much a part of the CL formula. The exterior of the new CL exhibits design details that tastefully emphasize the car’s elegant yet powerful lines. Premium leathers, wood accents and exquisite workmanship define the plush interior. The seats feel supple and comfortable from the very first touch.
The CL uses only European wood from renewable forestry sources. Most of the wood parts are hand-made and matched individually for color and grain by experienced craftsmen.
It’s under the skin where the real changes have taken place. As many other automakers have done recently, Mercedes has adopted the engine strategy of turbocharging, direct gasoline injection and multi-spark ignition. This combination produces more power and lower emissions from a smaller engine. The new 4.6-liter biturbo V-8 in the 2011 CL550 is a downsized version of the 5.5-liter used previously.
Even with the smaller displacement, it produces 429 horsepower — 12 percent more than its predecessor. Torque has been raised to 516 lb.-ft. (an increase of 32 percent). Zero-to-60 time is a stunning 4.8 seconds. The EPA rates the city and highway fuel economy at 15/22 mpg.
The CL’s new engine is mated to an updated seven-speed automatic transmission that’s been tweaked specifically to improve fuel economy. In addition, a switch on the center console allows the driver to choose between the driving modes “Sport” and “Economy”, which alter the transmission characteristics.
To maintain its reputation as a technological showcase, the new CL has all of the right stuff when it comes to infotainment. The newest option is SPLITVIEW technology that lets the driver and front passenger view different contents simultaneously on the same screen. For example, the driver can use the navigation system, while the front passenger watches a movie.
Bluetooth, USB, SD card or a standard connection for mobile audio can be used to store data. The latest-generation of voice control operates the navigation, telephone and audio devices. The standard navigation system features nationwide navigation and a detailed three-dimension map display with data stored on a 40-gigabyte hard disc.
There’s also Sirius and HD radio, a six-disc CD/DVD player with MP3 capability, an equalizer and the Music Register with a 7.2-gigabyte hard disc. Using the Gracenote database, title, album and performer are shown in the color display. Harman Kardon developed the surround sound system with Discrete Logic7 technology.
On sale now the 2011 Mercedes-Benz CL550 4MATIC starts at $114,025. How’s that for image enhancement? — Dave Van Sickle, Motor Matters
Copyright, Motor Matters, 2010