Powerful in presence, luxurious in craftsmanship and armed with some of the company's most potent engine options, the 2014 Mercedes-Benz CL-Class puts the "grand" in grand touring coupes. Think of these big and prestigious 4-seat coupes as the thinking and (very well-to-do) working man’s high-end transportation. Lofty starting prices and high depreciation may further winnow the CL's select group of buyers.
You'll Like The 2014 Mercedes-Benz CL-Class If...
If you’ve got it, don’t need to flaunt it, but occasionally like to take it for a run, the 2014 Mercedes-Benz CL-Class coupes give you all that you can handle plus a beautiful place to be meanwhile.
You May Not Like The 2014 Mercedes-Benz CL-Class If...
Those who dine at slightly less-expensive steakhouses might look to the BMW 6 Series coupe, whose starting price undercuts that of the CL-Class by some $40,000 and has far better resale value. If you dread setting up your latest electronic device, the COMAND system and its 700-plus page manual might send a chill down your spine.
This is the final year for the current CL-Class, with its successor slated to launch in fall of 2014 and likely to bring many of the innovations seen in the all-new S-Class. The only change for this model is that the Premium Package, which includes massaging seats and night-vision assistance, is now standard across the line.
The 2014 CL-Class rewards both driver and passengers with a lavish, well-crafted interior. The CL's cabin design is not extravagant, but its lines are sweeping and clean. Wood and leather abound, and the center console between driver and passenger is wide to give a sense of space and comfort. The 8-inch high-resolution display is well-integrated and takes nothing away from the CL's stately and traditional elegance. At 32.2 inches, rear-seat legroom is only average but the seats are so well-contoured that complaints should be few.
At around 16-and-a-half feet in length, the CL-Class is several inches beyond that of a BMW 6 Series coupe and Mercedes-Benz's coupe-shaped 4-door CLS models. Despite its sizable dimensions, the CL is nicely proportioned. Upward-sweeping side creases and large rear fender flares flex some muscle, while a gently sloping roof and Mercedes' large three-pointed star emblem in front add grace. One of the CL's most eye-catching aesthetics is its pillarless-coupe greenhouse. With all four windows down, the CL-Class affords a gorgeous crescent-shaped view inward and outward. Performance-oriented AMG versions feature a wider-slotted grille and jowly air intakes up front.
Through the use of its COMAND system, the 2014 Mercedes-Benz CL-Class can be tailored to a driver's preferences, from seating position and climate control to audio and communications settings. This high degree of customization lays the groundwork for a similarly adaptable driving experience. Even the “base” CL550, with its 429-horsepower V8 and Airmatic suspension, provides a dynamic, responsive and controlled drive. But the higher-power engines and Active Body Control suspension on the other CL models feel almost magical, with great thrust, control and comfort. Whether you want a comfortable cruiser or a surprisingly nimble sports car, the CL63 AMG, CL600 and top-dog CL65 are happy to oblige. If you regularly drive on slick roads, you may be most attracted to the CL550, as it is the only variant equipped with Mercedes' traction-enhancing 4Matic all-wheel-drive system instead of rear-drive. The automatic transmission (7-speed for the V8s, 5-speed for V12s) is seamless and precise.
The CL-Class is a niche vehicle, and its lofty prices buy even more exclusivity. The 2014 Mercedes-Benz CL550 Coupe has a Manufacturer’s Suggested Retail Price (MSRP) of around $117,000. From there, prices go up rapidly, reaching the mid-$100,000 range for the CL63 and CL600, and topping $215,000 for the flagship CL65 AMG. Additionally, the V12 CL600 and CL65 AMG models are hit with $2,000-plus gas-guzzler fees. A BMW 6 Series is a competitor, but even a high-powered M6 Coupe has a slightly lower starting price than the least-expensive CL-Class. Others that play in the CL's price league include the Jaguar XKR-S, higher-end Porsche 911s, the Bentley Continental Coupe and Aston Martin DB9. Before buying, be sure to check KBB.com's Fair Purchase Price to see what others in your area are paying for their Mercedes-Benz CL-Class coupe. Resale value is not a strong point for the CL. We predict significant depreciation in the long run, with an even larger decline for 12-cylinder models.
With a starting price of over $115,000, it should be no surprise that Mercedes-Benz's largest coupe is also big on amenities. Buy a base CL550 Coupe and you'll get a leather-and wood-filled interior (including wood/leather steering wheel), the COMAND system with navigation, Bluetooth, voice control and 8-inch display, 14-way heated and ventilated front seats, power-operated trunk, sunroof and rear sunshade. There's little "standard" about the audio system, which is a 15-speaker, 600-watt harman/kardon delight with 6-disc CD/DVD changer. Other CL models add Mercedes’ Active Body Control suspension, and AMG models have sport seats and AMG-specific instrument clusters. Safety features include nine airbags and the Attention Assist drowsiness detector.
Extras available to make the 2014 CL-Class even sportier, safer and more luxurious include the Driver Assistance Package with blind-spot monitoring and Active Lane Keeping Assist that can automatically guide the car back into a lane, a heated steering wheel, and sport packages with 19- and 20-inch performance tires and unique body styling. One particularly interesting option is the SplitView dual-content screen, which allows the driver and passenger to view different images on the same 8-inch screen, such as navigation for the driver and a DVD movie for the passenger (who can listen with wireless headphones).
Yes, it’s a bear to set up. Once it is, though, the COMAND system provides for a level of vehicle personalization and control that is as elegant as it is useful.
MASSAGING FRONT SEATS
Ever wish you could bring a masseuse along to ease that commute? The 2014 CL-Class comes with two of them, and they're called the front seats. Now standard across the line, both driver and passenger can be treated to a massage at any time in Mercedes' ultra-luxury coupe.
Under the Hood
The CL-Class engines are all happy monsters that feature two turbochargers. The CL550 Coupe packs a 4.6-liter twin-turbo V8 good for 429 horsepower with a 0-60-mph time of less than 5.0 seconds. The CL600 Coupe gets a twin-turbo V12 rated at 510 horsepower. The CL63 AMG has a 536-horsepower biturbo V8, and the CL65 AMG a biturbo V12 with 621 horsepower and a gargantuan 738 lb-ft of torque. An AMG Performance Package for the CL63 boosts horsepower (to 563), torque and top speed. The V8s use 7-speed automatics; the V12s get 5-speeds. The CL550 comes standard with 4Matic all-wheel drive, while the other models are rear-drive only. The V8 models are rated at a combined 18 mpg and the V12s return 14 mpg. All require premium-grade gasoline.
4.6-liter twin-turbocharged V8
429 horsepower @ 5,250 rpm
516 lb-ft of torque @ 1,800-3,500 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 15/24 mpg
5.5-liter twin-turbocharged V12
510 horsepower @ 5,000 rpm
612 lb-ft of torque @ 1,800-3,500 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 12/18 mpg
5.5-liter twin-turbocharged V8
536 horsepower @ 5,500 rpm
590 lb-ft of torque @ 2,000-4,500 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 15/22 mpg
6.0-liter twin-turbocharged V12
621 horsepower @ 4,800-5,750 rpm
738 lb-ft of torque @ 2,000-4,300 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 12/18 mpg
Powerful in presence, luxurious in craftsmanship and armed with some of Mercedes-Benz's most potent engine options, the 2014 CL-Class puts the "grand" in grand touring coupes. Think of these big 4-seat coupes as the thinking and (very well-to-do) working man’s high-end transportation. From the base CL550 Coupe to the 621-horsepower biturbo V12-equipped CL65 AMG, the CL-Class coupes still offer a fine mix of performance and livability even in what is the final year of their current generation. The CL-Class distinguishes itself from rivals such as the BMW 6 Series with understated design and prodigious amounts of prestige. Price tags starting well into the $100,000 range and eclipsing $200,000 for the top-line AMG model automatically disqualify some buyers, while significant depreciation may deter others.