AMG is more than just your typical performance-based marketing acronym. While some manufacturers are content fitting their factory-tuned models with some sporty rims, stiffer suspension, a few new body panels and a handful of extra ponies, Mercedes-Benz takes a more hardcore approach. If you’ve ever experienced one the Affalterbach-based tuning specialist’s magnificent cars, the sight of an AMG badge probably brings flashbacks of clouds of tire smoke, sensational acceleration and lurid, endless powerslides. The 2009 Mercedes-Benz CLS63 AMG
is no exception to the formula either – in fact if anything, it reinforces the AMG stereotype. Equipped with the first engine developed solely by AMG, it’s an absolute belter with chiseled good looks to match. Four-door practicality is blended with coupe styling, adding to the desirability of this car. Make no mistake about it, this is one snarling, angry, capable and menacingly quick four-door coupe.
What's to Like
The brutal pace of the CLS63 is pure addiction, a perfect fit for its sinister stance sitting on 19-inch, triple-spoke wheels. It is impressive that such a maddeningly fast car can maintain a compliant, easy ride around town.
What's Not to Like
The distinct lack of unrestricted Autobahn in North America make the upper limits of the CLS63’s performance unreachable. Your neighbors are likely to complain about a certain “thunderous, infuriating cacophony” whenever you drive down the street.
DriverSide Driving Impressions
Effortless, insane pace is the CLS’s specialty. The exhaust note has been finely tuned and firing up the massive 6.2-liter AMG engine emits a bass-filled exhaust note that is as addictive as it is intimidating. The engine sounds fantastic off-throttle too, emitting a series of pops and barks on its way down the revs. Strangely, there is little to no induction noise, proving the CLS63 is well insulated from the exterior environment. The V8’s 507 horsepower sees it to 60 mph in an incredibly brief 4.3 seconds after which it will slam straight into its 155 mph speed limiter. Handling is superb thanks to accurate steering, especially when the suspension is set to its firmest mode, the semi-active air suspension working to minimize any body roll induced by lateral Gs through corners. The seats are feature dynamic side bolsters which inflate through corners, keeping you centered. Amazingly enough for a 4,210 lb car, the AMG feels nimble and the power is mind-altering at any rpm, really coming alive for the final slug from 5,500-7,000 rpm.
Engine and Drivetrain
The CLS63’s handmade, 6.2-liter V8 makes 507 horsepower and 465 lb-ft of torque, and is capable of revving to a ludicrously lofty 7200 rpm. Power is transmitted to the rear wheels via an AMG Speedshift Plus 7G-Tronic seven-speed automatic. Especially pleasing is the new downshift rev-matching feature, which blips the throttle in order to seamlessly match the speed of the engine with that of the engaging gear, but more importantly makes the driver look and sound like a Le Mans racing legend.
Interesting Vehicle Features and Options
The CLS63 has received a lot of AMG tweaks to set it apart from the base model CLS, beginning with 19-inch triple-spoke wheels which encompass massive 14.2-inch front and 13-inch rear brake discs. However, knowing truly psychotic customers will want more speed, stopping power and cornering ability, AMG has developed an optional performance package which offers a top speed of 186 mph (stock is 155 mph), 15.4-inch diameter brake discs, Airmatic sport-tuned suspension and a limited-slip differential.
Key Technology Evaluation
The CLS63 AMG offers all of the technology the base model showcases, which includes a hard-drive based navigation system
, 4GB of onboard music storage, an MP3-compatible CD and DVD stereo with SD card reader, Linguatronic voice control, an integrated Bluetooth hands-free mobile phone system and Smart Key keyless entry. For a more comfortable, everyday super coupe, optional Parktronic parking assist and Mercedes’ excellent Distronic Adaptive Cruise Control are on option as well.
Green Evaluation/Gas Mileage
The CLS63 hasn’t made it to the EPA for evaluation yet, but the European figures currently put it at roughly 11 mpg in the city and 24 mpg on the highway, resulting in a combined cycle of around 16 mpg. With a high-revving 6.3-liter V8 putting out over 500 horsepower, we could imagine worse fuel consumption, though it’s hard to deny that the AMG is a gas-guzzler.
A Closer Look: Vehicle Details
With its low-sloped roofline and massive AMG wheels, the CLS looks aggressive from any angle, especially from the rear, where its coupe-like dimensions best showcase themselves from the sloping C-pillars and rear deck lid down to the quad oval exhaust pipes.
A smattering of carbon fiber enhances the interior of the AMG along with the performance oriented, flat bottomed steering wheel with its aluminum shift paddles. There is still an overall aura of sophistication about the cabin, but the AMG certainly isn’t shy about its intentions.
Market Segment and Pricing
Probably the only downside to the CLS63 AMG is its hefty $94,500 price tag. It’s true that currently the CLS has no obvious competitor, but Porsche
and Aston Martin
(and possibly BMW
) reportedly have low-headline high performance four-door competitors on the way to give Mercedes a run for its money.
What We Think
Aside from the hefty price of ownership, the CLS63 AMG is one of those rare performance cars that does everything right. It’s able to accomplish the duties of a sedan
and lug four adults around in comfort, is every bit as luxurious as the base-model CLS and yet still retains the lofty credentials of a super coupe
. For the time being, there is truly nothing else like it.