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2012 Mercedes-Benz CL550 New Car Review By Marty and Michael Bernstein +VIDEO

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2012 Mercedes-Benz CL 550 Coupe

Mercedes-Benz Buyers Guide Specs, Comparisons and Prices

Combining Luxury, Performance and Quaility in a 4 Passenger Coupe

by Marty Bernstein
The Auto Channel

The name Mercedes-Benz alone congers up images of luxury, innovative styling and performance benchmarks, Mercedes Benz motor cars have been held in high esteem for over a century. The 2012 CL550 continues this proud legacy by creating a truly innovative sports coupe that offers seating for four without sacrificing the sports cars performance and styling.

The trend in automotive design recently can only be described as boundary pushing. Altering customer perceptions by stretching the limits of class and capabilities to create a host of new vehicles such as crossover’s, hybrids and the like that populate the roadways. The Mercedes Benz team used this philosophy to create a two-seater sports car with its roots in the classic 450 that graced the world’s roadways, but now this coupe can comfortably seat four adults.

That’s correct, this impressive vehicle’s innovative design allows for four adults to travel comfortably; however, getting back there is another story – as my 6”5” son will attest to – because it involved an integrated ballet of moving parts and contorting bodies, but rest assured, once seated you are engulfed in comfort with amazingly ... leg room.

Up front the cabin contains the rich refinements you’d expect, but its overall appearance is somehow enhanced by the integration of the vehicle’s “bells and whistles”. Mercedes has done an amazing job of taking away the jumble of buttons, knobs and dials that are usually seen on the console and replaced them with beautiful simplicity. Less is more.

This roster of convenience features include: climate control, a big screen navigation system that can be unduly complicated the first few times, infotainment and audio from iPhones. BlueTooth, CDs and HD radio emanates from an impressive Harman/Kardon Logic 7 system. The 14-way power seats for driver and front seat passenger complete with both heat and ventilation options. The gray wood trim on the dash and doors, while not the matt finish I prefer is not kitchen table shiny. And isn’t that nice.

Under the hood the 550’s engine looks like a piece of industrial art and its specs are equally impressive- 429 horsepower with 516 foot-pounds of torque which can produce a 4.8 seconds 0-60. These numbers seem impressive on paper, but they pale in comparison to the thrill of driving this car.

Only after you have been behind the wheel and on the road, can you truly appreciate the high performance capabilities that the Mercedes Benz CL550 provides its owner. It can easily propel you down the road or it can rocket you to triple digit speed exceeding 100 mph.

Regardless of the speed, the vehicle’s handling was never compromised. Never did I feel the car losing control or its grip on the road. This performance is no accident, but rather the result of cutting edge engineering and technology integrated in an overall vehicle strategy focused on delivering an unmatched driving experience.

Watch TACH's exclusive 2011 CL 550 promo video

You may never see them but these systems and their components that have names like 4Matic and Airmatic, and despite their relative anonymity, they nevertheless work seamlessly to create vehicle handling that is class leading. Your safety and that of your passengers has also been taken into account because the CL5500 is loaded with features that ensure you will either avoid or survive an accident. The cabin is constructed with reinforced steel pillars and contains crumple zones and side impact air curtains for both front and rear seat passengers.

This car is not for the faint of heart, both in its price and in its capabilities, but if you have the means the 2012 CL550 is the end. It’s tough being the valedictorian, the bad boy and homecoming king simultaneously, but the CL550 pulls it off with grace and ease.

Michael Bernstein contributed to this review.