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Mercedes-Benz CL gets a facelift for 2011

Fri, 02 Jul 2010

Three years after its introduction, Mercedes-Benz has given the CL a mid-cycle facelift, providing the big two-door with lightly altered bumpers--those up front with new LED daytime running lamps, reshaped headlamps, a more contoured hood, larger exterior mirrors with integrated indicators and revised tail-lamp lenses, among other detailed visual changes.

More significant than the styling tweaks, however, are the changes underneath the hood, with the arrival of a new twin-turbocharged 4.6-liter V8 direct-injection gasoline engine--the first of Mercedes-Benz's advanced MoVe powerplants that aim to bring efficiency gains to its lineup.

With 429 hp and 516 lb-ft of torque, the new engine delivers 47 hp and 125 lb-ft more than the naturally aspirated 5.5-liter V8 it replaces in the four-year-old CL500--enough to lower the luxury coupe's 0-to-62-mph time by 0.5 second to 4.9 seconds. Top speed remains limited to 155 mph.

In combination with a revised version of Mercedes-Benz's seven-speed automatic gearbox with an integrated stop/start function and brake-energy recuperation, the new CL500's engine is also claimed to provide fuel savings of up to 5.6 mpg, with an official 24.8 mpg on the combined European consumption cycle.

Together with the rear-wheel-drive version of the CL500, Mercedes-Benz will continue to sell the four-wheel-drive CL500 in select markets, including North America.

The new CL500 will once again be joined in the revised lineup by the more powerful CL600, which retains its twin-turbocharged 5.5-liter V12 good for 510 hp and 612 lb-ft along with a five-speed automatic gearbox--essentially the same unit Mercedes-Benz introduced in 1995 because of the lack of any suitable unit capable of handling the engine's sturdy torque.

Also planned for North American is a follow-up to the CL63 running AMG's new twin-turbocharged 5.5-liter V8 with 537 hp and 590 lb-ft, or an even more muscular 563 hp and 663 lb-ft when configured with an optional performance package. The new engine will come mated to AMG's seven-speed MCT (multiclutch transmission) offering both manual and automatic shifting via steering-wheel-mounted paddles.

Continuing its flagship role within the new lineup will be the CL65. It retains the same twin-turbocharged 6.0-liter V12 engine as the existing model, with 604 hp and a stomping 737 lb-ft.

Inside, Mercedes-Benz's designers have attempted to provide the CL with greater luxury through the inclusion of higher-quality trim materials, new color combinations, a redesigned multifunction steering wheel and ambient lighting in three shades: solar, neutral and polar.

The CL has often been used by Mercedes-Benz to introduce new technology, and this latest model is no exception. Included among a long list of optional extras is what the German carmaker calls Active Lane Keeping Assist. It monitors when the car has left the driver's chosen lane via a camera in the windshield and can intervene by gently applying the brakes on the opposite side of the car to pull it back on course.

Also available is Active Blind Spot Assist. If it detects a lane change that would be too dangerous, it provides corrective braking to avoid a collision. Buyers will also be able to specify Adaptive Main Beam Assist, Night View Assist Plus and Speed Limit Assist. At the same time, Mercedes-Benz claims to have improved its existing Brake Assist, Distronic Plus and Pre-Safe Brake functions to provide greater accuracy.

Mercedes-Benz originally planned to rename the facelifted CL as the S-class coupe, in keeping with the naming policy started with the introduction of the E-class coupe in 2009. However, officials at Mercedes headquarters in Stuttgart say the change in name will not take place until an all-new model, the C217 as it is known internally, arrives in 2013.

By Greg Kable