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First drive: CL65 AMG prepares for take-off

Fasten your seatbelts: A monstrous 1000Nm torque and 450kW combine to slingshot the CL65 beast from zero to 100km/h in 4.4 seconds.

Mercedes CL65 AMG has the power and price to indulge

23 Mar 2005

It could be said that nothing succeeds like excess. Certainly the Mercedes-Benz CL65 AMG introduced at the Sydney motor show in October, 2004, lacks very little, especially when it comes to motive power.

If the basic aim of a car engine is to propel the body from point A to point B without too much delay, then the CL65 is certainly well endowed in that department.

Essentially, the story of this indulgent Mercedes-Benz is the story of an engine.

A 6.0-litre, twin-turbocharged V12 capable of propelling a Maybach super-limousine seems a little excessive when it comes to a two-door maxi-coupe weighing a mere 2155kg. Yet this is its role, in the CL65 AMG, where too much appears almost to be not enough.

A monstrous torque figure of 1000Nm and an equally towering 450kW combine to slingshot this weighty beast from zero to 100km/h in 4.4 seconds. And a massive braking system, with perforated discs at both front and rear, and working through anti-everything electronics, is able to bring it to an eye-popping halt in a way that belies its size.

The 6.0-litre all-alloy, single cam per bank, 36-valve V12 engine was developed by AMG from the 5.5-litre version seen in the S600L limousine. The capacity increase came largely from an extension of the stroke measurement, from 87mm to 93mm, which made it even more a decidedly long-stroke configuration.

Fundamental toughening-up work included a stronger crankshaft, improved oil-spray piston cooling, stronger main and big-end bearings, and modified oil pump and cooler. The bi-turbo’s breathing is helped by a higher-lift, longer-duration inlet camshaft, and re-designed combustion chambers.

The twin turbochargers are larger than those used in the 5.5-litre version, and the injection valves are also larger to boost fuel flow. The intercooler is 70 per cent larger and is able to reduce intake air temperature by 25 per cent under full throttle.

Finally, the delicious sound of 12 hard-working cylinders is amplified by an AMG exhaust system that extracts the best efficiency.

With a boost pressure of 1.5 bar, this adds up to a monumental powerplant that feeds its power through to the ground via a modified Mercedes five-speed automatic transmission - complete with tougher clutch plates - modified drive shafts and larger hub carriers. The torque is so great that it is electronically nobbled in lower gears to help keep everything in one piece.

The CL65’s suspension incorporates the Mercedes Active Body Control (ABC) and has been reworked with higher-rated spring struts and dampers. The ABS, brake assist and electronic stability control have all been reconfigured to cope with the kinetic energy developed by this 2.2-tonne missile.

4 center imageAt the car-road interface, there’s a set of 19-inch wheels wearing 245/40ZR19 tyres at the front, and wider 275/35ZR19s at the back.

The excesses don’t stop with the mechanicals either.

The CL65 lacks virtually nothing, from the clever double-hinged doors that open wide without taking up too much parking-lot space, to the heated AMG multi-contour sports seats. A special AMG instrument cluster with a speedo reading to 360km/h is one in the eye for conservative legislators.

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