2013 Mercedes-Benz CLS63 AMG, a Stirling performer: Motoramic Drives
With most luxury sedans, you welcome the chance to share your car’s opulence and high-tech wizardry with three or more passengers. Not so with AMG’s Frankenstein-like overhaul of the Mercedes-Benz CLS, the CLS63 AMG. Been asked by your significant other to get milk? Gone. The dry-cleaning needs picking up? Done. No helpers need apply. This car is so stinking fun and criminally fast that you’ll be compelled to thrash it around town at the drop of a solo chore. Perhaps that’s why the marketers at M-B oddly call this car a coupe.
When the CLS bowed nearly a decade ago, it was a bit of an odd duck. Positioned as a sedan with the svelte lines of a two-door, its rear-passenger capacity was limited to two by a central storage bin and visibility was hampered by slit-like rear windows. But in due time the four-passengers-only sedan (sorry, marketeers, it’s not a coupe) gathered momentum, and today comes in flavors such as Porsche Panamera, Aston Martin Rapide and the Audi A7. So that space-configuration oddity is no longer so strange.
In fact, sitting at a curb the dimensions of Mercedes’ CLS are Goldilocks just-right. Where the E-Class happily battles it out with the BMW 5-Series and Cadillac CTS in the realm of practical sedans, and the S-Class lumbers along in the land of four-wheeled luxo-yachts, the CLS manages to make an imposing impression that splits the difference between the two. It’s wide and low-slung, projecting a decidedly masculine vibe. The massive three-pointed Merc star in the grille looks less like a corporate logo that a laser sight aimed at cars that are impeding its progress. And the still-low arc of its front and rear windows give the impression of speed at rest.
And that’s the no-frills CLS. What rolled up for a week of play was a $113,715 (base is $95,900; the regular CLS starts at $72,000) AMG-tweaked version of the sedan, which takes an already imposing machine and gives it a Lady Gaga can’t-look-away makeover.
While I’ve always felt any Mercedes product looked best in black, this car’s Iridium Grey paint gives it a stealth fighter feel, while it’s optional designer Light Brown Leather Package ($1,920) turns a funereal interior into a cognac-and-cigars club room. And while BMW has always worked to make sure its Motorsports cars looked a different from its non-M cars, Mercedes’s AMG vehicles typically are distinguished by very subtle details. On this CLS, that includes the V-8 Biturbo badge on the flanks (denoting the sequential twin-turbo, 518-hp 5.5-liter V-8), 19-inch wheels and the quad-tipped exhaust in the rear. Meanwhile, the true mark of your car’s uniqueness is hidden under the hood: a hand-built engine signed by the man who made it.