Thursday, October 6, 2011

2012 CLS550 upholds Mercedes' reputation

This review originally appeared in the September 2011 edition of the Northern & Central California Cruisin’ News published out of Folsom, California -- mg

Sacramento, California -- Fall approaches, and for car folks, that means one thing: 2012 is here!

And what better way to start out the new year than a week in the redesigned-for-2012 Mercedes-Benz CLS550?

I’ve heard this car described as a four-door coupe, and I have no idea what that means. Sure, it’s a sedan with the soul of a Dodge Viper, but that does not make it a coupe in my book. The four doors were the tip-off for me. Just saying.

Descriptions aside, this is an amazing car. My, doesn’t it look great just parked there in my driveway, with a screaming Mercedes tri-star centered in the middle of a menacing grille. Inside, quality is Mercedes-like, although oddly, the cupholders seem a little cheap.

The engine is a twin-turbo 4.6-liter V-8 with 402 horsepower and 443 foot-pounds of torque, which comes in at max blast as early as 1,800 revolutions per minute. Say no more; the CLS can scream with the best of them.

Acceleration is not just brisk. It’s get-a-grip-on-the-wheel intimidating, and you quickly realize that it wouldn’t take all that much to hit the electronically controlled limit of 130 miles per hour. Too bad. I’d like to get this car to a track and watch it chase down a Highway Patrol cruiser. Alas, I was too chicken to attempt this on the public roads.

Ventilated brakes on both ends bring the CLS550 to a stop with tailhook-like authority. During all the power blasts and on-a-dime stopping exertions, barely a sound makes its way into the cockpit. Now that’s impressive.

So, you’d expect to pay, what, $100,000 minimum for this car, right? That would be a fair estimate. But the tester started at a relatively affordable $71,300. Mine was jazzed up with extras to put the bottom line at $82,765. That’s still not bad for a Mercedes of this quality.

Saving money on the car deal will come in handy as gas mileage on the 2012 CLS550 is 16 miles per gallon in the city and 24 mpg on the highway.

That’s a lot of pay going out the dual chrome exhaust pipes. But if you have the cash, the CLS550 is the first positive bit of news coming out in 2012.

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