The Mercedes-Benz CL63 AMG, CLS63 AMG and SL350 - all are covetable models, and in this, our newest Mercedes Review Roundup installment, all managed to earn at least four stars (out of a possible five) from those that tested them. An impressive feat without question, and just another affirmation that if you - like me - do not currently own either one of Mercedes' 6.3-Liter models or the 2009 SL, we really, really need to.
For a more comprehensive look at why each of the aforementioned models procured the loving admiration of the various reviewers, you can excerpts of each review as well as links back to the complete articles immediately below.
Mercedes-Benz CL63 AMG (via BusinessWeek)
"My epiphany in the CL63 occurred one afternoon when I decided to make a quick, spur-of-the-moment left turn in front of oncoming traffic. I was astonished by the car's agility. There was absolutely no sway or body roll, even though I was going much faster than I had intended. I assume this was due to the CL63's sport suspension coupled with the Active Body Control system kicking in. Whatever the reason, this extra-sharp handling is what gives the CL63 an edge over the less expensive CL550.
The CL63's other main advantage is raw power. Punch the gas at any speed in this car, and it leaps forward. I clocked the CL63 AMG at 4.8 seconds in accelerating from 0 to 60, slightly slower than the 4.5 seconds at which Mercedes rates it. That makes the CL63 just as quick as the more expensive V-12-powered CL600, and nearly a second quicker than the CL550. Only the top-of-the-line C65 AMG, which does 0 to 60 in just 4.2 seconds, is faster.
The CL63's top speed is 155 mph, and there's a helpful little sticker on the inside of the fuel door reminding you to raise tire pressure to 46 pounds per square inch from 36 pounds if you plan to be cruising at over 100 mph. Even without altering the tire pressure, though, the car remains quiet and composed at over 100 mph. Despite its performance orientation, the CL63 AMG is no less luxurious than the CL550.
The interior of my test CL63 was extremely elegant, with stitched leather upholstery and hand-polished burled walnut trim on the doors and dash. As a coupe, it's only a two-door, but the doors are very wide, making getting into the back seats relatively easy. The front seats also slide forward electronically at the push of a lever, and back into place once the passenger is seated in the back seat.
There are numerous helpful amenities built into the car. Backing up in a tight parking situation? The rearview monitor pops on automatically, and it has little graphic indicators that show you when you're getting close to an obstacle behind you (yellow lines) and a red zone when you're very close. Driving at night? The Xenon headlamps illuminate more of the road than with most cars, and swivel to point the way around curves. Plus, you can always flick a switch and turn on the optional night vision system, lighting up a screen that shows you the road ahead."
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Mercedes-Benz CLS63 AMG (via Car)
"You just don’t turn down the key to an AMG Mercedes. I barely bothered to take in the new twin-louvre front grille, LED indicators and taillights, and inch-bigger titanium-finish 19s (actually, to be honest, I did notice those), before ripping the door open and bolting from the car park into the Austrian countryside.
And thank goodness we did. Very quickly we found ourselves heading up a steep, switchbacked hillside, all hairpin bends and loose, greasy surfaces, still damp at midday due to the overhanging trees. Narrow but completely lacking in any obstructive traffic. It was one of those moments when you just put your right foot all the way to the floor.
Despite being nearly 5m long, and weighing frighteningly close to two tonnes, the CLS63 has exceptional high-speed composure. The ride quality on the AMG-tweaked air suspension is far from unbearable, yet the way it controls the big banana’s mass through fast sweepers, tight turns, and rapid direction changes boarders on the unbelievable. Even some fairly nasty surface intrusions completely failed to upset it.
With the chassis so surprisingly good, you might even overlook the engine. Fat chance - the AMG designed and built 6.2-litre V8 is automotive magnificence. Everyone always complains it lacks the low-down shove of the old supercharged 55 engine, but as the new and even more excessively sonorous 'silencers' chuck its glorious big capacity soundtrack at the landscape, you'll find no complaints here about how it handled the hefty local gradients.
It feels and sounds awe-inspiring – accelerative shock swiftly stuns your passengers into total quiet. The 0-62mph sprint takes just 4.5 seconds, matching the fastest time of any 63-engined Merc (only the insanely muscular biturbo V12 65 AMGs go faster), and the 155mph limiter is only a decent straight and short loss of restraint from becoming pertinent."
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Mercedes-Benz SL350 (via TimesOnline)
"This brings me to the Mercedes-Benz SL 350. Ordinarily I’d dismiss this, the baby of the range, and suggest you bought the mountainous twin-turbo 6 litre V12 version instead. But in these dark and difficult times, I thought I’d give the weedomatic version a chance.
The fact of the matter is this. Officially the V12 version will return 18.7mpg whereas the 350 will do 28.5. That is a colossal difference. And handy too. On my old SL 55, a quarter of a tank would not get me from London to my house in the Cotswolds. A quarter of a tank in the 350 gets me there and back. But while the fuel savings are obvious, I wanted to know if the price was too high. Would the SL 350’s performance be just a bit too wet?
The figures don’t look brilliant. The brand new 3.5 litre V6 engine develops 311bhp, which, officially, is “not enough”, and 266lb ft of torque, which is about what you get in a nine-year-old’s forearm. Couple that with the SL’s thunder-thighed weight and you might imagine you’d be going everywhere at 4mph. In fact it will get from 0 to 60 in six seconds or so. That’s fast. And the top speed is 155. Exactly the same as it is in the SL 65.
One area in which you might imagine the 350 would be left lacking is when you’re on the outside lane of a motorway. You’re in a long line of cars doing, say, 50, but despite this a mouth-breather in a Renault Clio is crawling all over your rear end. Then the road clears . . .
We’ve all been there. You mash your throttle into the carpet to show that his aggression was pointless. Big-engined SLs are very good at this, humiliating the young and the stupid. And guess what. The 350’s not bad either. You don’t get the Gatling gun soundtrack but the pace is there all right. And this is an engine that likes to spin too. Up at the top of the rev range, it sings, whereas the bigger V8s and V12s lumber.
Then things get better. Whereas more expensive SLs come with computerised suspension, the 350 has conventional springs and dampers. It is much, much, much, much, much better as a result. It doesn’t crash through potholes and the steering is more accurate too. You would never call a 16-ton, two-horsepower car “sporty”, but it gets perilously close, this one.
If you are somehow immune to the SL’s flashy new Wagtastic nose, you’ll find that most of the time the 350 is very nearly as good as the version you were dreaming about. And that some of the time it’s quite a bit better."
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And before I go, a special thanks to our good friend Shiv for the tips. As always, we sincerely appreciate it.