Mercedes CL600

The Mercedes CL600 is an amazing super-Coupe which outclasses the Bentley in almost every area

Overall Auto Express Rating

4.0 out of 5

A fortunate few will face the challenge of choosing the CL600 over its luxury GT rivals - and it will be a tough decision. The awe-inspiring acceleration of the Mercedes V12 makes it the perfect match for the all-new CL, which is a fantastically comfortable and capable technological marvel. The car may lack the special feel of a Bentley, yet it outclasses its British competitor in most other areas. And although entry-level versions of the CL make much more sense financially, the 600 is still an amazing super-coupé.

Buy a Mercedes CL and you are making a big statement. Measuring more than five metres long, costing around half the average UK house price and offering cosy comfort for four, it's as opulent as motoring can be.

As an overall package, the old-shape CL could never justify its larger-than-life statistics. Now based on the latest S-Class platform, the all-new coupé flagship has arrived with far more capable underpinnings - yet can it match the world's finest GTs?

A two-door version of the S-Class is never going to be small, but the latest CL is vast. Designers have given it dramatic sweeping curves and mus-cular wheelarches, yet there's no get-ting away from the coupé's sheer scale. It's not unpleasant to look at, but it's not exactly attractive, either. Inside, the Merc is likely to get less criticism, sharing the dash of the luxury saloon. Build quality is sublime and the very latest technology is fitted.

Where the CL really begins to shine is on the road - particularly with a bi-turbo V12 engine under the bonnet. Push the unusually long-travel accelerator to the floor and it's as though you've activated a high-speed winch attached to the front of the car.

Thanks to Mercedes' latest chassis and suspension technology, the coupé can automatically tailor its handling and ride to your driving style. Given the CL's girth, it is surprisingly nimble when cornering, while the ride quality is also superb at any speed.

The entry-level V8-powered CL500 is priced at £79,550 and the sporty AMG model weighs in at £103,450, while if you want 12 cylinders, you'll require a mighty £107,097. There is no doubt this Mercedes is enormously expensive - but it's one of the most capable cars on the planet.

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