Basically a four-passenger version of the SL-Class coupe, the Mercedes-Benz CL-Class receives only an exterior colour change (Flint Grey replaces Tectite Grey) for 2005. The big news is the introduction of the 604-horsepower CL65 AMG, which is reviewed in a separate entry.

The CL-Class consists of the CL500, CL600, CL55 AMG and CL65 AMG, each with its own drive-train.

The CL500 uses a 5.0-litre V8 and includes a seven-speed Touch Shift automatic transmission, Active Body Control, bi-xenon headlamps, heated 14-way power front seats, leather upholstery including dash and doors, burl walnut wood trim, DVD-based navigation system, and six-disc CD Bose surround sound system.

The CL600 carries a 5.8-litre V-12 with twin turbochargers, five-speed Touch Shift automatic transmission, Active Body Control, 18-inch alloy wheels, exclusive Nappa leather upholstery, active ventilated and dynamic multi-contour front seats and digital telephone with voice control.

The CL55 AMG uses a supercharged 5.5-litre V8, five-speed automatic transmission with AMG SpeedShift and fingertip shift controls, Active Body Control, 18-inch AMG wheels, AMG-designed Nappa leather upholstery, and active ventilated and dynamic multi-contour front seats.

The taut and muscular CL-Class offers all of the styling and amenities of the SL-Class, but with the opportunity for two extra people to enjoy the ride. All are stuffed with Mercedes’ high-tech goodies (as they should be for the price), including Active Body Control, which uses microcomputers and high-pressure hydraulics to counter body pitch, roll and squat, and virtually eliminate body movement during acceleration, braking and cornering. The CL500’s seven-speed automatic reduces fuel consumption and increases acceleration while maintaining almost the same size and weight as a five-speed, thanks mostly to its magnesium case. The climate control even monitors seatbelt use, sending airflow to where it will be most appreciated. Who says you can’t have brute strength and thoughtfulness too?

The CL-Class is built in Afalterbach, Germany.

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