All-new for 2005, the Mercedes-Benz CL65 AMG coupe brings new numbers to the CL-Class: 604 hp and 738 lb-ft of torque from its twin-turbocharged V12. That’s 111 hp more than the CL55 AMG supercharged V8 that used to be king of the hill in this line-up. The CL65 shares the powerplant with the equally new SL65 AMG. Only the stratospheric SLR McLaren makes more power, at 617 hp and 575 lb-ft, and it’s US$450,000.

The CL65 AMG’s powerplant is a 6.0-litre, with intercooled twin turbochargers. It mates to a driver-adaptive electronic five-speed automatic transmission with Touch Shift and SpeedShift, which is programmed for crisp, immediate shifts. Power transmits to twin five-spoke, 19-inch aluminum alloy wheels that are 8.5 inches wide in front and 9.5 inches wide in the rear.

All that brute force is wrapped in a stunningly styled and feature-filled package that includes ventilated 12-way power front seats with three-position memory, AMG-specific Nappa leather upholstery, hand-polished burl walnut wood trim, power-adjustable steering column with multifunction wheel, dual-zone automatic climate control, Bose sound system with CD changer and concealed cassette player (perhaps it now looks as dated as an eight-track?), integrated garage door opener, auto-dimming mirrors, infrared rain sensors, DVD-based navigation system, bi-xenon headlamps with washers, cellular telephone, power sunroof, and power-assist trunk and door closure system. “Keyless Go”, a proximity sensor that unlocks the car and allows for pushbutton start without using the key, is an available option, as is Distronic Cruise Control, which uses a radar system to sense and calculate the relative speed of nearby vehicles to ease the throttle or apply the brakes to automatically maintain a safe distance.

The suspension, driveline and brakes have all been beefed up to support the V12’s gut-wrenching power. Like all CL-Class models, the CL65 features Active Body Control (ABC), which adapts the damping of the car body using high-pressure hydraulics and two high-performance microcomputers, eliminating the need for sway bars. ABC adjusts in a split second to driving conditions, and virtually eliminates body movement during acceleration, cornering and braking.

The CL65 AMG is built in Afalterbach and Rastatt, Germany.

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