Mercedes CL 65 AMG
Just in time to mark its 40th anniversary, the high-performance division of Mercedes-Benz will be rolling out the all-new CL65 AMG at the upcoming New York International Auto Show.
Don't let the numbers confuse you. This isn't the current CL63 AMG, which slips a torquey, 6.3-liter V-8 under the hood of Mercedes' flagship coupe. The 65 is the crème de la crème of the lineup, with a 6.5-liter, 12-cylinder engine making 604 horsepower.
But the CL65 is about more than just raw horsepower. The 12-banger is an elegant work of kinetic art, powerful, yes, but also incredibly smooth and sophisticated, with a deep-throated rumble, at idle, and a menacing roar when opened up.



TheCarConnection.com got an exclusive sneak peek at the new CL65 a few weeks back and from the moment the covers were lifted, we discovered a real, visual stand-out. The model we got to drool over was one of just 40 that will be painted in a liquid-like finish known as Alubeam paint. If you've seen the second or third-installment Terminator films you'll have some sense of the liquid metal appearance that uses a special, microfine metallic flake paint under numerous clear-coat layers.

"It's difficult to do," suggested the brand-within-a-brand's number two executive, Mario Spitzner, in a serious example of understatement. It's the sort of paint job you protect with armed guards and a private parking lot.

It is a bit of a learning lesson, he continued, and if they get the right response, and find a way to mass produce, we could see this spectacular finish offered up as a - very high-cost - option on future AMG models, though likely not in this one-off, silver-grey hue.

Mercedes CL 65 AMG
The limited-edition CL65 will also feature carbon-fiber interior inserts on the doors and instrument panels, as well as quilted leather on the doors and seats. Each of the cars will feature a "One of 40," plaque, except for those sold in the U.S. , where the placard will read, "One of 20."

Like the standard Mercedes CL, the 65 features a number of lightweight body panels, including a fiberglass decklid, as well as hood and doors of aluminum.

The CL65 needs to be as adept at stopping as it is at starting, stressed Spitzner, and AMG is equipping the coupe with an all-new braking system it has developed, in-house, that uses both fixed and floating caliper elements.

How fast is the V-12 rocket? "Even in fifth gear, if it wasn't governed by the computer," Spitzner boasted, "you would be spinning wheels. It's a torque machine."

While final prices haven't yet been revealed, a Mercedes source tells TheCarConnection.com to expect the standard CL to start at around $185,000, which gets you a pretty much fully-loaded car. The limited-edition model, in Alubeam paint, should go for a "ballpark of around $200,000."

The launch of the CL65 is viewed as a significant event within Mercedes, and for good reason. It was 1967 when one-time factory rats Hans-Werner Aufrecht and Erhard Melcher opened up a small shop in Großaspach, a town near Stuttgart. They initially focused on racing, gaining serious attention in 1971 with a 6.3-liter version of the SEL, (the original name of the CL), with a win at Spa.

Today, AMG is a wholly-owned Mercedes subsidiary, with about 750 employees, though it notably maintains the founders' "one-man-one-engine policy," with each powertrain assembled, start to finish, by a single employee. With the arrival of the CL65, Mercedes will now have 16 different AMG models in its global lineup, eight of them launched within the last year.
Mercedes CL 65 AMG

Equally intriguing, half of all AMGs are sold in the U.S. each year, and about 25 percent of global volume goes to buyers in Southern California.

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