Robb Report Car of the Year 2008: No. 6 Mercedes-Benz CL63 AMG

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Happy Hour.
It is late and dark at the end of a 16-hour workday. Home and the nearest martini are 27 miles away. And it is raining. That is when a body needs to slip into the Mercedes-Benz CL63 and invite the car to drive you home. In this two-door kin of the slightly larger S-Class sedan, the driver essentially is along for the ride as the car works effortlessly. The CL63 also will come out and play with the fast and frisky along any stretch of winding playground. In such a setting, it may not pound the competition, but, powered by AMG’s new 6.2-liter, 518 hp V-8, it definitely will not be embarrassed by it. —Paul Dean

More is Less
If there is a flaw in the Mercedes folks’ approach to perfection it involves their assumption that all countries enjoy the playing ground that is their autobahn. How else can you explain a high-tech, bank vault of a car like the CL63? It seems positively boring at our highway speeds—noise-free and tracking like a train—and only starts to wake up when it reaches triple-digit velocities. The car is overkill, but interesting overkill. Its interior features include seats that grab you in turns, and a night-vision camera that alerts you to the presence of clueless deer. The car’s exterior has enough chrome touches to set it apart from traditional Mercedes fare. Sure, this car is capable of great stuff on the road, but odds are you will just enjoy piloting it with one finger. —Marco R. della Cava

Unidentified Flying Objective
Our essential criteria for judging the cars were simple: We were to determine which of these vehicles best fulfills the purpose for which it was designed, and then exceeds those expectations. However, I, a member of the thirtysomething male demographic, do not entirely understand the CL63 AMG’s purpose. As a sports car disguised as a coupe, it is an automobile with an identity crisis. Is this car for the person who wants the frumpiness of a sedan without the benefit of adequate headroom or the convenience of four doors? Or is it for empty nesters seeking a luxury car that coddles its occupants, handles with aplomb, and goes like stink? If the car was designed for the latter reason, then I get it.  —Gregory Anderson

Mercedes-Benz, www.mbusa.com

LAYOUT
Front-engine, rear-wheel drive
ENGINE
6.2-liter V-8
TRANSMISSION
7-speed automatic
POWER
518 hp, 465 ft lbs
ZERO-TO-60
4.5 seconds
TOP SPEED
155 mph

BASE PRICE: $140,375
PRICE AS TESTED: $149,465
ROBB REPORT RATING: 77.5

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