2011 Mercedes-Benz CL-Class Performance
This performance review was written when the 2011 Mercedes-Benz CL-Class was new.
Car reviewers like the 2011 Mercedes-Benz CL for its powerful, refined and mildly sporty performance.
- "What is noticeable and thoroughly satisfying is the CL550's confidence in its place on wet and snow-covered roads. The car's self-assuredness measurably bolsters the driver's sense of well-being. And although the CL550 is pricey, with a base cost substantially in excess of $100,000, the complete peace of mind it offers in nasty weather is priceless. "--Washington Post
- "The CL's standard Airmatic suspension is hard to fault. It can operate in either its default Comfort setting or a firmer Sport setting. Without going into technical details, I'll say that it absorbs bumps like little else I've driven. "--Cars.com
- "A refined car that hides you from the world when you want it to, but it is willing to do a convincing sports-car impression when called upon." -- Car and Driver
Acceleration and Power
Automotive critics agree that both of the CL's available engines provide generous amounts of power. The base CL550 features a 5.5-liter V8 engine that produces 382-horsepower and 391 pound-feet of torque. A seven-speed automatic transmission is standard. If you go for the CL550 4MATIC, you not only get all-wheel drive but also a new 429-horespower twin-turbo V8 that makes 516-pound-feet of torque.
The more powerful CL600 comes equipped with a 5.5-liter biturbo V12 engine that generates 510-horsepower and 612 pound-feet of torque. A five-speed automatic transmission is standard. Significantly faster than the CL550, the CL600 can sprint from 0 to 60 mph in just 4.5 seconds.
The EPA reports that the CL550 nets a city/highway fuel economy of 15/23 mpg. Meanwhile, the CL600 nets 12/18 mpg.
No matter which engine they drove, reviewers report that the 2011 Mercedes-Benz CL has enough power for anything drivers are likely to throw at it.
- "Power delivery across the CL-Class lineup ranges from ample in the CL550 to outright ferocious in the CL65. ... The transmission is occasionally slow to downshift but is otherwise smooth and responsive." -- Consumer Guide
- "On the highway, the CL550's V-8 effortlessly builds speed, and before long you're doing 70 mph. The smooth, fluid power delivery is accompanied by a deep, but muted, exhaust note that's always in the background." -- Cars.com
Handling and Braking
Test drivers are impressed with the CL's composed handling. Despite the CL’s size, reviewers say it’s nimble.
- "Despite their size and heft, CLs are reassuringly stable when cornering and when traveling at high speeds. ... Standard Active Body Control further enhances agility. Powerful brakes provide short, drama-free emergency stops." -- Consumer Guide
- "The CL's handling is respectable for a large coupe, especially with the Active Body Control suspension technology (standard on all but the CL550 4Matic), which suppresses any hint of body roll in corners.” – Edmunds
- A "feat of derring-do was made possible by the addition of the S-Class's spanking new 4Matic all-wheel-drive system, which splits torque 45/55 front/rear and incorporates a wet-clutch limited-slip center differential. As in the S-Class, the system's compact design allows it to package in the same transmission tunnel the rear-drive models use, and Mercedes claims that at 154 pounds, it's the lightest system of its kind." -- Motor Trend
- "The CL550's brake pedal has a natural, progressive feel, and the strong brakes bring this 2.25 ton coupe to a halt without drama." -- Cars.com