The fail-safe brake option intervened twice for me on the freeway. I know, it's to help you from getting in a rear-end collision. But as quickly as these brakes bite, you want to hope the guy behind you has the same system, because you stop right now. The tiniest bit of brake pressure gives you 100 percent brake force.
For me, this really sets the bar pretty high for performance and luxury. This is a terrific car.
Well, isn't this just a bad boy. And I love it. This 2012 Mercedes-Benz CLS63 AMG is comfortable and soft when you want it to be and a rocket when you want that. It's not the fastest car I've driven this year, nor the best handling, nor the most luxurious, but it is one heck of a combination of the three.
Personally I like the CLS redesign. I think it makes the car look tougher, even more so in AMG guise. One thing about the AMG package is that the car rides a wee bit stiffer than perhaps what the standard CLS customer is accustomed to. It's not a problem but it's worth noting. And it definitely feels buttoned up.
I love the engine and the gearbox. This thing really flies for a big car (and one this heavy) and makes the right hot-rod sounds and is quite fuel efficient, what with the stop/start function and all. There's just a ton of grip and brake and the car felt nicely balanced. Driving it to home and back to work and a bit around town last night doesn't allow a chance to wring it out fully. For that, you'd need a racetrack.
Still, it was a thrill to drive last night.
The 2012 Mercedes-Benz CLS63 AMG is as angry a car as the BMW M3 is contemptuous. Instead of tolerating your presence and performing vehicular miracles with a yawn, the AMG physically tries to eject you, bucking-bronco style. Thank goodness the seats are as good as they are, because with the brakes, the forward thrust and the cornering capability, I found myself hanging on for dear life more than what should be legal in a four-door sedan.
To echo some of the earlier comments, the steering wheel on this CLS63 AMG should be federally mandated on every new car, from the Toyota Corolla to the Ford Explorer. It would reduce both road rage and distracted driving, since no one would ever want to take their hands off the wheel to flip a bird or dial a phone.
This redesigned CLS63 AMG is a winner in my book on cosmetics alone. As Roger said, the lines are fantastic, and the curb appeal and presence have just the attitude I appreciate in a performance luxury sedan.
The Alcantara throughout the interior, with carbon-fiber inserts, reminds me at the push of the AMG button that an aggressive sports car is at my beck and call.
The steering wheel is fantastic and I love the substantial grip. The seven-speed automatic is great mated to the twin-turbo V8. I prefer to be more active in my driving, so I used the automatic modes only when I was feeling lazy or tired. Downshifting and engine braking with the pull of the left paddle emit a muscular, throaty growl (best enjoyed with windows down) to slow the car, honestly faster than I expected sans brakes.
When cruising at highway speeds, the seventh gear is great in helping this hulk of a car achieve the 22-mpg mark, and with a few quick downshifts, you are right into the powerband without a care in the world.
One minor complaint, mostly because of my unfamiliarity of the car, is still, I think, noteworthy. The adaptive-cruise-control lever initially is easily confused with the turn signal. So the first few times, expect a few honks if you fail to signal a turn. However, after a little bit of driving, you'll sort it out.
Another odd thing is the presence of the eco button and mode. I cannot imagine someone spending this kind of money on an AMG sedan to have it go into an eco mode every time you start it up. I was shocked when I stopped and the engine turned off. Shouldn't an AMG car be AMG all the time? It's not like the AMG logos only show when you are in AMG mode.
Some people might complain that the new CLS isn't as visually stunning as the original. To my eye it's still a looker and would win a beauty contest against the healthy field of competitors today. The changing times probably has the most to do with lack of impact these sedans with coupelike profiles now have. When the original CLS debuted, there was nothing like it. Today, you have the Audi A7, the Porsche Panamera and, on the less expensive end, the Volkswagen CC. These things have now been seen and no matter what, they're probably not going to be dropping jaws again.
Well, at least not from a styling standpoint, even though this AMG version of the CLS does look sinister with the exclusive front fascia, 19-inch AMG wheels, quad exhaust outlets and rear spoiler. However, the performance of this AMG should have you picking your jaw up off the floor. Our test car is equipped with the optional performance package to ratchet power up to 550 hp and 590 lb-ft of torque from the base 518 hp and 516 lb-ft of torque. Zero to 60 mph happens in 4.3 seconds, and top speed is raised to an autobahn-worthy 186 mph. Is that necessary? No, but I suppose it's kind of cool knowing that you can go that fast.
Everyone above has covered how fast this thing is in a straight line along with all of the wonderful noises this force-induced V8 makes. I'll echo the comments about this gearbox being a good one with slick upshifts and downshifts and the optional carbon-ceramic brakes--a $12,625 option--are mega-strong to slow things down.
I didn't push the car too much during my weekend and instead used it as a semi-long-distance cruiser down to Mid-Ohio and back. Rolling at a steady pace of about 70 mph the entire time, the CLS63 returned 21.69 mpg, which isn't bad considering. The AMG seats were comfortable; the cabin was a wonderful place to be in for extended period of time, and the power was great to effortlessly pass whenever I needed to.
Ride quality is fine and we felt good after spending a good chunk of the day in the car going to and from the track. Last year, I did that trip in a SLS AMG and was absolutely battered by that.
As for the start/stop system, I will say that it's one of the best ones in terms of seamless operation. Yes, it's a little annoying that it defaults on, but I'm sure there is some fuel-economy-rating reasoning behind it. Thankfully, it can be turned off at the push of button.
2012 Mercedes-Benz CLS63 AMG
Base Price : $95,775
As-Tested Price : $129,840
Drivetrain : 5.5-liter twin-turbocharged V8; RWD, seven-speed automatic
Output : 550 hp @ 5,500 rpm, 590 lb-ft @ 1,700-5,000 rpm
Curb Weight : 4,277 lb
Fuel Economy (EPA/AW) : 18/19.2 mpg
Options : AMG carbon-ceramic brake package ($12,625); AMG Performance package including carbon-fiber trunklid spoiler, carbon-fiber engine cover, red brake calipers, top speed raised to 186 mph, AMG performance steering wheel, sport suspension, additional power to 550 hp and 590 lb-ft of torque ($6,990); P01 package including iPod/MP3 media interface, review camera, heat and active ventilated front seats, active multicontour driver seat, adaptive high-beam assist, full LED headlamps, electronic trunk closer and keyless-go ($3,690); driver assist package including distronic plus with presafe brake, active blind-spot assist and active lane-keeping assist ($2,950); carbon-fiber trim ($2,850); 19-inch AMG twin five-spoke forged all wheels ($1,790); night view assist plus ($1,780)