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2012 Mercedes CL Class

The 2012 Mercedes CL-Class is almost 2 inches longer than the previous generation, and all the benefits accrue to Interior space. Mercedes made ingress and egress to the rear seat easier with handy quick-release front seats that slide forward and up. Seatbelt presenters automatically extend forward from behind the door opening to make the seatbelts handy for front seat occupants, then retract. The coupe's rear seats are split 60/40, providing access to coupe's capacious 10.4 cubic-foot trunk. The Interior materials are the finest in any recent Mercedes. Soft polyurethane sprayed onto the dashboard provides an attractive appearance and a luxurious feel. The cup holder on the passenger side is attractive but cantankerous, and was the only thing negative we could find in the Interior. The instrument panel is a departure for Mercedes, but it works admirably. A large round speedometer and tachometer dominate the center of the gauge cluster. Two small vertical gauges for the fuel level and coolant temperature flank them. 

The 2012 Mercedes CL-Class is a luxury two-door you can drive hard without even realizing it. The chassis has the kind of stiffness Mercedes has only graced its upscale SL roadsters with in recent years. Torsional rigidity has increased a very welcome 40 percent in the coupe and 10 percent in the Cabriolet compared with the previous-generation CLKs. Extensive use of high-strength steel alloys of varying thickness in the Cabriolet's unibody panels and structure combine with liberal reinforcements of transmission tunnel, cross struts and rear bulkhead to add torsional stiffness and bending resistance and minimize vibration. Mercedes claims, in fact, that the stiffness of the Cabriolet's body is equal to that of the coupe. All of this contributes to its precise handling and taut but comfortable ride quality. The front suspension combines two low-mass lower control arms with a strut, coil springs, dual-tube shocks and a stabilizer bar. 

Mercedes chose to use the two lower control arms to improve impact absorption for better wheel control and damping. The rear suspension is the latest refinement of Mercedes proven multi-link design. It has been tuned for improved absorption of vibration and more predictable handling when driven hard. The 2012 Mercedes CL-Class has very little squat or dive during hard acceleration or braking. The brakes are superb. They're easy to modulate for smooth stops in normal, everyday driving, and respond very linearly. The Mercedes V6 and V8 engines perform admirably and both benefit from a five-speed automatic transmission. It hits the market as the best in its class. It marks a gracious return to style and elegance. It blends two body styles into a common, unified expression of refined, eye- and seat-of-the-pants-pleasure. 


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