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Mercedes-Benz CL500 Blue Efficiency review (2011 onwards)
Model: Mercedes CL500 Blue Efficiency
Bodystyle: three-door coupe
Engine: 4.7 litre twin turbo V8 petrol
Transmission: seven-speed auto, rear-wheel drive
For a base cost of a little over £92k here's one of the poshest and greenest grand touring coupes you can buy. Mercedes has taken its flagship CL500 model and given it both a style makeover and an eco-workout. Visually the car looks handsome, with LED running lamps, large classier headlamps and a more sculpted nose.
At the back there are new lights and fancy tailpipes. But the biggest changes lie under the bonnet with a new smaller but more powerful 4.7 litre turbo petrol Blue Efficiency engine that really comes up trumps.
The results are pretty impressive, resulting in a faster and super-smooth beast capable of a remarkable 22% more MPG with a healthy drop in CO2 emissions to 227g/km. In the case of the CL500 it seems that maybe you can have your cake and eat it.
It's a technological tour-de-force too, with more new gizmos than The Gadget Show. From radar-based cruise control and lane assist, to blind spot warning lights, the CL500 does everything in its power to transport you safely and in great comfort.
Where does it fit?
One of the smartest super coupes on the market, the CL500 is certainly first class and an effortless car to drive. The combination of luxury, comfort and sophistication gives it real presence while not being overly brash.
Rivals are plentiful in this arena, from the brutish Bentley Continental GT to the beautiful Maserati GranSport, but it also mixes with the likes of the four-door Aston Martin Rapide and Porsche Panamera in terms of sheer space and luxury.
So who is this car for? It certainly doesn't have quite the look-at-me-ness of a Bentley or an Aston Martin so footballers or celebs needn't apply. More likely perhaps it's aimed at the recently retired banker whose taste for the finer things in life is balanced by their desire to look green at the golf club.
The CL is not a cheap prospect though and options will easily push you over the £100k mark for a car which arguably doesn't look twice the price of its CLS sibling.
Is it for you?
If the price tag doesn't put you off and you are looking for a true four-seater grand coupe with understated elegance, cutting edge technology and astonishing pace then it's certainly one to consider.
What does it do well?
Stress is not something that the CL500 allows. Its cabin cossets and relaxes you so much that you emerge almost as fresh as you entered. The interior design reeks of quality, with four fantastic comfortable seats that even offer the option of a massage function in the front, not that you'll need it.
It's also a very quiet place to be, the double-glazed pillar-less windows shielding you from the troubles of the outside world and the engine that is inaudible unless pressed hard into a gentle growl. The eco features for a two-tonne car work rather well too - giving us over 28mpg on a long drive.
Performance for a car of this size and weight is pretty astonishing, allowing you both utter comfort and exhilarating oomph when required. Put your foot down hard and you'll summon 435hp; it feels like you're in a jumbo jet accelerating for take-off with 0-62 coming in less than five seconds. Keep your foot down and you can easily and smoothly accelerate to licence-losing speeds in less time than it takes to change channels on the DAB radio.
If you fancy a gentler ride, you can waft along barely aware of imperfections of the road. The choice is yours.
What doesn't it do well?
Not a lot. It's a fairly huge beast over five metres long which could make parking an issue and getting in and out of the rear seats can be tricky if your passengers occasionally attract the attention of paparazzi.
What's it like to live with?
Like flying first class, the CL500 will certainly make you feel like the member of an executive club. The combination of a comfortable cabin and fine build quality will put a reassuring smile on your face every time you drive. The standard safety systems include rather snazzy self-dipping lights and pre-safe crash protection system.
Optional extras fitted to the test car included the Driver Assistance package that includes a radar-controlled cruise control and active lane-keeping technology, which help you keep your distance from the car in front and warn you if you drift too close to the white lines.
How green is it?
For a two-tonne car with a 4.7 litre petrol engine, the CL500 Blue Efficiency model aided by stop/start is nothing less than remarkable, capable of 29.4mpg on the combined cycle and as much as 38.7 at a gentle cruise. Emissions of 227g/km make this one of the greenest luxury coupes you can buy.
But as impressive as this is, there are clearly plenty of wiser choices if wanting to be environmentally friendly is your thing. The Blue Efficiency badge might just momentarily ward off any eco-warriors questioning your credentials.
Would we buy it?
The CL500 Blue Efficiency is a very impressive creature, and a step up from its older, slowler, thirstier incarnation. The new engine is a peach and offers reasonable economy plus a stunning turn of speed when required.
In a package of extreme comfort, class and refinement this is definitely a more sensible and less guilty choice than a Bentley Continental GT.
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