2008 Mercedes-Benz CL65 AMG: Knight in Shining Armor

Written by Virgil Moore III

The story begins in July 1967, when Hans Werner Aufrecht and Erhard Melcher established their engineering company for the development of racing engines. The company’s name “AMG” was easily derived: “A” for Aufrecht, “M” for Melcher and “G” for Aufrecht’s birthplace of Großaspach, Germany. The vehicle that brought AMG onto the scene in America was the Mercedes 300E 5.6 introduced in 1986. The V8 workhorse pushed out 360 horsepower. U.S. enthusiasts were so impressed with the vehicle they gave it the nickname “The Hammer.” Since then, the name AMG has been equated to superior performance and sports styling. Over the years, AMG has evolved from being a tuner house contracted by Mercedes-Benz for high-performance conversions to being a fully owned wing of the DaimlerChrysler empire.

This year, being their fortieth year of developing special-edition creations for the German auto giant, a celebration was just due! Released from the chambers of mastermind mechanics and design engineers at the AMG Performance Studio - the limited-edition CL65 AMG “40th Anniversary” V12 Coupe. The forty year anniversary also signifies the exclusive number of CL65 vehicles that will be made. AMG models are strictly limited in number to preserve the greatest possible exclusiveness. Each AMG V12 engine is hand-assembled from start to finish by a single technician in accordance with the strictest quality standards - as documented by the tech’s signature on the AMG engine plate. The hand-built V12, 6.0-liter engine produces a beast like 612 horsepower and 738 pound-feet of torque. Accelerating never felt so good! On the open road I felt as if we were ascending into warp speed in a secret-government issue aircraft. Large air intakes, side air outlets and round fog lamps with chrome surrounds complement the front, as do the exclusive AMG grille with horizontal chrome fins and the darkened bi-xenon headlamps. With a hunched muscular rear and distinctly bold body lines, the CL65 is one of the most aggressive yet elegant looking vehicles yet.

Though having a steep price tag, the CL65’s cost is well deserving of its high-class offerings. (Over $200k, just is case you were wondering.) A world-first selected paint finish commemorates this special edition, “Alu Beam” (liquid metal) paint. Alu Beam is created through an expensive process of milling metal into a powdery dust so fine that it is able to spread like paint, which is no easy task. A paint job just doesn’t get much better than this ladies and gentlemen. The color and shine of the CL65 is absolutely amazing. Its rare coat appears as if it was dipped in Mercury. It’s just unexplainably beautiful!

The interior offers every possible luxury option available. The impeccably plush interior creates an elegant statement all its own. Wrapped tightly above your head is an Alcantara headliner with premium leather quilted-stitched bucket seating beneath, along with stylish metal or optional carbon-fiber trim throughout the cabin. AMG and “Anniversary Edition” badging remind you that this vehicle is exclusive. The navigation and control screen serve triple duty with the addition of an analog/digital TV tuner. Adding to that, the hand rest of the COMAND controller is engraved with a reminder that this CL is only “One out of Forty.”

As we paraded the fleet of AMG vehicles through the streets of Beverly Hills, off to our afternoon destination in the mountains at the Willow Springs Racetrack, I was able to grasp the true essence of this vehicle. Speaking of which, being on the track with the Mercedes’ CLK63 AMG for an afternoon with renowned world-class champion driver Klaus Ludwig was a definite pleaser. A super tight suspension provided the added sense of confidence and security when blasting out of tight turns into fast straightaways on the track. Pacing closely behind Klaus on the track was pretty far out of scope, but the capabilities of the CLK63 AMG were amazingly obvious. If you’re familiar with the Mercedes Formula 1 pace and medical vehicles used in the World Championship races, then you will find similarities to its step-brother, the AMG CLK63 Black Series. With 507 horsepower, the CLK63AMG Black Series felt extremely nimble and agile. The 6.3-liter V8 rockets the CLK from zero to sixty in an impressive 4.3 seconds.

“The ‘Black Series’ signifies a privileged, members-only like classification. Very much like the American Express Black Card,” stated Mercedes-Benz Public Relations Manager Rob Moran.

At Willow Springs, the CL65 AMG simply cut through air as if it were a gaseous element on the Periodic Table. Pumping out effortless power and control on straightaways and turns alike, the CL65 is a true automotive masterpiece. The AMG sports suspension based on Mercedes’ “Active Body Control” almost completely eliminates the body movements that occur when making simple road adjustments, cornering and braking. The CL65 AMG negotiates bends with a reduced roll angle, while vehicle body roll during fast evasive maneuvers is drastically reduced.

The CL65 has standard staggered twenty inch alloy wheels (255/35 ZR20 - 275/35 ZR20). Slowing this speeding bullet down is no problem with AMG vented disc brakes. Flawless deceleration, maximum braking power and tremendous fade resistance are all hallmarks of the AMG high-performance braking system.

Off the track and on the way to the Links, the CL65 has every fine amenity thinkable for a luxury vehicle. With so much offered you’ll want to get yours quickly. Oh, but that’s not possible. All forty models are already accounted for!