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First look: Facelifted CL to debut twin-turbo V8s

Upmarket: New-look 2011 CL-class gains new bumpers, grille, headlights, bonnet and mirrors - but biggest changes are under the bonnet.

New-look CL Coupe emerges ahead of Q4 local launch with two new twin-turbo V8s

5 Jul 2010

MERCEDES-BENZ has lifted the lid on its facelifted CL-class coupe, which will not be known as the S-class Coupe when it arrives in Australia in the fourth quarter of this year, as originally planned.

Echoing last year's change from CLK to E-class Coupe, the name chage for Mercedes' top-shelf coupe will now take place in 2013, when the next-generation 217-series CL emerges as the S-class Coupe.

For now, the midlife makeover of the current CL coupe, which was released here in April 2007, will be headlined by two new twin-turbocharged direct-injection V8s, plus new front, rear and interior styling, extra equipment and suitably fresh technology.

Although it is yet to emerge, the latest CL63 AMG Coupe will swap its current naturally aspirated 6.2-litre V8 for a new 400kW twin-turbo 5.5-litre V8 in an effort to make the wildest member of the flagship Mercedes coupe range more efficient.

First revealed on the eve of the Geneva motor show in March and destined to replace the naturally aspirated big-bore V8 in all future AMG models – including the S63 AMG sedan next year - the downsized, force-fed direct-injection V8 delivers no less than 400kW from 5500rpm and a walloping 800Nm of torque between 2000-4500rpm.

That’s up from 386kW at 6800rpm and 630Nm at 5500rpm for the 6.2, and although no official details have been released for the new AMG V8 model, when fitted to the S-class the new 5.5-litre M157 biturbo V8 increases acceleration by more than 0.1 seconds while reducing fuel consumption by a big 25 per cent or about 4.0L/100km.

As we’ve reported, a higher-boost (1.3 bar versus a still-big 1.0 bar for the standard AMG engine) version that slams out 420kW and 900Nm will be available in Europe as part of a ‘Performance Package’ upgrade, but won’t be sold here.

Both new powerhouses feature cylinder-shutdown technology and will be mated as standard to a variation of the seven-speed MCT Speedshift multi-clutch automatic transmission with wet start-up clutch, as seen in the SL63 and E63.

Of course, there will also be replacements for the current CL600 that now costs a cool $418,500 (which will employ a Euro 5 emissions version of the existing twin-turbo 380kW/830Nm 5.5-litre V12) and the CL65 AMG that currently runs a twin-turbo 450kW/1000Nm 6.0-litre V12 and tops the CL range at $510,500 – a neat $99,000 more than the CL63 AMG V8.

But for now, at least officially, the most luxurious Benz coupe line-up is topped by the upgraded CL500 - which now carries the BlueEfficiency title and comes powered by another new twin-turbo direct-injection petrol V8 - this time the 4.7-litre M278, which will also power the S-class sedan and new CLS grand tourer due to emerge later this year.

4 center imageReplacing the naturally aspirated 285kW/530Nm 5.5-litre M155 V8 that powers a range of Mercedes models including the outgoing CL500, the all-new smaller-displacement lower-pressure turbo engine delivers a handy 320kW and 700Nm in the new CL500 BlueEfficiency Coupe.

Up from 285kW/530Nm for the current CL500, it’s enough to lower its 0-100km/h acceleration time by half a second to 4.9 seconds.

Available in left-hand drive markets in 4Matic all-wheel drive as well as standard rear-drive guises, the upgraded entry-level CL500 BlueEfficiency is claimed to return 23 per cent lower fuel consumption at 9.5L/100km, while CO2 emissions reduce from 288 to 224g/km, thanks largely to as new third-generation spray-guided direct-injection system called ‘BlueDirect’.

The CL500’s BlueEfficiency package comprises on-demand alternator, fuel pump, air-conditioning and power-assisted steering system control, low rolling resistance tyres, an “energy-optimised” Active Body Control system and a revised version of Mercedes’ seven-speed 7G-tronic automatic transmission featuring automatic idle-stop and brake energy regeneration functions.

All facelifted CLs gain a pointier grille, new front bumper with LED daytime running lights, reshaped bi-Xenon headlights, a recontoured bonnet, larger exterior mirrors with integrated indicators and revised tail-lights.

New technologies include Active Body Control (ABC) with crosswind stabilisation, plus safety systems such as Attention Assist weariness recognition system, Active Blind Spot Assist, Adaptive Highbeam Assist, Pre-Safe automatic collision preparation with full brake application function, and the optional Active Lane Keeping Assist system, which uses a windscreen camera to monitor the car’s lane position and can brake individual wheels to prevent wandering.

Inside, the 2011 CL features higher-quality trim materials, new colour combinations, a redesigned multi-function steering wheel and ambient lighting in three different shades: solar, neutral and polar.

Aside from a range of safety and navigation options packages, the refreshed CL will be available in Europe with a revised range of Designo features, including 10 paint colours, 10 aniline and four natural leather interiors, and six cabin trim options – maple or matt oak woodgrain, black or champagne white piano lacquer, and Labrador blue pearl and Star Galaxy black real granite comprising 0.6-0.8mm thin stone wafers.

There is also an ever wider new ‘designo Selection’ range of options, highlighted by solid 18-carat gold lettering on the rear air-conditioning unit cover and also comprising a wood/leather steering wheel, black nappa leather or Alcantara headlining in cashmere beige, anthracite or alpaca grey colours.

And if that’s a bit naff then there’s always the AMG Sports package, consisting of sterling silver 19-inch AMG alloy wheels with 255/40 front and 275/40 rear tyres, more aggressive AMG front and rear bumpers, brushed stainless steel pedal covers with black rubber studs and velour floor mats with AMG lettering.

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