In the fall of 2006 Mercedes-Benz brought the large Coupé of the C 216 series. The two-door model combined peerless exclusivity and charismatic design with the sort of cutting-edge technology that no other manufacturer worldwide can match.
The luxury Coupé raised the bar in terms of vehicle safety with the PRE-SAFE® brakes: the unique system automatically braked the Coupé before an imminent rear-end collision. Furthermore, Mercedes-Benz innovations such as the Active Body Control (ABC) suspension system, the Intelligent Light System with five lighting functions and PRE-SAFE® anticipatory occupant protection all came as standard. Two powerful engines with 8 or 12 cylinders were available, delivering a notable increase in output and torque. Thanks to their exemplary smoothness they also lived up to the Mercedes-Benz heritage of superb motoring refinement.
Compared with the outgoing model, the new Mercedes-Benz top-of-the-range Coupé grew only slightly in all dimensions. 5065 millimetres long, 1871 millimetres wide and 1418 millimetres high, the body was just 75 millimetres longer, 14 millimetres wider and 20 millimetres higher than before, providing even more comfort and space in all four seats. The boot capacity was increased by 40 litres to 490 litres (VDA measuring method).
Launch with 8 and 12-cylinder powerplants
Equipped with the most powerful Mercedes-Benz engines available at the time of its launch, the new luxury Coupé was equal to any challenge whether on country road or motorway. The eight-cylinder powerplant in the CL 500 delivered 285 kW and generated a maximum torque of 530 Newton metres from 2800 rpm. As such the newly developed engine outperformed the existing V8 unit by 26 percent in terms of output and
15 percent in terms of torque.
Equipped with four-valve technology, variably adjustable shifting camshafts, a two-stage intake module and tumble flaps in the intake ducts, the new V8 was among the most advanced, powerful engines in its displacement class. The CL 500 accelerated from zero to 100 km/h in just 5.4 seconds (previous model: 6.3 seconds).
An ultra-modern biturbo twelve-cylinder engine under the bonnet of the new CL 600 generated its impressive power. Mercedes-Benz engineers enhanced numerous details of the power unit and, compared to the predecessor model, increased output by 12 kW to 380 kW. The maximum torque, already on tap from 1900 rpm, was improved further by 30 Newton metres to 830 Newton metres and remained constant up to 3500 rpm. The new CL 600 accelerated from 0 to 100 km/h in just 4.6 seconds (previous model: 4.8 seconds).
Mercedes-Benz combined the standard-fit automatic transmission with the new DIRECT SELECT gearshift. This allowed the driver to select the transmission settings “P”, “N”, “R” and “D” by nudging a lever on the steering column. Operating commands were transmitted electronically by wire.
PRE-SAFE®: automatic partial braking before an impending accident
The C 216 series incorporated technical innovations as standard that featured in no other passenger car worldwide. Mercedes-Benz was the world’s first car brand to develop an anticipatory occupant protection system that could recognise a potential accident situation in its early stages and take anticipatory occupant protection measures: PRE-SAFE® was standard-fit in the C 216 series. Mercedes-Benz complemented this multi-award-winning anticipatory protection system in the new Coupé for the first time with the newly developed PRE-SAFE® brake.
The PRE-SAFE® brake operated in tandem with Brake Assist PLUS (BAS PLUS), which warned the driver of an imminent rear-end collision with visual and audible signals and automatically calculated the required braking pressure to prevent an accident. This braking-power support was available as soon as the brake pedal was operated. If the driver failed to react to the BAS PLUS warnings, the PRE-SAFE® brakes triggered automatic partial braking where an accident was imminent and slowed the CL-Class down using around 40 percent of the total braking power. The automatic partial braking provided the driver with another clear warning to act. If the driver then immediately applied the brakes, the maximum braking force was available and – depending on the situation – the accident could be averted at the last moment. If an accident was unavoidable, the PRE-SAFE® brakes reduced the impact severity and, in turn, the risk of injury to the vehicle occupants.
Active Body Control and Intelligent Light System
An even more sophisticated version of the Active Body Control ABC suspension system was used in the C 216 series, giving the Coupé unprecedented handling dynamics while offering an equally appreciable improvement in ride comfort.
The Intelligent Light System made driving even safer in the dark. Together with bi-xenon headlamps it formed part of the standard specification for the new CL-Class and provided five different lighting functions that were activated to match driving and weather conditions: the new country road mode illuminated the driver’s-side edge of the road more widely and brightly than the existing low-beam headlamps. Motorway mode, which came on automatically when driving above 90 km/h, delivered a uniform cone of light that illuminated the entire road width. In the centre of this cone the driver was able to see around 50 metres further. The enhanced fog lamps were also new, which Mercedes-Benz used to provide better orientation in adverse weather conditions. Active light function and cornering light function were also part of the standard-fit Intelligent Light System on the CL-Class.
Large Coupé synonymous with style
The CL Coupé established the mould for a new Mercedes-Benz style. Its hallmark was the interaction between distinctive tightly drawn lines with large, unruffled surfaces. This design idiom lent the Coupé its own particular expressive power, emphasising the calm and inner strength of its athletic, self-confident nature. Familiar Mercedes-Benz features were given a contemporary twist, resulting in a harmonious blend of the classic and contemporary. Examples included the hallmark Mercedes-Benz radiator grille with its wide chrome louvres and the design of the C-pillar. The unique, slightly downwards-tapering pillar configuration was a typical feature of the large Mercedes-Benz Coupés.
The interior was also designed for stylish comfort and relaxation. Five colour combinations were available; automatic climate control, COMAND with car radio and CD/DVD player as well as a glass sunroof were all part of the standard specification, elements that came together to deliver a unique motoring and comfort experience. In the top-of-the-line CL 600 the Exclusive PASSION leather appointments, specially selected poplar wood and an Alcantara roof liner with quilted seams provided the finishing touches to an exquisite first-class ambience, a look and feel also echoed in the seats with their designo styling, the chromed door sill panels and floor mats with leather edging. The standard specification also included dynamic multicontour seats with massage function and seat ventilation, the hard-disc navigation system COMAND APS, the LOGIC7® surround sound system with DVD changer and the KEYLESS-GO access and drive authorisation system.
Control system: fewer switches and more functions
A newly developed control system, which had already been successfully implemented in the S-Class worldwide, refined driver-vehicle interaction even further. Above all, it provided convenient, rapid access to frequently used functions such as car radio, DVD player, car phone or navigation system. The standard-fit automatic climate control with four independently adjustable temperature zones was also integrated into the new control system. The driver and front passenger could select temperature, air distribution and other settings either using the COMAND controller and menu-based control, or by means of an attractively styled switch array beneath the air vents.
The newly developed integral seats in the CL-Class provide maximum individual seating comfort. “Integral” means that all components of the seat-belt system are incorporated directly into the seat; hence the seats form an important component in the occupant protection system. Optional extras include luxury seats with active ventilation (standard in the CL 600) that provide even more individual comfort, along with the further enhanced multicontour seats with nine air cushions, and dynamic multicontour seats with massage function (standard in the CL 600).
Flagship models from AMG for the C 216 series
At the 2006 Paris Motor Show Mercedes-Benz presented the CL 63 AMG with 6.3-litre V8 engine as its flagship model in the C 216 series. It was joined the following year at the 2007 New York International Auto Show by the CL 65 AMG with V12 engine.
The heart of both top-of-the-line eight-cylinder models was the 100% AMG-developed AMG 6.3-litre V8-engine. From a displacement of 6208 cc, this high-revving, naturally aspirated engine delivered an output of 386 kW at 6800 rpm and a maximum torque of 630 Nm at 5200 rpm. This gave the AMG powerpack a higher specific output and specific torque than any other series-produced naturally aspirated eight-cylinder engine in the world. The CL 63 AMG accelerated from a standing start to 100 km/h in 4.6 seconds, and its maximum speed was electronically limited to 250 km/h.
The CL 63 AMG gave the impression of high-performance athlete in a bespoke suit. Equipment included the muscular AMG bumper with round fog lamps set in chrome rings, large air intakes and side vents. Whereas the Coupé shared these details with the S 63 AMG Saloon, only the CL 63 AMG featured chrome surrounds around the air vents and the striking AMG radiator grille with two horizontal chrome louvres and numerous vertical slats in black.
Visual and acoustic highlights were provided by the two chrome twin tailpipes of the AMG sports exhaust system. Another distinguishing feature was the “6.3 AMG“ lettering on the front wings. This sporty and exclusive styling was continued in the interior. The extensive standard appointments included PASSION leather upholstery and multicontour AMG sports seats with their own cross-piping design and massage function. The AMG instrument cluster displayed the AMG main menu with the “RACETIMER“. Another eye-catching feature in the interior was the exclusive analogue clock modelled on the design of the “IWC-Ingenieur“ series in the centre console. The overall picture was rounded off by AMG entry sills of brushed stainless steel.
Another equally exclusive dream car joined the AMG model range in 2007 in the form of the new CL 65 AMG. This high-performance Coupé was powered by the AMG 6.0-litre V12 biturbo engine. Thanks to a maximum output of 450 kW and maximum torque of 1000 Newton metres it delivered a truly impressive driving experience, accelerating from 0 to 100 km/h in 4.4 seconds and reaching the 200-km/h mark in 13.3 seconds. Its maximum speed was 250 km/h (electronically limited).
Standard features included AMG bodystyling, 50.8-centimetre AMG forged wheels, the unique AMG interior and highly advanced technology, such as AMG sports suspension, based on the Active Body Control system, and the anticipatory occupant protection system PRE-SAFE®. The AMG high-performance brake system with new double-frame sliding callipers offered maximum deceleration without fading.
“40th Anniversary” edition with AMG Alubeam paint finish
In order to mark the 40th anniversary of Mercedes-AMG – the high-performance brand of the Mercedes Car Group – in suitably glittering style, the CL 65 AMG was also offered as a “40th Anniversary” limited-edition model. A new type of paint finish reflected the special status of this exclusive version, which was restricted to just 40 vehicles for the whole world. This exceptional AMG Coupé was the very first series-production Mercedes to feature AMG Alubeam, a unique paint finish previously only seen on a handful of Mercedes-Benz show cars. A world first, this new process causes the paint to gleam like liquid metal. The paint, which seemed to be stretched over the vehicle’s body like a metallic skin, emphasised the compelling lines of the large Mercedes-Benz Coupé more effectively than any other paint finish, while the light played on these in a way calculated to produce an even more vivid look. This was made possible by the use of pigment particles measuring just 30 to 50 nanometres in size and which were therefore incorporated into the surface of the paint even more evenly. As a result, the light was reflected much more intensely and the lustre of the paintwork enhanced. To put this into perspective, conventional paintwork pigments measure between 100 and 300 nanometres in size.
The superbly styled interior also made an impressive statement: the CL 65 AMG “40th Anniversary” featured two-tone EXCLUSIVE PASSION all-nappa-leather upholstery with the new AMG V12 diamond pattern, a colour-coordinated Alcantara roof lining and embossed V12 logos on the front head restraints.
Coupé with all-wheel drive
From summer 2008, Mercedes-Benz also offered all-wheel drive for its luxury CL-Class Coupé for the first time. The new CL 500 4MATIC provided even greater traction and handling stability in the wet, in snow or on ice. In this vehicle Mercedes-Benz used the latest-generation system that had already proved successful in the S-Class. 4MATIC was permanently active and therefore required no response time to come to the driver’s aid in unfavourable weather and driving conditions. As a result, critical situations could be mastered more effectively and confidently. The heart of the all-wheel-drive system was a transfer case with a central differential, which was integrated into the seven-speed automatic transmission. From here, the drive torque was split between the front and rear axle at a ratio of 45 to 55.
Another new feature was the twin-plate clutch at the central differential. This produced a basic locking effect of around 50 Newton metres between the front and rear axle, which allowed variable torque shift between the axles as the situation dictated.
The new 4MATIC model in the CL-Class range was characterised by the same high-quality safety and comfort features as the luxury Coupé with rear-wheel drive, and additionally offered PASSION leather appointments, a ski bag, multicontour front seats and 45.7 centimetre nine-spoke light-alloy wheels. Other Mercedes-Benz innovations available as an option included the radar-based Brake Assist PLUS, PRE-SAFE® brakes and night view assist
Anniversary model honours the trademark
In 2009 Mercedes-Benz celebrated the one hundredth birthday of the Mercedes star and the Benz emblem with a particularly exclusive edition of the CL Coupé. The exquisite equipment details included beautifully executed emblems of the original trademarks inset into the centre console. These were accurate reproductions of the emblems that Daimler-Motoren-Gesellschaft and Benz & Cie. registered as trademarks one hundred years ago, forming the basis for the Mercedes star. With its exclusive equipment, the special “Trademark Centenary” edition underlined the special position held by large Coupés from Mercedes-Benz.
The C 216 series is to undergo a major model refinement for the model year 2011. The Coupés will be refined at the highest level, bringing further perfection but also innovative technology.
The C 216 series in the press
Frankfurter Allgemeine Sonntagszeitung, Germany, 3 September 2006,on the Mercedes-Benz Coupés of the C 216 series: “In a Mercedes Coupé it becomes obvious that Saloons are redundant. Rear seats are only there in case someone unexpectedly needs a lift – an event any Coupé driver would rather not think about. For the Coupé driver appreciates the serenity of automotive mobility and desires to stand out among the crowd of everyday vehicles. His Coupé is a ‘Sunday-best’ car for every day of the week.”
Autorevue, Austria, issue 12/2006, on the Mercedes-Benz CL 500:
“In the CL sensibilities takes priority over actions. One drives, one hears the engine – but nothing more than an atmospherically enlivening fundamental, a note that changes key depending on the angle of the accelerator pedal. One is not even affected any longer by noise from the world outside. One is embedded in a control loop that creates an overall situation from the tiniest of movements. The manner, speed and force with which one steers, brakes or accelerates set in motion actions initiated or reinforced by the system that keep the car on track, retard it powerfully or keep it horizontal on cornering. A part of this is the driver’s will. But in extremis, the car take from one’s own input only what it considers reasonable. And the first unexpected encounter with wet autumn leaves or early snow reminds one what an excellent idea this is.”
Road & Track, USA, August 2007, on the Mercedes-Benz CL 600: “Out on the open road, the CL 600 stretches its legs and covers ground in a comfortable flash. Ride quality is excellent, no matter the surface, and the handling is quite impressive for a large, substantial coupe. Winding country roads with little or no traffic are the ideal setting for this car, as you can exercise the V-12 with complete confidence in the Mercedes multilink suspension with Active Body Control, 4-wheel disc brakes with ASS and lots of other technology to keep you on an even keel.”
Source: Daimler AG