Mercedes-Benz CL63 AMG review

We road test the monster 563bhp Mercedes Benz CL63 AMG super coupe. How's its new twin-turbo engine?

Evo rating
Price
from £111,985
  • It's got a tremendous new engine
  • Lacking the charisma of rivals

What is it?

The second most potent version of Merc’s huge S-Class-based flagship coupe, though its new generation 5.5-litre V8, which supplants the naturally-aspirated 6.2-litre of the previous ‘63’ model, boasts twin blowers like the V12 of the CL65 AMG and similar neck-bending acceleration up to not-so-sane speeds, especially if you order the output-massaging Performance Pack.

Technical highlights?

Obviously the engine, though the CL range has just been treated to a mid-life spruce-up including restyled headlamps and grille and shapelier bumpers and bonnet. In standard form, the new twin-turbo 5.5-litre V8 delivers 536bhp at 5500rpm and 590lb ft at 2000rpm – that’s 18bhp and 126lb ft more than its larger-capacity, unblown predecessor. The Performance Pack swells these outputs to a still more impressive 563bhp and 633lb ft. Marshalling all this brute force to the rear wheels is AMG’s own seven-speed MCT (multi-clutch transmission) which sharpens up shift times compared to the old 63’s seven-speed torque converter auto. AMG claims the new CL63 hits 62mph from rest in just 4.5sec with top speed limited to 155mph. With the Performance Pack, the limiter is reset at 186mph and 0-62mph drops to 4.4sec.

Conscience-salving features such as automatic stop-start and an improved energy regeneration system ensure better economy and lower emissions (26.9mpg combined cycle and 244g/km CO2 versus 19.5mpg and 346 g/km) go hand-in-hand with the extra performance.

What’s it like to drive?

The new motor is simply magnificent, retaining the response and sonic drama of the naturally aspirated 6.2 – subjectively there’s no turbo lag at all – with a broader, more linear powerband. The bi-turbo V8 doesn’t have quite the top-end freedom and bite of the 6.2 but it more than makes up for it with oodles of low-down and mid-range wallop that meshes seamlessly with the rapid-shifting MCT to provide instant on-demand thrust and stunning overtaking ability.

As with the S-Class, the CL’s ABC (Merc’s active body control system) now also compensates for crosswinds but its basic task of keeping body movements in check seems much more aggressively implemented than it is on the S. While it helps the CL deftly disguise its two-ton bulk – it turns in more alertly than the S63 and body control is exemplary, especially at speed – secondary ride comfort suffers. Its suspension isn’t quite as busy as a Jaguar XJ’s over broken and lumpy surfaces, but even on its Comfort setting, it lacks the graceful suppleness of the S-Class in Sport mode. You could call it more sporting, but the S63 feels more fluent and poised.

How does it compare?

The hottest CLs have seldom been eclipsed for raw pace or sheer all-round competence, but neither have they won any beauty contests or been able to match the charisma, excitement and sense of involvement conjured up by the best rivals. The recently refreshed Aston DB9 and Bentley Continental GT won’t make life any easier for the CL63 but arguably, it does now have the best engine of the lot.

Anything else I need to know?

With active lane keeping assist, active blind spot assist, night view assist, etc, etc, tech junkies will feel right at home. And, at £111,985, it’s a whopping £44,445 cheaper than the only marginally quicker V12 CL65.

Specifications

Engine5461cc, twin-turbocharged, V8
Max power563bhp @ 5500rpm
Max torque664lb ft @ 2250rpm
0-604.4sec
Top speed186mph
On saleNow, £111,985

Most Popular

MAT Stratos 2021 review – Lancia’s iconic Stratos reborn
MAT Stratos – front tracking
Lancia

MAT Stratos 2021 review – Lancia’s iconic Stratos reborn

It’s been a long time coming, but this Ferrari F430-based reimagining of the Lancia Stratos is finally here
11 Jun 2021
Tesla Model S Plaid deliveries begin – 1006bhp super saloon now reaching customers
Tesla Model S Plaid
Tesla Model S

Tesla Model S Plaid deliveries begin – 1006bhp super saloon now reaching customers

The long-awaited Tesla Model S Plaid has finally come to fruition, with first US examples hitting the road
11 Jun 2021
2021 Audi RS3 Sportback and saloon previewed – will it finally match Mercedes-AMG A45 S?
Audi RS3 manufacturer spy 1
Audi RS3

2021 Audi RS3 Sportback and saloon previewed – will it finally match Mercedes-AMG A45 S?

Audi Sport is putting the final touches on its new RS3 hot hatch and saloon
10 Jun 2021
Posaidon’s 217mph Mercedes-AMG E63 RS is faster than a Porsche 918 Spyder
Posaidon Mercedes-AMG E63
Mercedes E63 AMG

Posaidon’s 217mph Mercedes-AMG E63 RS is faster than a Porsche 918 Spyder

Three new Posaidon power upgrades are now available for Mercedes-AMG’s E63 S, bringing hypercar numbers to the four door supersaloon
9 Jun 2021
2021 Maserati GranTurismo to go EV-only – IC option ditched
2021 Maserati GranTurismo spy – track
Maserati

2021 Maserati GranTurismo to go EV-only – IC option ditched

GranTurismo coupe and its soft-top GranCabrio sibling to be reborn later this year, but controversially without the proposed combustion alternative...…
11 Jun 2021
Used car deals of the week
Used car deals 11 June 21
used cars

Used car deals of the week

Here's what caught evo’s fancy this week on the second hand car market
11 Jun 2021
Ferrari F8 Tributo replacement mule spied – will it emulate the McLaren Artura?
Ferrari F171 spy 2021 – front
Ferrari

Ferrari F8 Tributo replacement mule spied – will it emulate the McLaren Artura?

Ferrari’s going hybrid and V6 for its next mid-engined supercar
9 Jun 2021
Cheap fast cars 2021 – the best budget performance cars on the market
Cheap fast cars 2021
used cars

Cheap fast cars 2021 – the best budget performance cars on the market

If you buy right and do your research, the cheap fast car is a wonderful thing. Here are our top picks between £1000 and £10,000
25 May 2021
HKS in development of a supercharger kit for new 2021 Toyota GR 86
HKS Toyota GR 86
Toyota

HKS in development of a supercharger kit for new 2021 Toyota GR 86

Japanese tuner HKS is in development of a supercharger upgrade package for the new GR 86
9 Jun 2021
2021 Alpina XD3 and XD4 update revealed – extra torque from Alpine’s quad-turbo diesel SUV
Alpina XD3 and XD4 2021 – header
Alpina XD3

2021 Alpina XD3 and XD4 update revealed – extra torque from Alpine’s quad-turbo diesel SUV

The updates to the Alpina XD3 and XD4 are largely of the aesthetic kind, but more torque and new chassis calibrations are also part of the package
10 Jun 2021
Best small cars 2021 – pocket rockets reviewed and rated
Best small cars 2021
Best cars

Best small cars 2021 – pocket rockets reviewed and rated

You don’t need 200bhp or more in a small hatchback to have fun – these ‘warm’ small cars are the proof
7 Jun 2021
2022 BMW X3 and X4 M Competition pricing announced
2022 BMW X3 and X4 M Competitions
BMW

2022 BMW X3 and X4 M Competition pricing announced

Engine upgrades, a chassis recalibration and some striking new visuals for BMW’s hot midsize SUVs
11 Jun 2021
The Lamborghini Essenza SCV12 is an 818bhp track-only hypercar
Lamborghini SCV12
Lamborghini

The Lamborghini Essenza SCV12 is an 818bhp track-only hypercar

Lamborghini Squadra Corse is taking the V12 to the racetrack with the limited-run Essenza SCV12
9 Jun 2021
2021 Rolls-Royce Ghost review
2021 Rolls-Royce Ghost
Rolls-Royce Ghost

2021 Rolls-Royce Ghost review

Latest Ghost gets a new platform, four-wheel steering and fresh looks, and continues to set the luxury saloon bar
5 Jun 2021