CD 05 Mercdes-Benz CL55 AMG 1705_1_ by wulinqing


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                                COMPLETE REPORT

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                          Mercdes-Benz CL55 AMG
                                   Base price: $119,620

              Vehicle type: front-engine, rear-drive; 2-door 4-passenger coupe
                                      COMPLETE REPORT CONTENTS

Content                                                          Section

Detailed vehicle specifications                                       1

Capsule Review                                                        2

Road tests, reviews & related feature articles                        3

J.D. Power and Associates Power Circle Quality Ratings                4

NHTSA crash-test ratings                                              5

Kelley Blue Book detailed vehicle pricing & standard equipment        6
                         COMPLETE REPORT SECTION 1: Specifications

                                     Mercdes-Benz CL55 AMG
                                     Base price: $119,620
                                     Vehicle type: front-engine, rear-drive; 2-door 4-passenger coupe

Base price:                                   $119,620
Vehicle type:                                 front-engine, rear-drive; 2-door 4-passenger coupe
Interior volume, F/R/cargo (cu ft)            53/36/12 -
Cargo volume, seats up/maximum (cu ft)        25/64
Wheelbase                                     113.6 in
Length/width/height                           196.4/73.1/55.4 in
Turning circle                                37.6 ft
Curb weight                                   4255 lb
EPA city/hwy mpg                              14/22
Fuel-tank capacity/range                      23.2 gal/325 mi
Passive restraints                            driver and passenger front, side, and curtain airbags; rear side and curtain
Bed capacity (cu ft)                          27.9-

POWERTRAIN                                    supercharged and intercooled 5.4-liter SOHC 24-valve V-8, 493 hp, 516
                                              lb-ft; 5-sp auto

F                                             ind, unequal-length control arms, coil and hydraulic springs
R                                             ind, multilink, coil and hydraulic springs, anti-roll bar

F/R                                           vented, cross-drilled disc/vented, cross-drilled disc
ABS                                           standard

                                        Future Product Intelligence

2005 Mercdes-Benz CL55 AMG A redesign is expected, but might slip to 2008.
                          COMPLETE REPORT SECTION 2: Capsule Review

                                         Mercdes-Benz CL55 AMG
Mercedes launched its CL65 AMG in Monte Carlo, where attending journalists spent a night aboard the SS Christina,
formerly Ari Onassis's yacht. It's a big boat, but most of us were confident that the 604-hp, 738 lb-ft twin-turbo V-12 in
the big Mercedes coupe would have pushed it along just fine. In fact, without the various electronic watchdogs taking care
of traction, and-we suspect, the longevity of the five-speed automatic transmission-the CL65 would light 'em up every
time you floor the gas. To cope with its gargantuan motor, AMG has tweaked almost everything in the coupe's chassis,
driveline, and brakes, and the result is a car that drives with a precision that belies its substantial mass. Also substantial
is the price: Expect to pay $178,220 before taxes. If all that sounds like too much, there's still the 493-hp, V-
8–propelled CL55.
               COMPLETE REPORT SECTION 3: Reviews, Road Tests and Features

2006 Charting the Changes — Mercedes-Benz

October 2005

There's a whole new class for '06, consisting of the CLS500 and CLS55 AMG, that was introduced earlier this year. Another
negrouping is the R-class, an interesting combination of sedan, SUV, and wagon (with three rows of seats) built on a much
modified M-class platform. The 268-hp, 3.5-liter V-6-powered ML350 and the 302-hp, 5.0-liter V-8 ML500, each with a
standard seven-speed automatic transmission, are all-new for '06. The C-class gets new V-6s: a 201-hp 2.5-liter for the
C230; a 228-hp 3.0-liter for the C280; and a 268-hp 3.5-liter for the C350. The E320 is replaced by the E350 model
(another 3.5-liter V-6 upgrade). The CLK-class gets a new grille and taillights, and the CLK320 is replaced by the CLK350
with the 268-hp, 3.5-liter V-6. The SLK-class adds the SLK280, powered by a 228-hp, 3.0-liter V-6. A new S-class (see
Technical Highlight below), which is already on sale in Europe, comes here in January. (See also Technical Highlight: AMG,

Unchanged: CL-class, SL-class, SLR McLaren, G-class.

Future: MLK-class, a little brother to the M-class, debuting in 2008.

The new S-class will feature a new generation of Pre-Safe, a collision warning and
preparation system that provides an earlier response to impending rear-end crashes. It
has proved useful in reducing accident severity. Using two separate radar transmitters—
one that scans a wide path just ahead of the vehicle, another that projects a narrow
long-range beam—Pre-Safe identifies objects and calculates the rate of approach. When
it sees a dangerous situation, the system warns the driver and primes the braking
system for faster response and maximum braking force when the driver hits the pedal.
Pre-Safe tightens the seatbelts and moves the seats into positions that afford greater
protection—measures carried over from the first Pre-Safe system—but now also closes
the side windows to support the curtain airbags and can inflate special seat cushions to
locate the occupants more securely.

We're used to seeing AMG, Mercedes-Benz's power-crazy performance
division, inject more power into the company's engines. This time,
however, AMG started from scratch to create its own 6.2-liter naturally
aspirated V-8 engine that shares no parts or dimensions with any other
Benz engine. AMG's powerplant makes a healthy 503 horsepower at 6800
rpm and 465 pound-feet of torque at 5200 rpm, while revving to 7200
rpm. It has an all-aluminum construction with four valves per cylinder and
a unique cylinder-coating process that saves weight and manufacturing
time over traditional cast-in steel liners. All four overhead cams are
continuously variable over a range of 42 degrees to optimize output while
keeping emissions in check. Since the 6.2-liter's torque is lower than the
supercharged V-8's 516 pound-feet, it's safe to use with the seven-speed automatic—the only transmission that will be paired
with this engine. The first vehicle powered by this 503-hp beast will be the ML63 AMG. This engine will then be the V-8 of
record in all AMG vehicles (we've been assured it even fits in the small C- and SLK-classes). No official word on a forced-
induction version.

Select another manufacturer
               COMPLETE REPORT SECTION 3: Reviews, Road Tests and Features

2006 Mercedes-Benz CLS500
A 4048-pound supermodel.


May 2005

There's always one guy in a crowd of guys at the bar rail who will, while the group flips through pages of the latest swimsuit
issue of Sports Illustrated, feign utter disinterest in what is obviously a particularly beautiful model while the other guys are
raving about her. "Naw, she's ugly," he'll say to the utter befuddlement of his friends. For whatever reason—maybe the
model has one peculiarly long toe, a misplaced freckle, orange hair, a single tooth veering to the left—even a swimsuit babe
in SI can fail to appeal to some guys. So what gives? What makes that one guy stray from the unanimous decision of the

A similar phenomenon now arises with the introduction of the Mercedes-Benz CLS500. Most observers who witness its sleek
body feel an immediate and strong physical attraction. This is a car you can't help staring at, and maybe you want to run
your fingers along the smooth sheetmetal, feel the glowing red of the taillights. Is it possible to caress a car? Yet there are
those baffling few who peer at the CLS and vocalize disdain, not lust.

So the CLS is beautiful inside and out, but how does it drive? Well, unsurprisingly,
a lot like the E, but a notch sportier. The bigger wheels with meatier tires grab the
ground for 0.87 g of adhesion, a big improvement over the 0.81 g put forth by
the E500 [C/D, November 2002], a car that seems more prone to understeer than
the CLS. But even though it's as grippy as its CLK55 AMG brother, the CLS500 is
still not as tenacious as the 645Ci, which registered 0.94 g on the skidpad ["High-
End Sports Coupes," C/D, May 2004]. The CLS's power-assisted rack-and-pinion
steering feels less cumbersome than the E's, as if it were feathered a step or two,
delivering a deliciously light effort at low speeds but still a relatively firm,
responsive feel as the digits climb. The ride is similar to the E's, which is to say it
can be elevated from plush to taut at the push of a console-mounted button. The
adjustable Airmatic DC dampers offer three shock settings—comfort, sport 1, and                   THE VERDICT
sport 2—enabling the driver to tailor road feel to his or her mood. Whereas in the       2006 Mercedes-Benz CLS500
E the system sometimes feels as if the stiffest setting should be deleted and an even softer base setting should be added, in
the sportier CLS the trio of choices seems perfectly appropriate.

Much of the CLS's sporty nature comes from sensations inside the cockpit. Aim
your eyes straight ahead, and there's no remnant of the severely sloped hood to
impede your view of the road, not to mention an annoying three-pronged
ornament as on an E-class. Peripherally, though, it's a different story, in which
the sharply raked A-pillars and low-slung roofline eliminate some useful sightlines.
That said, the capsule-like feeling they impart does seem to convey a sense of
speed. Outside or inside, the CLS feels clean and sleek, like a high-end sports
coupe, er, sedan, should.

                                          At 4048 pounds, our CLS500 was             Highs: Stunning shape, stirring
                                          burdened with 79 extra pounds              performance, stylish cabin.
                                          compared with the E500 we tested in
                                          '02. Yet armed with Mercedes' new-for-     Lows: The decklid badge is like a
                                          2004 seven-speed automatic, it proved      blemish on an otherwise perfect skin,
                                          to be substantially quicker, ripping from electrohydraulic brakes still a few
                                          0 to 60 in 5.5 seconds, 0.3 second         tweaks shy of perfection.
                                          sooner than the five-speed E. (But a
                                          current E-class with the seven-speed       The Verdict: A styling tour de force
                                          would most likely match the CLS's          inside and out.
                                          numbers.) The CLS500's quarter-mile
time comes in at 14 seconds flat at 100 mph, putting it ahead of the E500 (14.3 at 99) and just behind the 325-hp 645Ci
(13.9 at 102). The Benz stopped from 70 mph in 162 feet. An E500 requires 181 feet, and a 645Ci, 169. Although powerful
and fade-free, the brake-by-wire binders are not easy to modulate smoothly, often causing lurches even when we were
consciously judicious with our pedal input. Mercedes has improved the logic of the electrohydraulic brakes since their
inception in the current-generation SL-class, but the system is still not ideal.

When it comes to the CLS500, it's hard to imagine a car that is faster and better-looking, although AMG's tuned-up CLS55
arguably accomplishes that feat. Nonetheless, the CLS500 is an eminently quick and sporty four-door. And it looks so fine, it
begs the question: Do you really want to travel so quickly that passersby don't even have a chance to feel envy?


With the CLS came my first interaction with Mercedes' Keyless Go, one of many systems that enable the owner to lock,
unlock, start, and stop the car without ever removing the key from his or her pocket. Mercedes' approach, however,
incorporates major annoyance with this minor convenience. Open the door, and incessant beeping ensues while a message is
displayed: "Don't forget the key." How could I forget it if it's in my pocket? The same beeping and warning message happens
when exiting the car, even though it's impossible to lock the fob inside. My suggestion: "Warningless Go," not the $1080
Keyless Go.

I'm really torn about this CLS500. On one hand, I'm bowled over by its beautiful
lines and grand interior. On the other hand, I'm not much for the chopped-and-
channeled look that greatly restricts the view adults have from the back seat. The
huge gap between the front doors and the C-pillar also bothers me. Despite the low
roofline, however, the driver's view is excellent and the car drives as well as the
E500 on which it is based—it even seems to ride better. Still, I find something
contrived about taking an E500 and dressing it up in haute couture. But if you love the look and have the extra eight grand,
you'll be happy with the CLS.

The CLS feels like the spiritual descendant of the coach-built cars from the first half of the 20th century. Back then you'd buy
a powertrain and frame, carefully select your coachbuilder, work with the designers, and months later your creation would
roll forth into your life. A high price ensured exclusivity, and your taste dictated the styling. Here we have the 21st century
mass-produced version of this process. The CLS sports a couture design that shares much of its internals with the handsome,
conventional E-class—an ideal starting place. The details of the CLS are unique, often flamboyant, and make the owner feel
special. It's this feeling that truly connects this modern car to its commissioned forebears.
Vehicle type: front-engine, rear-wheel-drive, 4-passenger, 4-door sedan

Price as tested: $74,500

Price and option breakdown: base Mercedes-Benz CLS500 (includes $1300 gas-guzzler tax and
$720 freight), $66,920; heated and ventilated front seats, $1270; Lighting package (includes
headlamp washers, bixenon headlights, and cornering lights), $1220; Keyless Go, $1080;
Entertainment package (includes Harman/Kardon stereo with in-dash 6-CD changer), $980; Trim
package (wood-and-leather-covered steering wheel and shift knob), $890; massaging driver's seat,
$590; massaging front-passenger's seat, $590; power trunklid, $510; power rear-window shade,

Major standard accessories: power windows, seats, locks, and sunroof; remote locking; A/C;
cruise control; tilting and telescoping steering wheel; rear defroster

Sound system: Harman/Kardon AM-FM radio/CD changer, 10 speakers

Type: V-8, aluminum block and heads
Bore x stroke: 3.82 x 3.30 in, 97.0 x 84.0mm
Displacement: 303 cu in, 4966cc
Compression ratio: 10.0:1
Fuel-delivery system: port injection
Valve gear: chain-driven single overhead cams, 3 valves per cylinder, hydraulic lifters
Power (SAE net): 302 bhp @ 5600 rpm
Torque (SAE net): 339 lb-ft @ 2700 rpm
Redline: 6400 rpm

Transmission: 7-speed automatic with manumatic shifting
Final-drive ratio: 2.65:1
Gear - Ratio - Mph/1000 rpm - Max test speed
I - 4.38 - 6.1 - 39 mph (6400 rpm)
II - 2.86 - 9.3 - 60 mph (6400 rpm)
III - 1.92 - 13.9 - 89 mph (6400 rpm)
IV - 1.37 - 19.4 - 124 mph (6400 rpm)
V - 1.00 - 26.6 - 130 mph (4900 rpm)
VI - 0.82 - 32.4 - 130 mph (4000 rpm)
VII - 0.73 - 36.4 - 130 mph (3550 rpm)

Wheelbase: 112.4 in
Track, front/rear: 62.7/63.1 in
Length/width/height: 193.3/73.7/55.2 in
Ground clearance: 5.7 in
Drag area, Cd (0.31) x frontal area (23.9 sq ft): 7.4 sq ft
Curb weight: 4048 lb
Weight distribution, F/R: 51.0/49.0%
Curb weight per horsepower: 13.4 lb
Fuel capacity: 21.1 gal

Type: unit construction with 2 rubber-isolated subframes
Body material: welded steel stampings
SAE volume, front seat: 50 cu ft
rear seat: 42 cu ft
luggage: 16 cu ft
Front-seat adjustments: fore-and-aft, seatback angle, front height, rear height, lumbar support, lower side bolsters
Restraint systems, front: manual 3-point belts; driver and passenger front, side, and curtain airbags
rear: manual 3-point belts, side and curtain airbags

Front: ind; 1 control arm, 1 lateral link, and 1 diagonal link per side; self-leveling air springs; 3-position cockpit-adjustable,
electronically controlled shock absorbers; anti-roll bar
Rear: ind; 1 control arm, 1 lateral link, 2 diagonal links, and 1 toe-control link per side; self-leveling air springs; 3-position
cockpit-adjustable, electronically controlled shock absorbers; anti-roll bar

Type: rack-and-pinion with variable hydraulic power assist
Steering ratio: 14.7:1
Turns lock-to-lock: 2.8
Turning circle curb-to-curb: 36.8 ft

Type: electrohydraulic with anti-lock control
Front: 13.0 x 1.3-in vented disc
Rear: 11.8 x 0.9-in vented disc

Wheel size: F: 8.5 x 18 in, R: 9.5 x 18 in
Wheel type: cast aluminum
Tires: Continental SportContact 2; F: 245/40ZR-18 93Y,
R: 275/35R-18 95Y
Test inflation pressures, F/R: 32/36 psi
Spare: high-pressure compact

Zero to 30 mph: 1.9
 40 mph: 2.8
 50 mph: 4.0
 60 mph: 5.5
 70 mph: 7.1
 80 mph: 9.1
 90 mph: 11.3
 100 mph: 14.0
 110 mph: 17.3
 120 mph: 21.3
 130 mph: 26.4
Street start, 5-60 mph: 5.7
Top-gear acceleration, 30-50 mph: 3.1
 50-70 mph: 3.8
Standing 1/4-mile: 14.0 sec @ 100 mph
Top speed (governor limited): 130 mph

70-0 mph @ impending lockup: 162 ft

Roadholding, 300-ft-dia skidpad: 0.87 g
Understeer: minimal moderate excessive

EPA city driving: 16 mpg
EPA highway driving: 22 mpg
C/D-observed: 23 mpg

Idle: 42 dBA
Full-throttle acceleration: 72 dBA
70-mph cruising: 69 dBA
               COMPLETE REPORT SECTION 3: Reviews, Road Tests and Features

Mercedes-Benz CLS500, CLS55 AMG, AND SLK55 AMG
The Germans try thinking like Italians.


December 2004

Strength, durability, rationality. After more than a century of building cars guided by such forthright German principles,
Mercedes-Benz has lately become enamored with another, slightly more Italian idea: loveliness.

Not to imply that Gottlieb D.'s boys haven't built a few lookers through the years—the 1955 300SL Gullwing, for example. But
when the head office has asked for four doors, the designers have usually answered with flat sides, large trunks, spacious
back seats, and workman-like cockpits. German convention holds that cars should be practical and a Mercedes even more so.
With the CLS, Mercedes tells German convention to shove it.

Chasing sunbeams around the hills north of Rome—where else but Italy would
Mercedes choose to introduce its most Latin car?—the CLS500 proved it should be
driven in rotation with an E500 to discern any real differences between the two.
Agility, stability, straight-line gallop, and a certain remoteness to the controls are
hallmarks of every big Benz, and the CLS500 is no different. It is immensely
competent but apparently no feistier than the E-class or, for that matter, the 645Ci.

The job of being feisty falls to the CLS55 AMG. Medicated with 469 horsepower and
516 pound-feet of torque from a supercharged 5.4-liter V-8, the CLS55 should
rumble its way to 60 mph in about 4.5 seconds, predicts Mercedes. Again, nothing
much is new here besides the shapely body. The engine and its five-speed automatic carry over from other AMG projectiles,
including the E55 and SL55. The eight-piston calipers and drilled brake rotors—14.2 inches of hugeness in front, 13.0 in
back—come from the SL55.

Hunkier plastic in the nose, along the sills, and on the tail, with its small spoiler and underbody tray, joins with 19-inch five-
spoke wheels to salt in the visual wow. Alcantara pseudo-suede in four available color combinations accents the seats, and
brushed aluminum the dashboard. An AMG steering wheel, doorsills, and instrument cluster complete the trim-out.
Mercedes plans to keep the CLS55's price premium over the base car about the same as the E55's, or $24,300. That should
put the CLS55 at about $90,000 when it makes it to the U.S. in March. Only 1500 units per year will sail for America.

While it had our attention (and it definitely did), Mercedes showed us the SLK55 AMG, which went on sale in October for
about $55,000 (Mercedes is keeping pricing secret for all its new models). Revamped this year with an all-new body and a
remarkably improved chassis, the SLK roadster gets a nonsupercharged version of the 5.4-liter V-8 billed at 355 horsepower
and 376 pound-feet of torque. The power goes aft through a seven-speed automatic to a reinforced differential fitted with an
oil cooler.

Bimetallic brake rotors, similar to the SL65's, feature a steel disc bolted to an aluminum hub to fight fade, curtail warping,
and reduce weight.

And there will be plenty of speed to scrub off, thanks to furious acceleration (60 mph in a claimed 4.7 seconds) and a
suspension that says, "Let's fool around!" Some quick racetrack laps had the SLK55 doing all the right moves: precision path
control, throttle-assisted steering, and fierce grip. A German Ferrari? Team Stuttgart is definitely getting closer.

Germans thinking like Italians. This could be big.

Vehicle type: front-engine, rear-wheel-drive, 4-passenger, 4-door sedan
Estimated base price: $65,000-$90,000
Engines: SOHC 24-valve 5.0-liter V-8, 302 hp, 339 lb-ft; supercharged and intercooled SOHC 24-valve 5.4-liter V-8, 469 hp,
516 lb-ft

Transmissions: 5- or 7-speed automatic with
manumatic shifting
Wheelbase: 112.4 in
Length/width/height: 193.4-193.5/73.7/54.7 in
Curb weight: 4000-4300 lb
Manufacturer's performance ratings:
Zero to 60 mph: 4.5-5.9 sec
Top speed (governor limited): 155 mph
Projected fuel economy (mfr's est):
European combined: 17-21 mpg

Vehicle type: front-engine, rear-wheel-drive, 2-passenger, 2-door roadster
Estimated base price: $55,000
Engine type: SOHC 24-valve V-8, aluminum block and heads, port fuel injection
Displacement: 332 cu in, 5439cc
Power (SAE net): 355 bhp @ 5750 rpm
Torque (SAE net): 376 lb-ft @ 4000 rpm

Transmission: 7-speed automatic with manumatic shifting
Wheelbase: 95.7 in
Length/width/height: 160.9/70.6/50.0 in
Curb weight: 3400 lb
Manufacturer's performance ratings:
Zero to 60 mph: 4.7 sec
Top speed (governor limited): 155 mph
Projected fuel economy (mfr's est):
European combined: 20 mpg
               COMPLETE REPORT SECTION 3: Reviews, Road Tests and Features

2005 Charting the Changes—Mercedes-Benz

October 2004

Mercedes-Benz is flooding the zone with new models and engines. Heading the list is the SLR McLaren supercar, with its
carbon-fiber monocoque chassis, ceramic disc brakes, 617-hp engine, and equally stunning price of $452,500. On the other
end of the scale is the latest generation of Mercedes' entry-level C-class sedan, coupe, and wagon family, which includes the
C55 AMG and its hand-built 362-hp V-8. Also brand-new is the SLK350, a retractable hardtop roadster that comes with a
268-hp, 3.5-liter V-6 and a choice of six-speed manual or seven-speed automatic transmissions. The SL65 AMG and the
CL65 AMG are both powered by a 6.0-liter twin-turbo V-12 that puts out an eye-popping 604 horses and 738 pound-feet of
torque [see Technical Highlight below], and the SLK55 AMG has a 362-hp V-8. The boxy G-class SUV also gets an AMG
model, the G55, which is powered by a supercharged 5.5-liter V-8 rated at 469 horsepower and 516 pound-feet of torque.
The CLS500 four-door sedan debuts with a 302-hp, 5.0-liter V-8 and seven-speed automatic. And the E-class adds the
E320 CDI, which is powered by a diesel engine that delivers 27 mpg city and 37 highway.

Unchanged: CLK-class, M-class.

Dead: C32 AMG, C230K, SLK230 Kompressor, SLK320, CL55 AMG, SL55 AMG, SLK32 AMG.

Future: The C230K will be replaced by a new B-class, which is based on the company's diminutive European A-class platform.
Also expect a redesigned, bigger S-class sedan. Next year, the Alabama plant cranks up for the second-generation M-class,
the next G-class, and an all-new R-class range of SUVs coming from the same platform. AMG is also preparing its version of
the CLS500—the CLS65—which will share its 604-hp V-12 with the CL65 and SL65 and carry a six-figure price.

TECHNICAL HIGHLIGHT: Mercedes let loose its performance department, AMG, on the 5.5-liter twin-turbo V-12, and the
result is an utterly fantastic powerplant. With a bump in bore from 82.0 to 82.6mm and a stroke increase from 87.0 to
93.0mm, AMG increased displacement to 6.0 liters. It also significantly raised boost pressure from 14.5 psi to 21.8. Although
the SOHC twin-spark-plug, three-valve-per-cylinder arrangement remains, horsepower jumps from an already ludicrous 493
to an astounding 604. The torque numbers are even crazier—738 pound-feet, up from 590. A Ferrari Enzo has 650
horsepower and a piddling 485 pound-feet. In fact, the uprated V-12 is capable of developing an additional 150 pound-feet of
torque, but the five-speed automatic wouldn't be able to handle it.
Select another manufacturer
              COMPLETE REPORT SECTION 3: Reviews, Road Tests and Features

Euro Fancy Coupes
We wring out four 12-cylinder grand tourers on the Continent and figure out what matters most: style and
image, or the numbers.


August 2004

No need to explain why we put these cars together. Here are four high-end, highly desirable front-engined coupes, each with
a 12-cylinder engine of 5.5-plus liters of displacement, a power output between 444 and 551 horsepower, and four seats.

These are the new grand tourers as the term was understood before it was debased by being commonly attached to regular
sedans. But the original purpose of a GT car—the crossing of continents at high speeds and in great comfort—is an
anachronism today. In the 1930s, Bentleys raced the Blue Train from Paris to Nice on France's Côte d'Azur. Today's Bentleys
are more likely to be delivering the owner to his or her executive jet. Speed limits and traffic density make long-distance road
travel at 150 mph somewhat impractical and, in most places, illegal.

The highway was no place to verify the exalted performance claims for these cars,
so we rented the Vairano proving ground near Milan, owned by the Italian magazine
Quattroruote, where it was possible to measure acceleration up to and including 150
mph, as well as conduct all our other test procedures.

The Vairano straight, at 1.2 miles, was not long enough for maximum flat-out runs,
but having confirmed all four manufacturers' claims for acceleration, we feel
confident in quoting their top-speed figures, which, let's face it, are largely
academic anyway. We can't imagine many Bentley owners, or even those who buy
this kind of Ferrari, venturing close to 200 mph, but they just might want to go
faster than the Mercedes' self-imposed 155-mph limit.

In two evenings at the Castello di Luzzano near Pavia, partaking of local pasta and malvasia, the delicious white wine of the
house, we argued long and hard over these GTs, which are so similar in specification yet so different in character.
Do usable and comfortable rear seats matter? Is an automated manual transmission, as used by the Ferrari, appropriate for a
car like this, or are the torque-converter automatics of the others a better proposition? With so much power available, is
weight important, and if so, should we give extra kudos to the Aston and Ferrari for being aluminum? Then again, maybe
none of this matters as much as do style and image, in which case, we all agreed, the Aston would win hands down.

As you will see, it didn't work out that way. When it came to the numbers crunch, the most expensive contender won, and
the most practical car was a close second. Here's why:
—Ray Hutton

                                                                                                   Fourth Place
                                                                                                   Bentley Continental GT

The highly anticipated Continental GT is the first Bentley conceived under the
                                                                                                Bentley Continental GT
auspices of the Volkswagen Group. Built on the same platform as the VW über-
sedan, the Phaeton, the Bentley is in many ways its own car, but at the same
time, many of the faults and characteristics of the Phaeton are not watered down
enough to be concealed.

The main drawback of the Phaeton's steel platform is weight. At 5358 pounds,
the Bentley is more than 800 pounds heavier than the next-heaviest CL600. It
could be argued that a lot of a Bentley's ponderous feel is due to its massive
weight, and within this comparatively lithe group, the Continental struggles like a
linebacker among receivers. Not a moment goes by when one isn't reminded of
its bulk.

Handling is deliberate. In tight corners, the 275/40ZR-19 Pirelli P Zeros object as    Highs: Stylish inside and out, skilled-
loudly as overpaid lawyers until the proceedings slow to a crawl. Part of the          craftsman build quality, roomy trunk.
problem is that the engine is mounted almost entirely fore of the front-axle line,
so the car carries 58 percent of its weight up front. That, combined with the          Lows: Ponderous and overweight,
massively dense and cube-like W-12 configuration, which leads to a high center         cramped rear headroom, pillbox visibility
of gravity, results in a vehicle with the characteristics of a front-drive car even    fore-and-aft.
though it has all-wheel drive. There is no chance of getting the rear wheels loose
under power, but the Continental will understeer predictably all day long.             The Verdict: A whale of a car, just not a
Steering is similarly dull and lifeless, which led our drivers to agree that this is   whale of fun.
not a sporting car. It follows orders, but there is little joy along the way.

                                          With 551 horsepower onboard, you'd expect your back to leave a permanent imprint
                                          in the redolent leather seats. But the Bentley has the worst power-to-weight ratio of
                                          the group and therefore suffers in acceleration tests. Winding out the twin-turbo W-
                                          12 isn't particularly satisfying, either. There are no bad sounds, just the mellow
                                          thrum of siamesed VR6s at moderate speeds, replaced by a wheezy rush near
                                          redline that mimics the sound of an incoming ocean wave just as it crashes over
                                          your head. At triple-digit speeds, the engine settles into a muted rumble, and only a
                                          wisp of wind noise around the A-pillars gives any indication of how much air is being

                                           As one would expect of a Bentley, the interior looks like a doctoral thesis from the
school of tanning arts. This is what it must feel like to sit inside a Coach wallet—you feel like money. The fit and finish
approaches perfection, every seam aligned, every hide flawless. If you've ever driven a Phaeton, some parts of this Bentley
may look familiar. The infotainment center is lifted from the VW, albeit with bespoke switchgear, and the gauges are
Phaeton-spec except for the chosen font. Back-seat room is disappointing. The seats are comfortable, and there is decent
legroom if the front-seat passenger is accommodating, but there is not enough headroom to be considered comfortable.

Get used to seeing the fine Bentley interior because it's not easy to see out. The view through the windshield is blocked by
the high dash and wide A-pillars. The C-pillars restrict the view out back and keep you guessing as to what's behind. This is
the product of the high-beltline, low-roof exterior styling. The swept-back shape is elegant and aggressive, but in this
company, the Bentley comes off as a whale among sharks, and whales don't win comparison tests.—Tony Quiroga
Third Place
Aston Martin DB9

The Aston won the beauty segment of this contest. Even the Italians seemed to
                                                                                                    Aston Martin DB9
think so, judging by the smiles and envious stares from the local populace, who
naturally were partisans for the Scaglietti.

The DB9 is the first of a new deal from Aston—its bonded aluminum "VH"
platform will eventually be used for the entire three-model range. The 5.9-liter
V-12 engine is shared with the more expensive Vanquish. The transmission is the
now-ubiquitous ZF six-speed automatic (the Bentley has one), but the Aston is
unique in positioning it at the differential. The result is a nearly even front-to-
rear weight distribution.

This is the lightest and smallest car of the crowd, so it is not surprising that
space inside, and in the trunk, is smallest. The DB9 has nicely shaped rear seats,     Highs: Highly sexy, aluminum
but no adult would want to go there. To be fair to Aston, chief executive Ulrich       construction, balanced handling, good
Bez claims the DB9 is a sports car, not a GT, and its base price is nearly             auto/manual compromise.
$100,000 lower than that of the larger and more accommodating Ferrari 612.
                                                                                       Lows: Claustrophobic cabin, laughable
Some found it difficult to achieve a comfortable driving position, and others          rear seats, electronic gremlins.
complained of poor visibility because of that long, steeply raked windshield and
high dashboard. But this author, who drove the Aston 900 miles from England to         The Verdict: An intimate relationship
Italy, reckoned it was the nicest of the four cars to be in.                           with an Aston Martin dealer could be an
All our drivers praised its excellent handling. "Terrific body control," wrote Robinson. And it was good to see that Aston has
the confidence to offer just one damper setting for all reasons—no variable damping or sport mode for its suspension. The
ride is firm but never jarringly so. Our only question in this regard is the high steering effort required at low speeds.

                                         Two drivers noted that it "didn't seem like 444 horsepower," but that is probably
                                         because the engine lacks the amazing low-down torque of the Bentley and Mercedes
                                         and has to be worked harder to go as quickly. That at least provided an excuse to rev
                                         it beyond 4000 rpm, where the engine note changes from moderato to a glorious

                                     Touchtronic, Aston Martin's control strategy for the ZF automatic, provides no central
                                     selector lever, simply PRND buttons on the dashboard on either side of the glass
                                     starter button. The paddles behind the steering wheel can be used at any time, and
                                     when they are, the Aston stays in manual mode until you press the D button again.
Slick manual downshifts are accompanied by a satisfying electronically produced throttle blip, but kickdowns in automatic
mode are surprisingly abrupt.

Although well-presented, the Aston gave a nagging feeling of being not quite finished. The steering column shuddered over
bumps, and there was an unseemly "grunching" noise at the limits of steering lock. Then the dashboard warning lights and
messages started to illuminate and extinguish at random, and occasionally, the instruments would stop working. Having
established that this was a failure of the display rather than the vehicle systems, we learned to ignore it, but as Webster said,
"It's hard to enjoy a car that tells you its brakes have failed."

And to cap it off, on the last day of our test, the Aston wouldn't start. It had apparently suffered an electrical failure
overnight. On later examination, Aston told us the battery-disablement switch was operating inadvertently.

It says something for the beguiling beauty and driving qualities of this car that it still scored so high in the gotta-have-it
category. In fact, two of our test drivers declared that, despite its problems, the DB9 would be their personal choice. —RH
Second Place
Mercedes-Benz CL600

Here's where you start fuming that the Benz's stat sheet alone should have put it
                                                                                                   Mercedes-Benz CL600
in first place—easily. It's just about as quick as the Ferrari, has a roomier interior
and tons more features, and is half the price.

The Benz surprised and impressed all of us. Although we initially complained
about the unavailability of the CL65 and its 738 pound-feet of torque, the
second-stringer in the CL lineup is no feeble little brother. The CL600's 590
pound-feet of torque is a stunning 111 more than the Bentley's, and the Benz's
493 horsepower is just 58 behind the Bentley's.

Moreover, despite the twin turbos forcing air into the 12 cylinders, we defy
anyone to say it feels like a turbocharged car. It emits almost no turbo sound,
and throttle response is simply superb. The five-speed automatic transmission
may not have the bragging rights of a sixth gear, but five is all it needs. The          Highs: Locomotive thrust, most serene
Ferrari has a 16-percent-better power-to-weight ratio, yet the Benz equaled the          and practical in this group, great active
Scag's 4.3-second 0-to-60-mph sprint. The CL's 2.4-second lunge from 30 to 50            suspension, adult-size back seat, gobs of
mph is 0.1 second slower than the Ferrari's, and its 50-to-70 time is a half-            goodies for the dough.
second better. Punch the gas in this mutha and you're gone.
                                                                                         Lows: Almost disappears in the
Then there's the semiactive hydraulic suspension. It's a system of sensors and           automotive landscape, emotionally
computer-controlled hydraulic rams and shocks at all four corners. It can                unavailable compared with the red-
instantly adjust from cushy soft for soaking up bumps to sports-car stiff to             blooded Italian, inconsistent brake feel.
reduce body lean in corners. It's not perfect—some abrupt freeway impacts send
jitters through the body—but in general, it works fantastically. The CL digs into        The Verdict: A wonderfully effective road
corners with a surprising amount of bite and enthusiasm. One tester wrote,               car for those who never say, "Hey, look
"Wow, very impressive in the turns, feels almost as agile and frisky as the              at me!"
Ferrari." The Benz also has a wonderful talent for inhaling large dips and wallops
and exhaling mere nudges to the occupants.

Although the steering is a tad numb, it has good on-center feel. All these cars are secure and comfy on the highway, but
somehow the Benz is a tick better. Get it on the freeway, and it practically locks itself into its lane.

We also thought the Mercedes had the best back seat, and the Benz alone had such features as cooled front seats, radar-
controlled cruise control, a sunroof, and power trunk and door closers. In the value game, even some six-figure cars are
better than others.

                                           The brakes still need work, however. Although they were effective—the 165-foot
                                           stop from 70 mph was second best—their feel and modulation were unnatural and
                                           inconsistent. We found during hard driving that the pedal travel and stiffness
                                           seemed to vary from one press to the next. They cost the Mercedes three points to
                                           the Ferrari, which won by only four.

                                           In purely objective terms, the Benz was the winner. But when it came time to hand
                                           out points for the subjective gotta-have-it and fun-to-drive categories—worth 50
                                           points combined—the Benz garnered 34 and the Ferrari a best-in-test 45.

                                          Of course, the Ferrari costs about double and its straight-line performance was not
demonstrably better. The Mercedes, however, simply didn't have the emotional tug that's an integral part of the other cars
here, and this has to be considered with any car that costs more than 100 grand. The why is hard to pinpoint, but certainly,
the CL600 is styled too closely to "mainstream" Benz sedans. It's handsome enough, but it almost disappears when it's next
to the three others, especially that gorgeous Aston. We couldn't ignore the Benz's talents, though, so second place it is. Let
the letters fly. —Larry Webster
First Place
Ferrari 612 Scaglietti F1

The Scaglietti's eye-watering $260,000 base price is a cool 100 grand above its
                                                                                               Ferrari 612 Scaglietti F1
rivals'. Drive our quartet hard, and no justification for the extra bucks seems
necessary, the Ferrari oozing character and dynamic ability to elevate the entire
experience beyond its rivals'.

Maranello's biggest model is longer than an E-class Mercedes and wider than an
S-class, and weighs 4123 pounds. By any measure this is a big coupe. Yet the
four-seater 612 Scaglietti drives like a lightweight roadster, delivers blistering
near-as-dammit 200-mph performance, and always feels light on its feet,
dancing from one apex to the next. Noted one tester, "If you told me the 612
was half as small and half the weight of the Bentley, I'd believe you."

No mystery. In the interests of agility and traction, Ferrari moved the now 533-
hp, 5.7-liter V-12, little modified from the 575M Maranello, behind the front axle    Highs: Virtuoso drive stirs the soul,
to give the aluminum-bodied 612 the rearward weight bias of a mid-engined car         agility cloaks size, surprisingly spacious
and dictate the clumsy long-hood, cab-rearward proportions.                           cabin.

                                                                                     Lows: Disappointing styling inside and
The nimbleness and immediacy center around steering that doesn't artificially        out, are-they-serious price, monstrous
load up. Feedback is real, and the steering is accurate, sensitive, and quick, so    thirst.
the 612 takes on an aura of agility that excuses a touch of kickback. Set the
adaptive dampers to sport, and the Ferrari is blindingly quick and brilliantly       The Verdict: If money is not an issue,
composed, capable of carrying more speed into and out of corners than the            this is your four-seater GT.
competition, the handling poise and neutrality straining the concept of
understeer or oversteer. Wet roads need caution. Even 55 percent of mass over the rear wheels can't prevent the tail
stepping sideways in tight corners, before the stability control abruptly shuts down power. Deactivate the stability control,
and the drive is exhilarating.

                                          Ferrari's V-12 continues to be an astonishing engine, equally at ease at 2000 rpm in
                                          top gear as it is plundering the 7600-rpm fuel cutoff. Power builds consistently to
                                          the accompaniment of a growing, single-pitch mechanical bellow that is both
                                          exhaust and top-end engine noise—all those whirring cams and gears. Low gearing
                                          helps the performance. Even so, short-shift through the gears, and the Ferrari is at
                                          125 mph by the time you're in sixth.

                                         Ferrari has improved the shift quality of the F1 gearbox to the point it is now much
                                         better than just acceptable, if the driver accepts that seamless upward changes
                                         require feathering the throttle in sync with any finger-tip paddle movement. No
                                         matter how fast you go, stopping is never a problem. Forget fade. The brakes will
haul the 612 down from triple-digit speeds all day.

Thanks to a deep windshield, wide cabin, and low dash, the interior feels spacious and airy. The immediate perception is of a
simple cockpit with little more than the bare essentials. Leather aside, it's far from opulent. The front seats do a great job of
holding and supporting their occupants, and the driving position is terrific. Heavily dished rear buckets are tight around the
hips, and only with splayed knees is there space enough for two tall adults. Some test drivers found the dashboard messy, a
confusion of too many colors and materials, and criticized the Pontiac-like vents.

Probably the most dimensionally accommodating Ferrari ever, the only thing standing between the 612 and legendary status
is the unconvincing styling. Happily, behind the wheel, any aesthetic reservations fade as the Scag shrugs off the
competition. —Peter Robinson
                         Aston Martin                Bentley              Ferrari                  Mercedes
                         DB9                         Continental          612                      CL600


base price               $161,350                    $156,285             $260,000*                $130,070

price as tested          $165,125                    $158,969             $270,000*                $135,660

Dimensions, inches:

 length                  184.9                       189.1                193.0                    196.4

 width                   73.8                        75.5                 77.0                     73.1

 height                  51.9                        54.7                 52.9                     55.4

 wheelbase               107.9                       108.1                116.1                    113.6

 track, front/rear       61.7/61.5                   63.9/63.3            66.5/64.6                62.1/62.1

weight, pounds           4013                        5358                 4123                     4542

weight distribution, %   50.6/49.4                   58.0/42.0            44.9/55.1                52.4/47.6

fuel tank, gallons       22.5                        23.8                 28.5                     23.2

recommended octane       91                          91                   91                       91

Interior volume,

 front                   50                          54                   53                       53

 rear                    18                          36                   36                       36

 trunk                   6                           13                   9                        12


front suspension         control arms, coil springs, multilink, air       control arms, coil       multilink, coil and
                         anti-roll bar               springs, anti-roll   springs, anti-roll bar   hydraulic springs
rear suspension         control arms, coil springs, multilink, air       control arms, coil         multilink, coil and
                        anti-roll bar               springs, anti-roll   springs, anti-roll bar     hydraulic springs

front brakes            vented disc                 vented disc          vented disc                vented disc

rear brakes             vented disc                 vented disc          vented disc                vented disc

anti-lock control       yes                         yes                  yes                        yes

stability control       yes                         yes                  yes                        yes

tires                   Bridgestone Potenza     Pirelli P Zero           Pirelli P Zero Rosso; F:   Michelin Pilot Sport; F:
                        RE050A; F: 235/40ZR-19 Rosso, 275/40ZR-          245/45ZR-18 100Y, R:       245/45ZR-18 96Y, R:
                        92Y, R: 275/35ZR-19 96Y 19 105Y                  285/40ZR-19 103Y           265/40ZR-18 97Y

braking, 70-0, feet     170                         176                  157                        165

test average            167

roadholding, 300-foot   0.96                        0.87                 0.99                       0.92
skidpad, g

test average            0.94

lane change, mph        60.3                        57.4                 64.2                       59.0

test average            60.2



type                    DOHC 48-valve V-12          twin-turbo DOHC      DOHC 48-valve V-12         twin-turbo SOHC 36-
                                                    48-valve W-12                                   valve V-12

displacement, cu in     362 (5935)                  366 (5998)           351 (5748)                 336 (5513)

power, bhp @ rpm        444 @ 6000                  551 @ 6100           533 @ 7250                 493 @ 5000

torque, lb-ft @ rpm     420 @ 5000                  479 @ 1600           434 @ 5250                 590 @ 1800

redline, rpm            6800                        6500                 7500                       5800

lb per bhp              9.0                         9.7                  7.7                        9.2


transmission            6-sp auto                   6-sp auto            6-sp automated man         5-sp auto

driven wheels           rear                        all                  rear                       rear

gear ratios:1           4.17, 2.34, 1.52, 1.14,     4.17, 2.34, 1.52,    3.15, 2.18, 1.57, 1.19,    3.59, 2.19, 1.41, 1.00,
                        0.87, 0.69                  1.14, 0.87, 0.69     0.94, 0.76                 0.83

axle ratio:1            3.15                        3.52                 4.18                       2.65

mph/1000 rpm            5.8, 10.4, 16.0, 21.3,      5.4, 9.7, 14.9,      6.1, 8.9, 12.4, 16.4,      8.1, 13.2, 20.5, 29.0,
                        28.1, 35.2                  19.9, 26.1, 32.9     20.7, 25.6                 34.9

C/D test results

acceleration, seconds

 0-60 mph               4.5                         4.9                  4.3                        4.5

 test average           4.5

 0-100 mph              10.3                        12.1                 9.4                        9.8

 test average           10.4

 0-150 mph              25.6                        31.3                 20.8                       23.7

 test average           25.4
 1/4-mile @ mph          12.9 @ 112   13.4 @ 106   12.5 @ 119          12.6 @ 115

 test average            12.9 @ 113

 rolling 5-60 mph        5.1          5.5          4.9                 4.5

 test average            5.0

 top gear

  30-50 mph              2.9          3.0          2.3                 2.4

  test average           2.7

  50-70 mph              3.0          3.3          3.1                 22.6

  test average           3.0

top speed, mph           186 (est)    198 (est)    192 (redline ltd)   155 (gov)

test average             183

sound level, dBA

 idle                    52           47           53                  43

test average             49

 full-throttle           86           75           81                  68

test average             78

70-mph cruise            74           67           71                  65

test average             69

fuel economy, mpg

 EPA city                12*          11           11                  13

test average             12

 EPA highway             19*          18           17                  19

test average             18

 C/D 300-mile trip       11           9            10                  11

test average             10

*C/D estimated.



driver comfort (10)      8            8            9                   9

front-seat space* (10)   6            10           9                   9

ergonomics (10)          7            8            8                   8

rear-seat comfort (5)    1            3            4                   5

rear-seat space* (5)     1            4            5                   5

trunk space* (5)         3            5            4                   5

features/amenities*      6            9            7                   10

fit and finish (10)      7            10           8                   10

styling (10)             10           8            6                   6

value (10)               8            8            5                   9

total (85)               57           73           65                  76

engine output* (10)         7                           9                    8                           9

performance* (10)           8                           6                    10                          10

throttle response (10)      9                           8                    10                          10

engine NVH (10)             8                           7                    9                           9

transmission (10)           9                           9                    8                           9

total (50)                  41                          39                   45                          47


performance* (10)           8                           6                    10                          8

steering feel (10)          8                           7                    10                          8

brake feel (10)             9                           8                    10                          7

handling (10)               9                           6                    10                          9

ride (10)                   8                           8                    8                           10

total (50)                  42                          35                   48                          42

gotta-have-it factor        20                          17                   21                          16

fun to drive (25)           20                          15                   24                          18

grand total (235)           180                         179                  203                         199

finishing order             3                           4                    1                           2

*These objective scores are calculated from the vehicles' dimensions, capacities, and/or test results.
              COMPLETE REPORT SECTION 3: Reviews, Road Tests and Features

Mercedes-Benz CL65 AMG
Here we were thinking the supercharged V-8 was strong.


November 2003

The Mercedes-Benz relationship with its performance partner, AMG, is a classic Jekyll-and-Hyde, good-cop/bad-cop situation.
Whereas Mercedes-Benz has to demonstrate a fair bit of corporate responsibility, AMG is pretty much free to explore over-
the-top concepts.

Punch the pedal to pass, and a second later the target car is backing past the right-
side windows as if it had just popped a parachute. Even with the engine and
transmission controls striving to smooth all of this out, an abrupt driver can
produce rapidly alternating fore-and-aft accelerations, and care has to be taken to
avoid them.

But after a few deep digs at the throttle, resulting in multiple downshifts and
eyeball-depressing launches toward the horizon, a driver learns to simply squeeze
the throttle for a pass. With more than 700 pound-feet of torque twirling the rear
wheels anywhere between 2000 and 4000 engine revs, downshifts are not
necessary. It’s just a matter of toeing the pedal and wafting away on a smooth
wave of energy.

The sound emanating from the four AMG tailpipes is entirely in concert with this
avalanche of power, growing from a melodic burble to a hard snarl as the revs rise.
Yet the overall refinement of the car meets the best patrician expectations, and the
CL65 rides and shifts smoothly, with interior noise levels that almost belie its
colossal performance potential.

The ride is helped enormously by Mercedes-Benz’s active-body-control system, which has been comprehensively recalibrated
for its new role in the AMG car. Without having to restrain roll and pitch motions by conventional means, the engineers could
strike a better ride-and-handling compromise while tuning the AMG-specific springs and struts. For a 4800-pound coupe, the
CL65 has moves in the mountains that will surprise Porsche drivers. As will its braking. The front rotors are 15.4-inch units
with eight-piston calipers.

Expected to cost $180,000 when it arrives in the U.S. next summer, the CL65 has every creature comfort and available
option that Mercedes has on offer. What the CL65 will lack is availability. Only 400 will make it to this country during the two
years it will be sold here, so don’t say we didn’t warn you.


Vehicle type: front-engine, rear-wheel-drive, 4-passenger, 2-door coupe
Estimated base price: $180,000
Engine type: twin-turbocharged and intercooled SOHC 36-valve V-12, aluminum block and heads, port fuel injection

Displacement: 365 cu in, 5980cc
Power (SAE net): 604 bhp @ 4800 rpm
Torque (SAE net): 738 lb-ft @ 2000 rpm
Transmission: 5-speed automatic with manumatic shifting
Wheelbase: 113.6 in
Length/width/height: 196.6/73.1/55.0 in
Curb weight: 4800 lb

C/D-estimated performance:

Zero to 60 mph: 4.3 sec
Zero to 100 mph: 9.9 sec
Standing 1/4-mile: 12.7 sec @ 116 mph
Top speed (governor limited): 155 mph

Estimated fuel economy:

European combined cycle: 16 mpg
              COMPLETE REPORT SECTION 3: Reviews, Road Tests and Features

5 Nubile Notables


July 2003

Koenigsegg CC

                                          It’s an unlikely notion: a Swedish supercar. Christian von Koenigsegg of Stockholm
                                          might have found it easier to build the world’s fastest road car in Britain or Italy.
                                          But two-and-a-half years after the debut of the car at the Paris auto show,
                                          Koenigsegg has produced eight cars and has orders for 16, at e425,000 (or about
                                          $470,000) apiece.

                                          Koenigsegg’s facility was damaged by a fire this year, and as if to emphasize
                                          Sweden’s background in speed and technology, he quickly set up shop in a building
                                          at a local airport designed to house a squadron of Saab Grippen fighter jets.

                                         The CC’s 4.7-liter engine is based on a Ford Racing cylinder block made by Teksid
in Italy and supercharged to produce 646 horsepower. The structure is a lightweight (137 pounds) hull, part carbon-
fiber/Kevlar honeycomb, part tubular space frame. It is a big, wide two-seater with novel tip-forward doors and more
creature comforts and luggage space than most others in this group. The removable roof stows neatly under the hood.

Von Koenigsegg has his heart set on beating the McLaren F1’s speed record of 240 mph. We tested the prototype (November
2001), but the venue was unsuitable for top-speed measurement. More recently a high-speed test at the Nardo track in Italy
had to be abandoned because of bad weather, but only after the car had reached 226 mph.

The latest version of the CC V-8 has a lighter engine, insulation for the front subframe that carries the racing-type A-arm
suspension, wheels 20 inches in diameter, and the option of twin fins extending from the headrest cowlings. The Cima six-
speed gearbox (also used by Pagani) is now offered with automated manual operation.

Koenigsegg is working on U.S. certification for the car, which already has airbags and has performed well in European Union
crash tests.

Spyker C8 Spyder, C8 Laviolette, and C8 Double 12R/S

                                          This is a different kind of supercar. Small, light, and exquisitely made, the Spyker
                                          C8 Spyder has been likened to an expensive mechanical watch—there are other,
                                          much cheaper products that can do its job, but they don’t have the same sense of
                                          precision, nor do they give the owner the same pleasure. The Spyker factory in
                                          Holland will make only 32 cars this year.

                                          Prices start at $250,000 for this exclusivity. Victor Muller, the Dutch entrepreneur
                                          who revived his country’s most accomplished historical marque, is sure the U.S. will
                                          become the Spyker’s biggest market. The C8 Spyder is being prepared for U.S.
                                          certification, and Muller expects to be able to deliver the first cars here in

To recap, we first encountered the Spyker C8 at the British International Motor Show in 2000. Its chassis is a space frame
made from welded aluminum sheets and extrusions. The body panels are also aluminum, hand-formed and riveted. Power
comes from a 400-hp, 4.2-liter Audi V-8 mounted amidships with a six-speed transaxle. It is intended as a “pure” driving
experience and does so without electronic driver aids, but it has mighty AP Racing brakes and inboard F1-style Koni
adjustable shock absorbers. Weighing just 2200 pounds, the claimed top speed is 186 mph, and 0 to 60 is said to take just
4.5 seconds.

From the outset, the C8 was intended to be suitable for road and track use. A special long-tail version, the C8 Double 12R,
was built with an eye to Le Mans, and this has a 4.0-liter engine based on the BMW V-8. Because of the restrictors required
by racing rules, the roadgoing C8 Double 12S is actually more powerful, with up to 620 horsepower; performance claims are
a 214-mph top speed and a 0-to-60 time of 3.8 seconds. As Spyker’s Le Mans campaign continues, the first production C8
Double 12 road car is nearing completion.

For 2004, Spyker intends to offer the C8 with a twin-turbo version of the Audi V-8, developed with Cosworth Technology, for
road (TS) and racing (TR).

A coupe version, with a glass canopy and periscope engine air intake, will start production this summer. Its name, Laviolette,
is a tribute to the engineer responsible for the 1903 Spyker, which the company claims was the first car to have a six-
cylinder engine and four-wheel drive.

Pagani Zonda S 7.3 and Zonda Roadster

                                            The Pagani Zonda has a suitably exotic name for an Italian supercar. When it first
                                            appeared in 1999, cynics expected it would be just one more auto-show wonder.
                                            Now we know that Pagani has legs. Thirty-five cars have been built. With a
                                            roadster joining the original coupe, Pagani’s shop in Modena is getting close to its
                                            target of 20 cars a year. Enthusiast magazines in Europe have raved about the
                                            Zonda’s effortless performance and precise and friendly handling.

                                         Horacio Pagani is Argentine and was encouraged in his endeavors by Juan Manuel
                                         Fangio, who eased the route to Mercedes-Benz and its V-12 engines. Over time
                                         those have gone from standard SL600 motors to 7.0-liter and 7.3-liter custom-
                                         made engines from AMG. No supercharging is employed to reach 547 horsepower,
which is why the Pagani’s engine is outgunned by AMG’s own CL65.

It is not clear whether Pagani has verified claims of a 220-mph top speed (previously it quoted 211 mph) and a 0-to-60 time
of 3.7 seconds.

The coupe weighs 2850 pounds and has a carbon-fiber monocoque and race-style aluminum suspension assemblies.

The Zonda S 7.3, with its rocket-cluster exhausts and narrow, confined cabin, is distinctive and purposeful rather than pretty.
In our view the roadster looks worse, and its two-piece detachable roof is rudimentary. Opening up the Pagani adds a hefty
$74,000 premium to the coupe’s $457,000. There are no official sales to the U.S. so far. Pagani says it is working on federal
certification, but “it’s tricky.”

Mercedes-Benz CL65 AMG

                                            What is a bulky four-seat coupe doing in this company? We asked ourselves that,
                                            and then we looked at the numbers. The Mercedes CL65 AMG sneaked into this
                                            year’s Geneva show looking innocent enough. Mercedes’ in-house tuners produce
                                            increasingly powerful versions of nearly all its models, and there was already a
                                            493-hp supercharged V-8 CL55 and a twin-turbo V-12 CL600 with similar output.
                                            The surprise about the CL65 is how much more powerful it is: 604 horsepower,
                                            which just happens to match exactly the output of the Carrera GT from Mercedes’
                                            neighbor in Stuttgart.

                                          The Mercedes V-12 starts out at Maybach specifications, but its displacement is
                                          increased to 6.0 liters, and bigger turbochargers are fitted to produce more boost
(22 psi). The 604 horsepower is only part of the story; the specification sheet rounds the maximum torque figure up to 1000
newton-meters (738 pound-feet). Actually, as AMG boss Ulrich Bruhnke explained, this engine can produce 885 pound-feet,
but even the strengthened automatic transmission from the Maybach can’t cope with that, so the electronics reduce boost to
limit the torque.

Of course, the CL is a luxury tourer rather than an athlete, so this car isn’t eligible for the 200-mph club. In fact, like other
Mercedes-Benzes, it is restricted to 155 mph, although AMG doesn’t need much persuading to remove the limiter, after
which, we are assured, it manages 185 mph without difficulty. Zero to 60? Less than four seconds. Price? At $190,000, it
almost seems a bargain in this group. So can you buy one? Officially, there’s been no decision on exporting the CL65 to the
U.S., and there might be a problem, as it needs 94 octane fuel to realize its full potential. But, as Bruhnke says, “If the
market wants it, they will ask.”

What we want to ask is how Mercedes squares this überengine with the less powerful supercharged V-8 of the considerably
more expensive Mercedes SLR.
                      COMPLETE REPORT SECTION 4: Vehicle Quality Ratings

Power Circles were designed as an easy-to-use system for rating products and services.Please note: Power Circle ratings are
based on surveys sent to more than 50,000 new-vehicle owners nationwide. These ratings do not include all information
used to determine J.D. Power and Associates awards.

No data available for this vehicle.

About J.D. Power and Associates
Since 1968, J.D. Power and Associates has been conducting quality and customer satisfaction research based on survey
responses from millions of consumers worldwide. We do not rely on "expert opinion." Our product and service rankings in no
way reflect the opinions or preferences of the firm, and we do not review, judge or test products and services ourselves.

We represent the voice of the customer by translating survey responses into information that companies worldwide use to
improve quality and customer satisfaction, as well as to help consumers make better decisions. J.D. Power and Associates
has developed and maintains one of the largest, most comprehensive historical customer satisfaction databases in
existence, which includes feedback on virtually all aspects of the shopping, buying, and product and service ownership
                          COMPLETE REPORT SECTION 5: Crash Test Ratings

Each year, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration’s New Car Assessment Program (NCAP)crash tests cars,
light trucks, sport-utility vehicles, and vans that are new, popular, redesigned, or have improved safety equipment. These
vehicles are then rated on how well they protect drivers and passengers during frontal and side collisions. NCAP uses a five-
star system for rating vehicles, with five stars indicating the highest safety rating and one star the lowest. Although it is
impossible to assess how well a vehicle provides protection in all circumstances using a single test, NCAP ratings provide a
useful basis for comparing vehicle safety.

For more information, visit

                                          FRONTAL STAR                  SIDE STAR
                                            RATING*                     RATING**                ROLLOVER RESISTANCE
          MAKE & MODEL
                                       Driver        Passenger    Front Seat Rear Seat
                                     Not Tested      Not Tested    Not Tested Not Tested                 Not Rated

*   Legend for NHTSA Frontal Star Rating                          ** Legend for NHTSA Side Star Rating
5   stars - 10% or less chance of serious injury                  5 stars - 5% or less chance of serious injury
4   stars - 11% to 20% chance of serious injury                   4 stars - 6% to 10% chance of serious injury
3   stars - 21% to 35% chance of serious injury                   3 stars - 11% to 20% chance of serious injury
2   stars - 36% to 45% chance of serious injury                   2 stars - 21% to 25% chance of serious injury
1   star - 46% or greater chance of serious injury                1 star - 26% or greater chance of serious injury

Note: Frontal tests should be compared only within the same weight class or within a range of 250 pounds of the vehicle

About the NHTSA:
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration is responsible for reducing deaths, injuries and economic losses resulting
from motor vehicle crashes. This is accomplished by setting and enforcing safety performance standards for motor vehicles
and motor vehicle equipment, and through grants to state and local governments to enable them to conduct effective local
highway safety programs. NHTSA investigates safety defects in motor vehicles, sets and enforces fuel economy standards,
helps states and local communities reduce the threat of drunk drivers, promotes the use of safety belts, child safety seats
and air bags, investigates odometer fraud, establishes and enforces vehicle anti-theft regulations and provides consumer
information on motor vehicle safety topics. NHTSA also conducts research on driver behavior and traffic safety, to develop
the most efficient and effective means of bringing about safety improvements.
                                    COMPLETE REPORT SECTION 6: Kelley Blue Book

Mercdes-Benz CL55 AMG                                                                                                   BASE
Coupe 2D                                                                                                              INVOICE
Price With Destination Charge and Required Equipment                                                                 112,320.00

                                        PRICING DETAILS AND REQUIRED MINIMUM EQUIPMENT

Base Pricing                                                                                                         111,600.00
Destination Charge                                                                                                      720.00
Required Minimum Equipment                                                                                               0.00
Price with Destination Charge and Required Minimum Equipment                                                         112,320.00

Note: Base price does not include optional equipment, advertising or other dealer costs. See links above to view and select optiona

For more detailed pricing please visit

                                                           OPTIONAL EQUIPMENT
-- \CL55 AMG                                                                                                             STD
- (N/A CL500, CL600 or CL65 AMG)
-- \CL55 AMG                                                                                                             STD
- (N/A CL500, CL600 or CL65 AMG)
-- V8, Supercharged, 5.5 Liter \CL55 AMG                                                                                 STD
- (N/A CL500, CL600 or CL65 AMG)
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-- (2) P245/45ZR18 Front & (2) P265/40ZR18 Rear \CL55 AMG                                                           STD
- (N/A CL65 AMG) (Available & Included Only w/Sport
-- (2) P245/45ZR18 Front & (2) P265/40ZR18 Rear \CL55 AMG                                                           STD
- (N/A CL65 AMG) (Available & Included Only w/Sport
-- (2) P245/45ZR18 Front & (2) P265/40ZR18 Rear \CL55 AMG                                                           STD
- (N/A CL65 AMG) (Available & Included Only w/Sport Pkg-321 on CL500 & CL600) Includes Conventioinal Spare

                                                         STANDARD EQUIPMENT

Air Conditioning, Dual-Zone Automatic
Alarm System
Antenna, Integrated Glass
Armrest, Rear w/Storage
Axle Ratio, 2.65
Brakes, Power F&R Disc
Braking System, Anti-Lock
Clock, Digital (Stand Alone)
Communication System, TeleAid w/1-yr of Service
Consoles, F&R w/Covered Storage
Cup Holders, F&R
Defroster, Rear Window
Driver's Information Center
Driver's Information System
Driver's Information System, Multi
Drivetrain, Rear Wheel Drive
Drivetrain, RWD
Engine Immobilizer
Engine: V8, 24V, SFI, 5.0 Liter
Engine: V8, 5.0 Liter
Entry System, Illuminated Keyless Remote Control
Floor Mats
Floor Mats, F&R
Floor Mats, HD Rubber F&R
Fog Lights, F&R
Fuel Filler Door Release, Power
Fuel Tank, 23.2 Gal Cap
Garage Door Opener
Headlamp Control, Auto
Headlamp Control, Automatic
Headlamps, HID w/Heated Wiper/Washers
Interior Trim, Wood
Leveling System, Automatic
Lights: Approach, Cargo Comp't, Daytime Running, Footwell, Glove Box & Reading
Locking System, Central w/Automatic Door Locks
Memory System, Driver's: O/S Mirrors & Steering Wheel
Memory: O/S Mirrors, Front Seats & Steering Wheel
Mirrors: Dual Heated Power w/Power Fold, Turn Signals & RH Tilt-Down, O/S LH & Inside Automatic Day/Night & Dual Illuminated
Mirrors: Dual Heated Power w/Power Folding, Turn Signals & RH Tilt-Down, Inside & LH O/S Automatic Day/Night & Dual Illuminat
Moon Roof, Power Glass
Navigation System, DVD
Navigation System, DVD-Based
Radio System, Bose Premium AM/FM Stereo w/CD & 6-Disc CD Changer in Trunk
Radio, Bose AM/FM Stereo w/CD & 6-Disc CD Changer in Trunk
Restraint System: Dual Front, F&R Head Curtain & F&R Side Impact Air Bag
Restraint System: Dual Front, F&R Side Impact & F&R Head Impact Air Bag
Seat Adjusters, Dual 14-Way Power
Seat Adjusters, Dual Power
Seat Trim, Leather
Seats, Heated Front Bucket
Seats, Heated Front Bucket w/Memory
Seats, Individual Rear
Slip Control, Automatic
Speed Control
Stability Control, Electronic
Stability Program, Electronic
Stabilizer Bars, F&R
Steering Wheel Touch Controls
Steering Wheel, Leather & Wood w/Touch Controls
Steering Wheel, Leather-Wrapped & Wood
Steering Wheel, Power Tilt & Telescoping
Steering Wheel, Power Tilt & Telescoping
Steering, Variable Assist Power
Sun Shade, Power Rear Window
Suspension, High Performance Active
Telephone Pre-Wiring, Cellular
Tire Pressure Monitor
Tire, Conventional Spare
Tires, (4) P225/55HR17
Towing Cap (Towing Not Recommended)
Traction Control
Trans, 7-Spd Automatic w/Overdrive & Touch Shift
Trans: Automatic, 7-Spd w/Overdrive & Touch Shift
Trip Computer
Trip Computer, Mini
Trunk Entrapment Release
Trunk Release, Power
W/S Wipers, Heated Rain-Sensing Intermittent
Wheels, 5-Twin-Spoke Cast Aluminum Alloy
Windows, Power
AMG Body Enhancements: Sculpted Front Air Dam, Side Skirts & Rear Apron
Braking System, AMG High Performance
Engine: V8, 24V, SFI, Supercharged, 5.5 Liter
Engine: V8, Supercharged, 5.5 Liter
Seat Trim, Perforated Nappa Leather
Seats, Active Front Ventilated Dynamic w/Multi-Contour Power Seatbacks & Massage Feature
Steering Wheel, Leather-Wrapped
Steering Wheel, Leather-Wrapped w/Touch Controls
Tires, (2) P245/45ZR18 Front & (2) P265/40ZR18 Rear
Wheels, AMG Double-Spoke Monoblock Alloy
Wheels, Double-Spoke AMG Monoblock Alloy

Special fees, credits and incentives
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-- V8, Supercharged, 5.5 Liter \CL500, CL55 AMG
- (N/A CL600 or CL65 AMG)
-- \CL500, CL55 AMG
- (N/A CL600 or CL65 AMG)
-- Special Order Charge \CL500, CL55 AMG
- (N/A CL600 or CL65 AMG)
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