Traditionally, any passenger car with two doors has been considered a coupe and any with four a sedan. There are some other finer points that come into play here, yes, but it’s the neatest way to make the distinction between the two.
But no less a traditional automaker than Mercedes-Benz defied that tradition back in 2006 by introducing what it billed as a “four-door coupe.”
Nearly a decade later, the company credited with the invention of the first true automobile continues to bill its CLS as a “four-door coupe,” even though some reviewers label it a “four-door sedan with coupe-like styling” or call it a “4-door sedan for people who prefer the look and feel of a 2-door coupe.”
Give the Germans an “A” for persistency.
Give them an “A-plus” for producing a vehicle with luxury that matches its performance. Or is it the other way around? It works both ways.
This is particularly true with the CLS63 AMG S-Model 4Matic Coupe.
That’s quite a mouthful, but it takes that much to match what the top of the CLS portfolio has to offer.
As expected with Mercedes models with the “AMG” designation, it starts under the hood. The CLS63 AMG gets a 5.5-liter, bi-turbo V8 that sends a whopping 577 horsepower to the rear wheels via a seven-speed automatic transmission that features paddle shifters for manual gear selection in addition to operating in Comfort, Sport, and Sport-Plus modes.
With 590 pound-feet of torque kicking in between a low 2000 to 4500 rpm, the CLS63 AMG will move from a standstill to 60 mph in a mere 3.6 seconds, a full second-and-a-half faster than the company’s clocking for the CLS 550.
Exhilarating is the word that comes the closest to describing the performance.
For 2015, Mercedes made its 4Matic all-wheel-drive system standard on the CLS63 AMG. It also features the start-stop system that shuts down the engine while you’re waiting at an intersection, but if that is too annoying — and for many it is — you can easily turn it off with the push of a button (though you will have to do that every time you restart the car).
As a fuel-saving device, the start-stop function seems kind of pointless for a vehicle that gets only 16 miles on a gallon of premium fuel in the city and 22 on the highway, but many things today seem to favor appearance over substance.
Inside the CLS is an opulent collection of comfort and convenient features in a luxurious setting. The CLS seats only four, a point in Mercedes’ argument for dubbing it a coupe, with a console separating the two backseat riders.
The driver’s seat gets the added feature of adjustable side bolstering that provides lateral support for higher speed turns. Corner to the left and the right side of the seat inflates to give a gentle nudge to keep you in driving position. Turn right rapidly and … well, you get the idea.
Like other Mercedes models, the CLS comes with an impressive array technological features operated by the company’s COMAND system, including navigation as standard.
Though it does require some extra steps to complete functions, it’s not an overly complicated system. One could consider it simply “busy” when it comes to what should be simple chores.
One thing that was startling to see. You set the parking brake by pushing it with your left foot and release it by tugging on a handle to the left of the steering wheel. This is how it was done on many cars many years ago. Odd that Mercedes hasn’t gone to the electronic parking brake system found on many high-end vehicles these days, especially considering how the company likes to complicate many of its functions.
Not that the electronic parking brake is all that complicated. You set it with a button, and in many cases it automatically releases when the car is put in gear.
But, hey. As noted, Mercedes did invent the gasoline-powered car, so apparently its engineers know what they are doing.
Pricing for the CLS63 AMG starts at $106,550 (plus the $950 destination and delivery charge), which is a hefty jump over the CLS550 4Matic’s $75,500 MSRP. The base CLS400 starts at $65,990. The CLS400 4Matic is $68,400 and the CLS550 $73,200.
For a look at the CLS63 AMG and more specs, check out the accompanying slide show.