FREE DOOR TO DOOR NATIONWIDE SHIPPING (ALASKA, HAWAII & INTERNATIONAL + $2000) Mercedes-Benz has delivered the best, most exclusive luxury coupe available with its new CL600. At the top of the luxurious CL-Class, the CL600 features an incredibly smooth and powerful 5.8-liter V12 in the engine bay of an already fantastic car. CL600 represents the peak of the CL-Class, with a turbine-like V12 engine and a $117,200 Original retail price tag. It is smaller, lighter and more efficient, while packing more power and providing a more spacious interior. The undistinguished styling of the previous model is supplanted by fluid, graceful lines and an aggressive stance that suggests an iron fist in a velvet glove. Doors on coupes are usually long, massive and unwieldy. To address this, Mercedes uses lightweight magnesium for the door frames, and mounts the doors on articulating hinges that slide them forward as they open. So ingress and egress is much easier than in comparable cars. Front seats slide up automatically when the seat back is folded forward, providing easier access to the back seat; that adds to the practicality of this coupe. Despite the rakish styling, the CL maintains adequate rear headroom, in part because of the low rear seat bottoms. CL packs all of the features Mercedes buyers expect, such as multiple air bags, stability control, on-board navigation, and Tele-Aid emergency response. But it adds a list of new items. Among them: Distronic adaptive cruise control uses radar to automatically maintain a safe distance from other cars. Xenon lights are used for high beams as well as for the usual low beams. Keyless Go lets drivers open locked doors and start the car when carrying the card key, without getting the card out of their pocket. Crisply lighted electro-luminescent gauges anchor the sweeping instrument panel. At the center of the dash is a wood-trimmed stack that includes the COMAND display, which manages the navigation system, stereo and cellular telephone systems. steering wheel-mounted buttons control some COMAND functions. A small panel in the center of the speedometer displays some of the COMAND information. IMAGINE IN 20 YEARS 2 OWNERS DROVE THIS BLACK BEAUTY ONLY 80,000 MILES About 4,000 miles a year. $15,000 NEW BRABUS WHEELS TIRES, NEW $4500 SERVICE COIL PACKS, PLUGS OIL TUNE UP AND ALL.....You could argue this is the best car in the world. It is, after all, the highest offering from one of the great marques in car building today. And it has everything you could ask for. Quality and craftsmanship? Yup. Performance? Check. Price and exclusivity? Plenty. Comfort and convenience? Oh, boy. How about leading-edge technology and sheer tonnage of gizmos? The CL600 is there. The other key distinction in this car, as the model designation suggests, is its marvelous 6.0L (well, 5.8 actually) V-12. An all-new design, this engine is predictably smooth and torquey but also lighter and more fuel-efficient than M-B's previous V-12. It shuts down the left bank of cylinders under light load and does so in a transparent, fuss-free manner. Pretty impressive. But our '01 test car did the same leap in just 5.3 sec, even though its peak power is downrated to 362. The trick? Curb weight of the new coupe has plummeted to a (comparatively) svelte 4312 lb. Packing nearly 400 lb-ft of torque doesn't hurt either. And thanks to its cylinder-deactivation system, the new Mercedes V-12 drinks less Texas tea than its predecessor. The left bank of cylinders calls it quits when the computer yanks a hydraulically actuated pin that keeps the rocker arms riding on the camshaft. The valves snap closed in the middle of the exhaust stroke and stay so to eliminate pumping losses and keep the cylinders warm until full thrust is needed. On the road, the advertised 20-percent fuel-economy gain is too transparent to ruffle enjoyment of the Full V-12 Experience. The system cuts out the cylinders only below a light-throttle
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