On virtually any objective measure you’d care to mention this second generation Mercedes-Benz CLS 63 AMG is a superior car to its predecessor.
The name remains the same but the engine that powers it is radically different. I’ll confess a pang of regret that the old 6.2-litre V8 has been shuffled off to the retirement home as it was one of the world’s great engines. In its place comes a far more efficient 5.5-litre turbocharged V8 that cranks out a hefty 525bhp and 700Nm of torque. Choose the optional AMG Performance package and this is massaged out to 557bhp and 800Nm. Even in standard output it’s enough to give the CLS 63 AMG acceleration as if it’s been hit from behind by a wrecking ball, the sprint to 60mph detaining it for a mere 4.1s.
Also endowing the CLS 63 AMG with superhero powers is the the AMG Speedshift MCT 7-speed gearbox. Exclusive to AMG, this features an efficiency mode where Stop/Start is activated in traffic, but get your game face on and you’ll want either “S” (Sport), “S+” (Sport plus) and “M” (Manual) modes. In “S” and “M” modes, the engine management system partially suppresses the cylinders: interrupting ignition and injection under full load leads to fire even faster gearshifts through.
The suspension is equally complex with the AMG Ride Control setup featuring steel suspension struts on the front axle and air suspension struts on the rear axle, as well as automatic level control and an electronically controlled damping system.
While I realise that beauty is in the eye of the beholder, we can usually form broad majority views on how good looking a car is. Everybody I showed the latest CLS 63 AMG to was of the opinion that it was less distinctive than its predecessor but at the same time more expensive-looking.
It is undoubtedly a better car than before. What has gone in the process is a little of the old car’s personality. Many will consider that a fair exchange for superior speed, sophistication and economy but these attributes are now commonplace. I await the next moment that Mercedes slips its conservative bonds.