It’s aged well, but as the Mercedes CL matures there’s no denying that it’s beginning to look a bit tricky to justify against its premium rivals. What’s most difficult to ignore is the fact in AMG guise it’s priced at a point where a Bentley Continental GT is easily affordable, the Crewe machine infinitely more desirable as an ownership proposition. What it cannot do though is deliver four adults in comfort, something the CL can do with aplomb. Quite why you’d want to is a different matter, especially as you could do so in its saloon S-Class relation in even greater comfort - and for less money.
It is hard not to be seduced by the performance on offer by the AMG pairing. The CL63 over delivers, its biturbo 5.5-litre V8 offering incredible performance - so much so that the CL 65 AMG looks like a hugely and ultimately unnecessary indulgence at over £50,000 more than its lesser cylindered relation.
Ultimately it’s the interior design that lets the CL’s side down a bit. There are just too many shared parts with lesser Mercedes-Benz models to make it feel special enough - the cars it rivals have been created largely without dipping into parts bins. A credible and impressive grand tourer, but its appeal wanes as cheaper rivals offer similar performance and comfort, while more expensive (or similarly priced if you count the CL 65 AMG) high end rivals from the likes of Bentley and Maserati unquestionably hold more cachet. This car is a relatively unique proposition in the big coupe marketplace though, which makes most sense in CL 500 specification.