Pros: Immense power from any speed; graceful, elegant design will look good for years; one of the last remaining V12 production cars

Cons: Small rear seats unusual in a car this big; V8-powered CL550 offers similar experience for less money; priced in Bentley territory without the Bentley badge

What's new: The 2013 Mercedes-Benz CL600 is unchanged following slight styling revisions for the 2011 model year.

Overview:

The Mercedes-Benz CL600 is one of two V12-powered CL-Class models. It's positioned above the brand's CL550 as the flagship CL-Class for drivers who don't want a sporty AMG variant. All CL600 models have two doors and four seats, and all use a smooth 5-speed automatic transmission.

Under the CL600's hood is a 5.5-liter twin-turbocharged V12 that makes 543 horsepower and 612 lb-ft of torque. Although those are big numbers, they don't lead to vastly better acceleration than that of the base-level CL550. That model reaches 60 mph in around 4.8 seconds, while it takes the CL600 just 4.4 seconds. Indeed, the CL600's power advantage is mostly felt on the highway, where its V12 makes it feel like a sports car -- even from 65 mph.

The 2013 Mercedes-Benz CL600 starts around $161,000, making it one of the most expensive models in Mercedes' lineup. It's more expensive than the V8-powered CL550 and CL63 AMG models, but less expensive than the flagship CL65 AMG, which starts at well over $210,000 and boasts an enormous 621 hp and 738 lb-ft of torque.

author photo

Doug DeMuro has a wide range of automotive industry experience, from work at a Ferrari dealership to a manager for Porsche North America. A lifelong car enthusiast, Doug's eclectic vehicle purchases include a Porsche 911 Turbo, an E63 AMG wagon, an old Range Rover and a Mercedes Benz G-wagen.

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