We’re well into our search for the dream grand touring luxury car for Lady Holiday’s Ultimate Road Trip across America. Grand tourers (GT’s) are distinguished by their ability to make long-distance, high-speed journeys with superior comfort and style—think Bentley GT Continental, Ferrari GTO, or Porsche 911 Turbo. Its typical two-plus-two seating and larger, heavier body reflects a GT’s equal emphasis on luxury comfort and race-car performance.
Lady Holiday’s Ultimate Road Trip dream GT is a definitive test of its classification—superior speed and power for him and premium luxury and safety for her. Of course, it must have enough space for a growing puppy who’ll weigh in at 150-pounds full-size and a sizable boot for our luggage. America’s favorite family pastime and a true metaphor for life itself, the Ultimate Road Trip values the journey as much as the destinations and will feature Mr. & Mrs. reviews on the ride as well as a comprehensive list of America’s premiere destination hotels, spas, restaurants and shops.
We’ve narrowed our dream GT down to the 2013 Mercedes-Benz CL63 AMG.
The two-door CL coupe (formerly called 560SEC or S500 coupe) is now in its fourth generation and in most reviews it’s described more like a fantasy than a dream. Boasting a hand-built and signed twin-turbo 5.5-liter V-8 engine with 536-hp at 5,500 rpm and a powerful 590-lb-ft of torque from 2,000 to 4,500 rpm, the CL63 AMG is a powerhouse. Likened to a boat in size, experience and price ($153,000 MSRP), the CL63 AMG is the epitome of a world-class GT; massive race car horsepower and torque packed into a hefty two-door sedan with Merc’s latest technology and luxury features coming standard.
The sheer power of the rocket and its seductive performance-driven design, yet aggressive AMG stance has the Mr. smitten. With a seven-speed AMG Speedshift MCT transmission that features an F1-based multi-clutch technology for immediate and adept response to every driving situation, one’s sense of security on the road is fully addressed thanks to MB. The Asian Lady Driver in me loves the Distronic Plus radar-based cruise control with Pre Safe Brake that monitors actual driving behavior, scans the road for slowing or halted traffic and will not only alert the driver, but automatically brakes to prevent rear-and-front-end collisions. I’m not so bad that I feel the need for the sensor-based Parktronic, which sizes up parallel-parking spots as you drive by, provides steering directions and can detect nearby objects, but it’s a standard feature of the CL63 AMG that I’m sure I’ll come to love. Other luxury standards include heated and active ventilated front seats, IWC “Ingenieur” clock, and natural sunlight mimicking Bi-Xenon headlamps with swiveling Active Curve Illumination to increase visibility by up to 90% over conventional headlamps during turns.
But, what really had us speechless on the showroom floor was its sexy, pillarless coupe design, which coupled with the sunroof gives a wide open driving experience much like a convertible.
When you’re making a dream car purchase I suppose an extra $7,300 for the highest upgrade isn’t much. Such is the case for Mr., who requires the P30 AMG Performance Package, which rewrites the monster’s engine software to 563-hp and 664-lb-ft of torque, and bumping the top speed to 186 mph. With this package you’ll hit 0-60 mph in 3.9 seconds instead of 4.4 seconds, which is $7,300 well spent in 5 seconds, thank you very much.
With or without the P30 AMG Performance Package the engine/computer is so advanced it’s not worth messing with—disable it and from a mere 40-mph the beast’s torque will throw the tail out. Any car that continuously monitors driving inputs and the vehicle’s motions, can detect wheel-spin, plowing and fish-tailing, and has a standard Torque Vectoring Brake technology that applies the brake either inside or outside of the front or rear wheels to gently pivot the showboat is understood as a car that drives you, not the other way around.When it comes to the Ultimate Road Trip, the CL63 AMG is one of the best cruisers around. Aside from the P30 AMG Performance Package most all other fab features come standard with this model—including the 600 watt, 15-speaker harmon/kardon digital sound system that’s custom engineered just for the CL-Class.
Seduced by the black on black version, the allure and predicament with every exclusive offering is its limited nature. As of publish date, we haven’t been able to find a CL63 AMG black on black with the P30 AMG Performance Package. And so the eye wanders and our search for the Ultimate Road Trip grand touring car continues.