At last - Clarkson is in love with a Mercedes - Mercedes-Benz Forum

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post #1 of 9 (permalink) Old 08-12-2007, 05:45 AM Thread Starter
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At last - Clarkson is in love with a Mercedes

Here's a surprise report from Jeremy Clarkson ....

Mercedes-Benz CL 600
Silence, please, for a new king of the road

Jeremy Clarkson Mercedes-Benz CL 600 review | Driving - Times Online

When you go to buy a new car, you will be greeted by a salesman who has a ghastly suit and an unusual haircut. He will begin by indulging in a spot of reflexive-pronoun abuse and then he will offer yourself a list of juicy options that will enhance your motoring pleasure.

It’s delicious agony, running down the possibilities, wondering what sort of satellite navigation you will need, whether the extra expense of 20in wheels is worth it, and exactly what sort of cow you’d like to have killed to make the seats.

Eventually you will have balanced your natural instinct to splash out with the needs of your family to eat, and you’ll present the salesman with the completed form. But frankly, you may as well give him a box of frogs for all the good it does.

“Yes,” he’ll say, “it is possible to make the car you want, in the colour you’ve chosen, with seats covered in the skin of a cow called Brian. But not this year. Or next.

“However, if your good self can’t wait that long, myself happens to have a car in stock, which is similar to the one you’ve ordered . . . except for the size of the engine, the sort of fuel it runs on, the fact that it has no sat nav, has an automatic gearbox and it’s pink.”

Naturally, you will leap at the chance because you are all excited, which means you will spend the next three years driving round in something close to what you wanted. Which is another way of saying “something you didn’t want at all”.

No, really. Buying a blue diesel estate when you wanted a grey petrol saloon is the same as booking a holiday in the Dominican Republic. And then going to Haiti because the flight leaves 10 minutes earlier. It’s like falling in love with a house and then buying the one next door.

I’d love, at this point, to lay into car makers, telling them to buck up their ideas, but sadly there’s no point. Let’s take Mercedes as an example. Currently they can offer you a massive range of cars, each of which is available with a choice of trim levels and engine sizes. I’ve done a quick head count and, amazingly, your local Mercedes dealer is able to offer around 300 different models.

And now it gets tricky because, on average, each of those models is available in a choice of 10 colours. So now it’s 3,000 models, and that’s before you get to the colour of the interior trim.

Mercedes is famously mean-spirited in this respect, and once you’ve chosen a colour for the body you only get about five choices for the colour of the seats and carpets. Even so, that means we’re now up to 15,000 different models, each of which is available as a manual or an automatic. So that’s 30,000 then, and each of those is available with probably 50 different options. The result is that Mercedes-Benz is able to offer you 1.5 million different permutations of one car.

Not that long ago Mercedes announced they were going to extend their range of saloons and estates to “make something for everyone”. I didn’t realise at the time that they were being Germanically literal. They could make 1.5m cars and no two would be the same. Which is why, I’m afraid, it takes an age for you to choose the right model. And even longer to get it trimmed, painted and specced to your precise requirements.

I can’t speed up the Stuttgart production lines, but happily I can at least steer you through the maze that is the brochure. So here goes. What you do is buy a gunmetal-grey Mercedes-Benz CL with a black interior.

The CL is a coupé version of the S-class and must not be confused with the CLK, which is a two-door version of the old C-class, or the CLS, which is a cut-down amalgamation of the E-class and the S-class.

Because it is a two-door coupé version of the S-class, the CL is meant to be quiet and comfortable. It is also fitted with a Rolls-Royce-style column-operated gearshifter, which gives you the relaxing options of backwards, forwards or parked. And because of all this pillowy smoothness and mattress simplicity, it wouldn’t really suit Merc’s magnificent but shouty 6.2 litre V8 engine.

And nor should you go for the entry-level V8, because nothing says a man has failed in life quite so well as a 500 badge on the back of his Mercedes. Apart, perhaps, from a Porsche Boxster. This is Premium Economy spec; it signifies you are clinging to respectability at the golf club by a mere thread.

So, you cannot have a V8, which means it must be a V12. It’d be tempting, I’m sure, to go for the 65, the most powerful engine in the world until Bugatti came along with the Veyron. It has so many torques you can light up the rear tyres so violently, they will actually dig holes in the road. I know this because I’ve done it. The power is stratospheric, atomic, and if I’m honest a bit idiotic.

That leaves you with the normal 600, a 5.5 litre, twin-turbo 12-pot that makes exactly the same amount of noise as the crowd at a five-day cricket match – ie, none at all. Well, actually, not none exactly. If you listen very, very hard you can sometimes hear it snoring. And that means it’s ideally suited to the smooth suspension and the waftmatic gearshifter. Driving it is like lying in a vat of baby oil, dreaming that you can fly.

Until you put your foot down. There’s still no noise, and that’s spooky because suddenly the view out of the window has gone all bonkers and you are overtaking light aircraft. It is properly fast, the CL 600. Even though it weighs 2.1 tons it will get you from 0 to 60mph, silently, in just 4.5sec.

Being overtaken in this is like being overtaken by a ghost. You sense a blur and you feel the air move. But that’s it.

I absolutely adored driving this car. It was a new experience – power without sound – but the thing I loved most of all was the way it looked.

They’ve tried to ape the shape of the old model’s sublime rear window – and failed badly – but the rest . . . oh my God, it’s gorgeous. The balance, the flared wheelarches and the nose. Holy cow. This has the best nose on any car ever made.

It does not, however, have the best ride. Naturally, it has air suspension, not because air suspension works better than coils and springs and dampers but because it allows the computer geeks in Merc’s underground design bunkers to fiddle about with their laptops, making it move the car about as the speed and driving style change.

In theory it’s brilliant. In practice, it doesn’t work. And it really didn’t work in the CL I drove. It felt, sometimes, like I was on a water bed and I simply don’t believe it’s supposed to be that way. I honestly think there was a small fault in the system. And that’s good, because it means I can ring Mercedes-Benz with a perfect excuse to borrow another 600 CL for a week. Or two, just to be sure.

Price? Well, the 600 CL costs £107,097, which is known in banking circles as a very great deal of money. It puts the CL in the same 2+2 marketplace as the Bentley Continental, as well as offerings from Porsche, Aston Martin and Maserati.

As a badge, the three-pointed star sits among this lot like a branch of Marks & Spencer on Bond Street. But the simple fact of the matter is this. As a car, it beats all of them. By a country mile.

Vital statistics

Model Mercedes-Benz CL 600

Engine 5513cc, 12 cylinders

Power 517bhp @ 5000rpm

Torque 612 lb ft @ 3500rpm

Transmission Five-speed automatic

Fuel 19.8mpg

Acceleration 0-62mph: 4.6sec

CO2 340g/km

Top speed 155mph

Price £107,097

Rating 1871mm

Verdict A silver ghost in Merc clothing
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post #2 of 9 (permalink) Old 08-12-2007, 06:18 AM
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Could my fellow redneck, Mr. Freeman learn some of his buttons and move this thread to General Discussions where it needs to be?

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post #3 of 9 (permalink) Old 08-12-2007, 06:25 AM
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I have to say I like Clarkson's look on cars, very critical, but it's just too much sometimes. He looks at it from a very, very rich man's perspective, which about 99.5% of us can't do. To me, a Continental GT would be the ultimate luxury supercar, but to him, it's an ugly VW Phaeton. Although I agree with him, the GT's interior is superb. But in his review he just comments"there's wood, and there's leather....."nothing super spectacular about Mercedes has wood and leather as well.

YouTube - Top Gear - Bentley Continental GT

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Current, 93 300CE coupe, 227,000 miles
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post #4 of 9 (permalink) Old 08-12-2007, 06:46 AM
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if you are going to look at cars from average mans view then even daewoo matiz is blessings for some. One has to review an item to the market segment and purchasing power its garned towards!

Fuel economy!! whats that??
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post #5 of 9 (permalink) Old 08-12-2007, 07:04 AM
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Clarkson wishes he was a footballer so he could buy one.

But it is pretty hard to imagine that guy running on a football pitch. (Without laughing at the thought)

Those are cars for people like Posh, Paris, Brittney and Lindsay to "drive" anyway.

<--- superschnelle 300 hp 10:1 ECE euro HV, Hochverdichtung = high compression (11/2011) ... Wie im Freien Fall. Nur horizontal.

"I swear to god, it's like I live in a trailer of common sense, and stare out the window at a tornado of stupidity." >'='<
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post #6 of 9 (permalink) Old 08-12-2007, 08:49 AM
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I simply cannot think of a bigger poser car than a Bentley Conti or Fly. It is a damn Audi which is a VW which are very high fit and finish cars that rapidly fall apart! My Audi did it, my Mexican Jetta did it, and everyone I know who has had a VW, Audi, or Bentley runs for another make as soon as possible. Please stop the shit. The fucking Audis even place the engine in front of the center front wheels! That is a 101 basic no-no.
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post #7 of 9 (permalink) Old 08-12-2007, 09:09 AM
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Originally Posted by theboss
if you are going to look at cars from average mans view then even daewoo matiz is blessings for some. One has to review an item to the market segment and purchasing power its garned towards!
Don't you worry about Jezza What with his books, his videos and media work, he could buy and sell a football team. But he's English and we consider it quite gauche to talk about our pocket books.
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post #8 of 9 (permalink) Old 08-12-2007, 09:14 AM
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^ Saw ol' boy's pad on the Isle of Man during an episode of Ramsay's "F Word". Damn. Writing pays very, very, very well it would appear.
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post #9 of 9 (permalink) Old 08-12-2007, 09:16 AM
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Some (maybe not you) wuld be very surprised.
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