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Although mine is a CL65 with modest upgrading, mine also has struck me as exorbitantly fast - and faster than 0-60 and 1/4th mile ETs prove. I've owned some very fast machines (motorcycles, turbo Porsche, supercharged drag boat...) and the CL65 seems "faster" than any of those.

But actual ET times of those who race these are established. These are 11 second cars and if worked up quite a bit and more race oriented tires maybe high 10s.

High 10s, of course, it extremely fast. VERY fast. BUT... also misleadingly slow in a sense.

These cars are HEAVY in relation to their rear tire footprint. They take over 4 seconds to hit 60 in street form. Yet with that number, we know something very seriously is happening once their already rolling.

I've noticed that I don't floor my CL65 from a standing start. Rather, for no particular reason, now and then when I'm going around 30ish II'll punch the throttle to the floor - and it seems to almost violently throw me back into the seat - and when I next look at the speedometer its going 70,80,90... faster than I would say those numbers - but then let up by around 100mph - fearing the ticket of course.

If you think of the horsepower and TORQUE numbers of these CLs, 40 to 120 is EXACTLY where they are fastest. Already going fast enough to hook up to the pavement.

In short, I am getting this sense of radical acceleration in that speed range, which exactly works with the mega torque of these motors.

The other part of this I suspect is the dual personality of these cars. They don't feel hyper fast. They don't sound hyper fast. So the backward G-force comes as a surprise. Plus there is the sense of accelerating a very large mass.

These big Mercs are FAST. Radically fast for their size and luxury. But I also think where they are at their very best is in the 40 to 120 mph range.
 

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I only have a 2001 non turbo cl600, but the feel you describe when punching it at 40 mph is still there and actually very incredible considering the weight of the car. I think it is much harder to feel horsepower than it is torque, and these things are torque machines.
Your 01 CL600 is no slouch with 363 horsepower and 391 TQ. A $100K luxury bullet back then - still fully viable in terms of personal performance. The drag racing times deceptively under-rate it because of your rear tire width in relation to weight. That is true for all these big Mercs. Once they are already rolling and can fully hook up to the road they are very, very quick.
 

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Another interesting fact is that The motors in the new 65 and 600 series haven't gained much of any more horsepower and torque in a decade. The 2014 65 series motor is the identical motor to the 2005 motor, other than an ECU refinement adding around 25 horsepower - which is less than any aftermarket ECU tuning adds to the "old" motor.
The same seems true for the 600 series, though the go up a bit more likely to do computers better able to handle NA compression on pump gas.

Yet this ECU tuning advantages is a bit misleading too. When a motor is computer limited the result is a bit less peak horsepower and TQ, BUT the horsepower and TQ power line is much flatter as the motor could put out more but the computer is limiting it to an allowable maximum.

The shortcoming of these big performance Mercs in relation to new models and some other brands is the relatively narrower rear tires and older, slower and for some models less gears than new ones. The TQ limitations are both due to the tire limitations and moreso the old transmissions that can't take much more if MB wants to avoid warranty claims.

For some model years, non-turbo V12 Merc are 1/10th faster than the turbo V12s, because our turbo V12s have the old 5 speed compared to the much faster 7 speed.

These big Mercs also have very long rear gear ratios. While this improves fuel economy and allowed for mega fast top speed, they also inhibit sub 120mph acceleration.
 

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Years (many) ago I played with Porsche 928s - which had a V8 that was exactly 1/2 of a 944. For their era, the 928 motor was astonishingly ahead of it's time. Yet trying to build one up for serious performance was an exercise in futility. Porsche had designed this to prevent it.

They had the rear fenders literally extend down over the rear tires - blocking wider tires. Seemingly bizarre, they used cast pistons, not forged, and came with 1 wheel rear drive (although Q LSDs became available.) The reason? The only transmission Porsche had simply couldn't take more than 500 hp.

The V8 turbo Lotus Esprite - an absolutely stunning car - was designed with a 500 hp 3.5 V8 - a motor ahead of its time. But was then downgraded to 350 hp because the only transmission Lotus could even contract for couldn't take that much horsepower and TQ.

The transmission limitations are while Mercedes puts their outdated 5 speed automatics and computer limits the horsepower and torque of their V12 biturbos. They had no transmission that could take it.

In some ways, designing and tooling for a new model transmission with more gears and faster shifting that can take mega amounts of TQ is far more of a challenge and expense that getting more horsepower and TQ out of a motor. MB could get 900 horsepower and nearly 1000 TQ out of their turbo V12s with no design change at all. But they have no transmission that can take that in a car that fully loaded with people, fuel and some luggage weighing 3 tons - plus they limit rear tire traction also to avoid the transmission getting hammered. Heavy duty, less number of gears transmissions also are slower.

Most top-power model cars by any manufacturer at TQ limited primarily due to transmission limitations and safety factors. Fatter tires also reduce gas mileage - a number they all have to look at now.
 

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Thank you dfwx for your very informative posts - very interesting!
But - For some model years, non-turbo V12 Merc are 1/10th faster than the turbo V12s, because our turbo V12s have the old 5 speed compared to the much faster 7 speed.
I have never read this anywhere. I cannot imagine any no turbo V12 being faster than the turbo version, the horse power difference is just so great!
The 5 speed stronger AMG boxes were used for the turbo version because the amazing torque destroyed the new 7 speed boxes!!
Remember these so called 'heavy duty' gearboxes were the AMG version designed for speed and performance.
I have trolled the net on several different motoring pages looking up CL600 specs, and they all say virtually the same

2002 V12 (non turbo) last in production line and I would expect - the best of this version ... 362hp, 400lb/ft torque, 0-60 in 5.3.
2003 V12 (first of the turbo version) .... 497hp, 590lb/ft torque (800Nm !!!) 0-60 in 4.7 secs
I just can't remember which. I think it was whatever model had the non-turbo V12 with the newer 7 speed and the same year V12 turbo with the 5 speed.

In one of the Top Gear (Clarkson), an Audi with their new 8 speed would out 0-60 and quarter mile than a 63 series Mercedes with more horsepower and torque, but only Merc's 7 speed.

More gears both equate to a relative lower rear gear ratio, and the manner in which they shift, torque up, and hit the correct horsepower/torque rpms can make a big difference.
 

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Even in the USA finding one is hard. Finding one that is stock and low miles is even harder. I remember when the CL65 first came here in 05 and I saw one at the dealer. I was just drooling over her inside and out. $200,000+ is well out of my budget but you can find them here for only $60,000.

There is usually is at least one W215 on Ebay in the $30ish range. I found mine at an Audio dealer who listed it on Auto Traders. After buying it for $28K I asked the dealer why so cheap - since now they could tell me the reason. He said they had to put it in the back because it was ruining new car sales.

He said this is what was happening over and over when it was on the front lot. A couple would come in to buy a new Audi 4.0 coupe or sedan. The guy would ask about the CL65 on the used car side of the lot. So the salesmen would tell him that it was a $200,000 car and has over 600 horsepower. So the guy would want to drive it. Of course, approaching it you could see it was used. Some road rash pricks on the front. $67K miles on it. A 9 year old used car.

The husband then would drive it -and of course he'd floor it and - holy mother of god it's fast - almost violently pressing you back into the seat -
accelerating like a lunatic. It is Renntech and ECU modified - pumping out nearly 700 horsepower and over 800 TQ. Wow, did HE LOVE this car - and WOW did SHE HATE it!

So he was thinking he could get this $200,000 new used-car/rocket sled - and save $70,000 doing it - and she was thinking they were coming to buy a brand new family car - for which he's trying to talk her into buy an almost 10 year old race car.

The result? They would not buy either car. After losing potential sale after potential sale, the owner said "GET THAT MERCEDES OFF THE LOT!!!"

I could see how that would work against the dealer. Don't put a used 65 series Mercedes on the lot for 1/3rd the price of a new 4.0 Audi if you want to sell new Audis. Its not exactly a fair contest between them.

As for trying to find one "stock," 95% of used ones are. And if not, they are better than stock in subtle but desirable ways.

Rarely are they not "stock" - other than maybe a Renntech or other company software for the ECU. If you don't like that software, any MB dealer could reprogram it back to stock programming.

Personally, I was attracted to the W215 CL65 because it was not stock. Just the Renntech airbox/engine cover alone cost the original owner $6000. I could, of course, swap it out for an OEM one, but why would I do that?

I suppose the only one I wouldn't like personally would be someone who put a loud exhaust on it - but that's an easy fix.

There aren't many modifications even available for those that aren't mega expensive - and I can't think of hardly any of those I would NOT want on my car because until you get to some really radical stuff they actually are improvements and do not degrade any ride, reliability or functionality of the car. Why wouldn't I want an upgraded Intercooler pump or upgraded differential gearing setup?

Most used ones (W215 CL65s) are in the 60 to 80 thousand mile range. S W215s don't go for much more and sometimes less. SL65s are a different story - at least twice as much or more.

W216s bring A LOT more money.
 

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I remember the Top Gear episode but I thought it was a newer CL63 507 or P31 they were "beating" the 65 with. Still, it was a traction issue, not a power issue. If I recall correctly, the 65 would win a 1/4 mile drag race by .1 seconds but the less powerful CL63 would win in the 1/8 mile & 0-60 by about .1 second. If I recall there was also a short burst like 50-70 the 63 was faster too. Still, throw a set of drag radials on the 65 car and it would take a lot of mods to get a 63 to match it at any speed.
Who only goes WOT on a 65 from 50-70? It is just starting to really mash you into the seat about then.

I rented a 2014 C63 when on vacation in April. Loved the instant shifing and blip on downshif of the trans, but otherwise not even close to the car my 9 year old CL65 is. Granted it was the 451 HP version, not a 507, but still, not even close.
If I'm not mistaken, the advantage was accredited to the 7 speed transmission versus the old 5 speed.
 
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