Road Test

Road Test: 2011 Mercedes-Benz CL 500 4Matic

December 13, 2010

MB CL 500 2010_01If you think that Mercedes-Benz’s big coupe, the CL looks good in pictures, you should see it in real life. Because it’s just beautiful. It looks elegant and stylish, but has also sportier ingredients in its exterior. The facelifted CL has a newly designed front bumber with three air intake openings and a chrome trip strip. Daytime running lights with LED technology are integrated in the side openings for the brake cooling air. Headlights have a more curvy look and the radiator grille is designed to represent a V-shape, making the front of the car to look more dynamic. In the rear the design has remained pretty much the same as before. Only the rear lights have a new form.

Under the hood of the CL 500 BlueEfficiency 4Matic can be found the new V8 biturbo engine.  This new engine has 15 percent less displacement than its predecessor; 4663 cc instead of 5461 cc. But unlike the previous CL 500, this new engine has two turbochargers, one for each bank of cylinders. The intake air is forced into the eight combustion chambers at an overpressure of up to 0.9 bar, with the turbine blades rotating at up to 190,000 rpm. The turbochargers and their hot gas ducting are accommodated on the outsides of the cylinder heads. This enables the intercooler module with its air/water intercooler and charge-air distributor to be located inside the V of the engine. The engine is based on a diecast aluminium crankcase with aluminium/silicon cylinder liners. It adopted the basic and connecting rod journal diameters from the preceding engine. The piston compression height is raised by just 4 millimeters for load reasons. Showing the high efficiency of the turbocharged V8, the compression ratio of 10.5:1 remains unchanged versus the naturally aspirated preceding engine.

Eventhough it has less displacement, this new engine is even more powerful than its naturally aspirated predecessor, which had an output of 388 hp. This new engine has 12 precent more horsepower, producing mighty sounding 435 hp. Another benefit of the turbocharging, is a bigger torque. Maximum torque makes even more impressive rise; from 530 Newton metres to 700 Newton metres. A hefty, 32 percent rise. The maximum torque is available on a wide rev range from 1800rpm to 3500pm. When you have this much torque available on a low revs, you instantly get a feeling that you have a lot of power available, even if you are just cruising slowly. Big coupe drives smoothly and effortlessly forward. But when needed, it can sprint from zero to hundred in 4,9 seconds. 0,5 seconds quicker than the predecessor. Interestingly, according to Mercedes, this 4Matic is as quick as a rear-wheel drive version. Even more impressive is the acceleration when overtaking slower cars. Raising the speed from 80 to 120 km/h takes only 2,7 seconds. So you better make sure the road a head is clear before pressing the gas pedal to the floor.

This new power source provides also smaller fuel consumption and smaller emissions than its predecessor. The average fuel consumption of the rear wheel drive model  has dropped from 12,3 litres to 9,5 litres of premium petrol / 100 km. CO2 emissions also sink by around 22 percent from 288 grams per kilometre to 224 grams per kilometre. This 4Matic version’s fuel consumption is 9,9 litres / 100 km and CO2 emissions 237 g / km. Efficient alternator management is also a part of the innovative BlueEfficiency package of the CL 500. When the battery is charged to more than 80 percent, the alternator is governed to take load off the engine. The energy required in this operating state is supplied by the battery. If the driver removes his foot from the accelerator pedal or applies the brakes in overrun mode, kinetic energy is recovered and fed to the battery.

CL 500 is also available with 4Matic all-wheel drive system. The permanent torque distribution of 45:55 percent between the front and rear axles ensures predictable driving characteristics on slippery surface. Mercedes-Benz combines 4Matic with the Electronic Stability Program (ESP) and the traction system (4ETS), which specifically brakes spinning wheels and transfers the torque to the wheels which still have good traction. The system uses sensor signals to meter the automatic braking impulses that increase traction when moving off on slippery surfaces. Airmatic air suspension is standard in the CL 500 4Matic. Mercedes-Benz combines this with the Adaptive Damping System (ADS), which continuously regulates the shock absorber characteristics and takes the road conditions, driving style and vehicle load into account. The system adapts the damping forces for each individual wheel to the current situation within just 50 milliseconds to make sure the ride is smooth enough for the passengers of this big coupe.



  • Petrol
  • 8-cylinder
  • 4633cc
  • Twinturbo


  • 320  kW (435 hp) / 5250rpm


  • 700 Nm / 1800-3500rpm


  • 7-speed automatic
  • AWD

0-100km/h / 0-62mph

  • 4.9 seconds

Top speed

  • 250 km/h

Fuel consumption

  • 9.9 l/100km

CO2 emissions

  • 237 g/km

MB CL 500 2010_06