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15 Mar 2015 | Author: | Comments Off on Autoprova – The Web Car Test Journal for connoisseurs – De Web autotestsite voor kenners – High-tech…
Mercedes CL 500

High-tech luxury starВ : we test the MercedesВ C L 500

When one drives a high-end model of the oldest car manufacturer in the world, it is always a unique motoring experience, and the CL 500 makes no exception to his rule. This car embodies 50 years of coupГ© building tradition of the make, and indeed the large Mercedes CoupГ©s have all been for many decades hallmarks of a typical elegance combined with solidity, workmanship and perfectionism in automotive engineering. The new coupГ©, launched in autumn 2006, again sets class standards in technical refinement and safety, as we will explain further on.

Hans Knol ten Bensel

When stepping into the car, one is indeed impressed by the excellent quality of workmanship and materials, the well thought out layout of controls and the attention to creature comfort. Of course the keyless feature will let you enter the car in a breeze and start it only with a brief push on the starting knob, the seat adjustment memory immediately setting up your preferred driving position. The compact gear selector is intuitive and easy to use, and soon you will find yourself quite familiar with the car.

The number of options and function levels may in the beginning seem somewhat bewildering, but soon you will grasp its logic and grow to like it.

Smooth power

The V8 engine of our test car delivers 285 kW/388 hp and generates a maximum torque of 530 Newton metres from 2800 rpm. As such the newly developed engine is 26 pct more powerful than the previous V8 unit, while having 15 percent more torque. Equipped with four-valve technology, variably adjustable shifting camshafts, a two-stage intake module and tumble flaps in the intake ducts, the new V8 is certainly very advanced.

Flooring the trottle, the engine and transmission vehemently catapult the CL 500 from zero to 100 km/h in just 5.4 seconds, 0,9 seconds faster than the previous model. What is even more impressive is the effortless and smooth manner with which these performances are achieved. When driving normally, the engine is almost unaudible at constant speeds, with a pleasant throb under acceleration.

The engine revs quite freely and eagerly when called for, as a modern thoroughbred engine should. The transmission, the 7-speed “G-Tronic Sport)  harmonizes well with the engine and adapts beautifully to all driving styles. The expertise and experience of the marque shows clearly here.

Of course one cannot expect a car of such power and weight to be utterly frugal in dense urban traffic, and one should indeed reckon the consumption to be around the 16 to 18 litres on 100 km, or 14-13 miles per US gallon in these driving conditions. On country roads and driven smoothly, the consumption drops dramatically to a mere 8.5 litres or 27.6 miles per US gallon, and we achieved during our test an average consumption of some 12.5 litres or 18.8 miles to the US gallon, which is creditable indeed. The responsiveness of the car is very impressive, enhanced even further by the excellent road manners of this CoupГ©, as we further point out.В В

Active body control or the ABC of handling …

The standard specification in the CL 500 features a host of technological innovations.

First and foremost there is the Active Body Control (ABC) suspension system, which in its latest, even more sophisticated guise delivers outstanding handling dynamics without neglecting ride comfort. Based on sensor signals and using specially designed hydraulic cylinders at the axles, ABC effectively eliminates the customary pitch and roll of the body that occur when moving off, cornering and braking.

It makes the car feel subjectively very tout and nimble, as the ABC system responds with split-second speed to any situation. At speeds above 60 km/h, ABC lowers the car body by up to ten millimetres in the Sport programme to reduce drag and improve handling stability.

Another special feature of Active Body Control is its variable distribution of body roll between the front and rear axles according to vehicle speed, which combines agile handling with outstanding stability.

Seeing the light…

Of course Mercedes is safety conscious, and therefore provides a unique so called “Intelligent Light System”, which combines five lighting functions, suited to different driving and weather conditions. This system forms part of the standard specification for the new CL-Class, together with bi-xenon headlamps. There is a new so called “country road mode” which illuminates the driver’s-side edge of the road more widely and brightly than the existing low-beam headlamps.

The “Motorway or Autobahn mode”, which comes on automatically when driving above 90 km/h, delivers a uniform cone of light that illuminates the entire road width. In the centre of this cone the driver is able to see around 50 metres further. The enhanced fog lamps are also new, and proved very effective indeed on the wintery test roads.

The active light function and cornering light function, which make the beam swivel and turn into the direction of the curve, are also part of this Intelligent Light System. All this is very impressive and making night driving quite effortless, which is so crucial as drivers’ fatigue sets in imperceptably but all too often in night-driving conditions. It again shows the unique expertise of the marque…

We were also very impressed by the “Night view assist” function with infrared headlamps. With one flick of a switch, the speedometer display turns into an infra red screen, where the contours of the road are clearly seen, irrespective of the weather conditions. The speed remains readable on a narrow band under the screen display.

Speed control by radar…

Throughout the test, we used extensively the cruise control (the factory calls it “Tempomat”) with the variable speed limiter (“Speedtronic”). Intuitive and indeed very easy to use with its typical control lever, the system is a true gem which contributes to completely effortless driving.

We just let the car do all the work, the long-range radar in the radiator grille scanning the road for us. It has a range of 150 metres, and delivers data to the optional DISTRONIC PLUS proximity cruise control, with which our test car was equipped.

The car is kept at the required distance from the car in front, and will only increase its speed  when the (braking) distance with the car in front is large enough. Of course one has to set the speed in function of the general traffic speed, otherwise the car will accelerate with too much vehemence and eagerness once it “sees” that the coast is clear. When the speed is set close to the average, the way the system resumes to the set speed is very progressive indeed.

… and more safety in automated brake and emergency functions

The ingeniosity of this automobile does not end here. It is also equipped with an anticipatory occupant protection system that recognises a potential accident situation in its early stages and initiates appropriate occupant protection measures: this is the so-called PRE-SAFEВ® system and comes as standard equipment.

During emergency braking or when skidding is imminent, the system moves the passenger seat in such a positionВ  that seat belts and airbags can work with optimum efficiency on impact. It also inflates air cushions in the dynamic multicontour seats (standard in the CL 600), which envelop and support the driver and front passenger. The PRE-SAFEВ® system also closes the side windows and the sunroof in critical situations where high lateral forces are generated.

This anticipatory protection system is now further improved with the newly developed PRE-SAFE® Brake system. This operates in tandem with Brake Assist PLUS (abbreviated “BAS PLUS”), which warns the driver of an imminent rear-end collision via visual and audible signals and automatically calculates the required braking pressure to prevent an accident. This braking-power support is available as soon as the brake pedal is operated.

If the driver does not react to the “BAS PLUS” warnings, the PRE-SAFE® Brake system triggers automatic partial braking where an accident is imminent and slows the car down using around 40 percent of the total braking power.

Mercedes CL 500

The automatic partial braking provides the driver with another clear warning to act. If the driver then immediately applies the brakes, the maximum braking force is available and the accident can – depending on the situation – be averted at the last moment. If an accident is unavoidable, the PRE-SAFEВ® Brake system reduces the impact severity and, in turn, the risk of injury to the vehicle occupants.

As with Brake Assist PLUS, the new PRE-SAFEВ® Brake system also uses state-of-the-art radar technology to scan the situation in front of the car and detect a potential accident. Two short-range radar sensors with a range of 30 metres and a scanning angle of 80В° are located behind the front bumper fascia.

Parking becomes child’s play…

The newly developed parking guidance system also works on the basis of radar technology: the sensors measure the length of a parking space when driving past and show on the cockpit display whether there is sufficient space to park. Once reverse gear is engaged, the display includes a symbolic representation of the parking manoeuvre; guide lines show the required steering angle and indicate the path into the parking space… you will never miss a beat!

Club ambiance…

Finally, we have to say more than one word about the true club atmosphere the designers of this car have created. Wood inlays are rather discrete, but chrome accents are somewhat more prevalent. Also quality leather abounds.

Our test car was equipped with the optional “Passion” black leather, costing some 1.389 Euros extra, but well worth it. The dashboard is beautifully laid out, although we would prefer a two dial layout for speedometer and rev counter, classical car buffs as we are. Since the display is electronic, this could easily be done in one large instrument cluster, as the space has to function also as a display for the infra red night vision module.

It has been done in earlier models… one has to remember only the beautiful instrument cluster of the 220Sb coupés!

But this is the only critical note we can make, as the ergonomy of all the controls is close to perfection, once you start to use them for a short while. Club creature comfort is taken care of, as the standard specification also includes dynamic multicontour seats with massage function and seat ventilation,В  the LOGIC7В® surround sound system with DVD changer lets you enjoy Mahler to the full and your emotions will not make you perspire at all, with also the automatic climate control reaching perfection.В  The hard-disc navigation system COMAND APS also sees to it that you get only carried away by the music, and not lose yourself on the route. Note also that a glass sliding sunroof is also included in the standard equipment, so you can enjoy the stars while you are listening…   В

Control system: fewer switches for more functions

A newly developed control system, which has already been successfully implemented in the S Class, refines driver-vehicle interaction even further. Its main advantage is that it provides convenient, rapid access to frequently used functions such as the radio, DVD player, car phone or navigation system.

Depending on the driver#39;s own preference, these systems can be controlled using switches in the centre console, pressing a button on the multifunction steering wheel or using the COMAND controller on the centre console. This central control element is linked to the large, pivoting COMAND colour display next to the instrument cluster, providing access to the user-friendly main and sub-menus that activate the various functions.

The standard automatic climate control with four independently adjustable temperature zones is also integrated into the new control system. The driver and front passenger can select temperature, air distribution and other settings either using the COMAND controller and menu-based control, or by means of an attractively styled switch array beneath the air vents. The COMAND system allows other individual climate settings to be adjusted, such as air distribution and the footwell temperature, and we can tell you, it works!В

Conclusion: the way every car should be?

We would answer yes to this question, money being no objection of course. The car translates the unique know how of “Das Haus” to build quality cars which are benchmarks for the world to follow. Of course, styling (and driving) tastes may differ, but this coupГ© exudes the attention of its designers and engineers for timeless shapes and build quality, so typical for the oldest car manufacturer in the world.В This car also bears witness to the unique culture of driving one experiences at the wheel of these cars with the star… as Mercedes now emphasizes in a branding program for its CLS, SLK and SL class. В В В

Mercedes CL 500
Mercedes CL 500
Mercedes CL 500
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