I think it is virtually impossible to own a Mercedes CLS550 and not have any friends.
I know that during my one-week test drive in the 2007 model there was never a moment when someone wasnít asking me to take them for a drive. Actually, they wanted the keys, but when I explained that I was contractually prohibited from doing that, my driving skills were immediately in great demand.
The CLS550 is a truly remarkable luxury performance four-door coupe.
Before you send me an e-mail, it really is a coupe with four doors. First introduced in 2005 as a new Mercedes-Benz class, the CLS four-door coupe is a coupe-like car, yet with the comfort and convenience of four doors.
It is stylish, elegant, sophisticated and loaded with cutting-edge technology.
For the 2007 model year, two new V-8 engines are featured on both the CLS550 and the high-performance CLS63 AMG.
The CLS550 (which is the subject of this review) is powered by a new 5.5-liter V-8 that delivers 382 horsepower and 391 lb.-ft. of torque ó the same engine that powers the new S-Class.
With a 0-60 mph time of 5.4 seconds and an electronically limited top speed of 155 mph, acceleration is not only flawlessly responsive, the seven-speed adaptive electronic transmission winds through the gears faster than you can think about it.
While I havenít driven the CLS63 AMG (NOTE TO MERCEDES: HINT, HINT), it is powered by the new 6.3-liter V8 that delivers 507 horsepower and 465 lb.-ft. of torque while producing a 0-60 mph time of 4.3 seconds. It is mated to a seven-speed adapted electronic automatic transmission with AMG SpeedShift.
Perhaps Mercedes will allow me to tell you about that model in the coming weeks. (NOTE TO MERCEDES: HINT, HINT).
Back to the CLS550: If you want to know what itís like to ride in the lap of luxury, take this car out for a test drive.
Mercedes throws the performance in for free. And boy, oh boy, does this car deliver a heavy dose of performance while absolutely surrounding you with luxury.
Nearly every inch of the interior is covered with wood or leather surfaces.
Even though it is technically a coupe, it is very spacious and comfortable, with more than ample passenger room in both front and rear seating areas.
In addition to the keyless entry system (you never need to take the keys out of your pocket or purse to unlock the doors or start the engine), the CLS550 features a four-zone climate control system that regulates temperature settings for all four quadrants of the vehicle.
A 12-speaker, 480-watt harman/kardan Logic 7 digital surround sound audio system also comes standard, as does the power tilt/sliding glass sunroof.
Iím just scratching the surface here. The list of comfort and safety features is far too long to list them all.
If you want options, thereís satellite navigation system and heated and ventilated seats that blows hot or cool air up through the perforated leather upholstery.
Can you tell Iím still smiling?
The Mercedes CLS550 is an truly outstanding vehicle. For those in the market for a luxury performance vehicle, the CLS550 is an absolute must test drive.
Neal White has been covering the automotive industry for more than 15 years and is affiliated with the Texas Auto Writers Association and the Midwest Automotive Media Association. Comments may be sent to Neal at firstname.lastname@example.org.