This car has been superseded by a newer model, click here to go to the latest Mercedes-Benz CL (07-14) review.

Parkers overall rating: 4 out of 5 4.0

All models come equipped with an automatic transmission that offers manual control of the gears via steering wheel mounted buttons. The powerplants start with the 5.0 litre V8, which offers the sort of rapid, mile-munching pace you would expect. The CL 55 AMG has a 5.5 litre supercharged V8 and the CL600 has a twin-turbocharged V12, both units offer 500bhp, great thirst and indecent performance for a two tonne car.

The AMG badged model is a little more overtly sporting with its V8 rumble and quadruple tailpipes but the differences are very subtle. Should you want the absolute ultimate, then AMG has taken the V12 Twin turbo model to over 600bhp, in the CL65 AMG – it has more torque than just about any other car in production and planting your foot is akin to a jumbo jet on take-off.

This is a big, heavy, grand-tourer but it possesses a level of body control that makes it feel smaller than it is. Much of this is due to a sophisticated computer-controlled suspension set-up that monitors numerous factors and adjusts the suspension to suit. It does a good job, but with the enormous amounts of power on tap, there is only ever going to be one outcome should you get a bit heavy footed on a corner.

Stability control systems have a good go at keeping things under control but this car has the potential to be a complete hooligan.