Parkers overall rating: 4.5 out of 5 4.5

The 'entry-level' CL500 gets a 5.5-litre V8 with 388bhp. Considering its size, the 0-62mph time of 5.5 seconds is very quick. But it's the way in which the CL gets there that makes it so impressive. It's ultra-smooth and eerily refined with loads of low-down power for effortless overtaking. The V8 model also gets Mercedes-Benz's 7G-Tronic seven-speed gearbox, which gives unnoticeable auto gearchanges and the ability to choose gears manually.

The CL600 has a bi-turbo 5.5-litre V12, with 517bhp, which is 17bhp more powerful than the engine in the 1999-2007 model. There's a phenomenal amount of pulling power, which means acceleration at motorway speeds (and beyond) is smooth and breathtakingly fast - it gets to 60mph in 4.6 seconds. It has a five-speed auto in place of the CL500's seven-speed.

Both engines sound as good as they drive but fior the ultimate in performance there's the AMG version with more than 600bhp, covered in a dedicated review.

The CL600 is capable of frightening speeds with the 155mph speed restrictor removed (somewhere in the region of 200mph), so gets uprated brakes over the CL500, which are already very strong. Depending on the type of driving you're doing, you can choose between Comfort and Sport modes at the push of a button. Comfort is best for long motorway stints, while Sport stiffens the suspensions and sharpens the throttle response.

It's a big car and difficult to park, something that's helped with the parking sensors and camera. An optional system even does the trickiest part of parallel parking for you. For such a long car - it's more than five metres in length - it handles with surprising agility and feels much more nimble than its size suggests.