The inherent efficiency of turbocharging has caused the technology to have a real renaissance at the moment. But while we’re generally remarkably impressed with the modern forced-induction motor, why is it that we’ve welcome the new 5.5-litre, twin-turbocharged motor in the CLS63 AMG with a mild sense of trepidation?

Mainly because we’ve been so totally won over by the depth of character and performance offered by the naturally aspirated 6.2-litre V8. In comparison, this new motor seems a slightly unnatural addition to a line-up that in recent history has been blissfully old-school and free of forced induction.

Still, we can hardly criticise the arrival of a new engine simply because the old one still holds so much appeal. After all, here we have an engine that is substantially more powerful, yet also 32 per cent more efficient than the 6.2-litre it replaces.

And in no installation does it make more sense than in the CLS. We already know the new four-dour coupe to be excellent luxury transport, and as a sort of high-end enthusiast’s limo it can justify having 549bhp (in the Performance Pack model tested here) better than most other of Mercedes’ models. But there’s no point to having such extravagant output figures – nor an £87,140 asking price - if it’s not sensationally entertaining, as well as civilised executive transport. Not an easily achieved compromise.


Limited-run Black Series models aside, the CLS63 is arguably AMG’s best attempt yet to alter the dynamic character of the Mercedes-Benz model it’s based on.

The standard CLS is a fine car to drive, but rather than just take its character and turn-up the performance, AMG has instead created a sporting saloon with a character, and genuine dynamic ability, all of its own. Any doubts we had, too, that artificial aspiration would be to the detriment of the AMG engine are unfounded. The new unit has all the low-end shove we loved from the old supercharged ‘55’ motor, while retaining the growly character, if not the appealing high rev limit, of the naturally-aspirated 6.2 unit.

In all but details, then – chief among which is the price AMG is demanding for an acceptably specified car – the CLS63 AMG is an unqualified triumph. BMW’s M-division will have to take a bigger step with the 5-Series, than AMG needed to with the CLS, if the next M5 is to match the CLS63 AMG.

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Mercedes CLS63 AMG review

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