Beware of wolves in sheep's clothing
William Shakespeare said that there was tide in the affairs of men. This perhaps equates to the modern mid-life crisis, which seems to have affected my brother-in-law.
He is a 62-year old retired doctor. In fact, he was quite an eminent consultant surgeon. He has just purchased a second-hand Mercedes CL500, 5-years old, 20,000 miles for £30,000. He said it is good low-mileage example. I told him, of course it is low-mileage, nobody can afford to drive these gas-guzzlers (20mpg on a good day). His argument was that he only does 3,000 miles a year and he might as well do them in comfort (which I suppose is not a bad argument).
As luck would have it, he and his wife were due to come to Sunday lunch some weeks after his purchase and so the car ended up on my drive. It looked OK, nothing special, just a standard Mercedes-Benz shape in boring silver and black. Obviously, politeness necessitated that I got in and sat in the driver's seat.
WOW! The doors did their soft close and the outside world disappeared into silence and I was in a cabin of sophisticated luxury. I had not realised prior to this that the CL500 is essentially the superlative Mercedes S-class with two big pillar-less doors replacing the S-class 4-door configuration.
Clearly, a test drive beckoned but we had to be quick as it was Sunday lunch and the 1:30 start time was sacrosanct. So, we dropped the four miles down to the M25 motorway with Alan, who is by no means a boy racer, driving. It was, as he had said extraordinarily comfortable. It felt big and connected, a proper driver's car.
My next big shock was the transfer from the approach slip road onto the fairly empty motorway. I have driven a number of high-revving performance cars and so know how they feel when you push the throttle. The CL500 experience was different; it was as though a big hand had picked us up and deposited us a few hundred yards down the road. Talk about low-end torque, this 5.6 litre engine was just stunning.
I did not say much on the way home but the car that I thought of as a 'her' had suddenly become a 'he' and I have learnt to watch out for wolves in sheep's clothing.
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4 May 2012, 11:23AM
The AMG version of this car is even more impressive. I have had three CL500s, the pre-2006 model was good but the W216 version which came out was even better. I believe that there is a new version which is a bit tamer but still an ultimate luxury car.
8 June 2012, 01:18PM
My boss has one of these and we went up to Birmingham in it last week. It is so smooth and, even as a passenger, you feel that it wants to burst forward and be given its head.
20 June 2012, 06:23PM
I love these cars they are way orison that my favourte is Mercedes because i am the biggest fan loads of people love Mercedes its like the whoall town likes it!!!
BMW has just brought drivers across the world a lot closer to the prodigious 'car that drives itself.'
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