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It may have been ridiculously expensive when new, but the CL55 AMG is now worth hardly a fraction of that amount.
A ten-year-old CL55 AMG is currently worth only about $3,000 more than an Acura RSX Type S of the same year and the same milage. Just let that sink in for a second: a car which sold new for nearly $120,000 new has lost its value so fast that it's now barely worth more than a car which went for $23,000 when new. We’ve been trying to stick to more mainstream cars with this series, but the CL55 AMG is really such an incredible standout, even for its segment, that it had to be mentioned.
CL-Class is actually the third name given to this vehicle, a name change resulting from the decision to split the model off from the S-Class during the W140 generation of the vehicle. Although the name no longer suggests it, the CL is basically just a coupe version of the S-Class, and it evolves right alongside its big brother. It is classified as a grand tourer, and although this isn’t exactly an incorrect usage of the term, it is a different sort of GT car than, say an Aston Martin DBS. For instance, it has been pointed out that a CL has the same sized trunk as an Audi A8. But with the AMG versions of the car, you get enough power to make the big, and very solid coupe move like a much lighter vehicle.
Since the split with the S-Class, the CL has been offered with a variety of V8 and V12 engines, all of which are massive. The smallest finds its home in the current generation, and is a 4.7-liter V8 producing 429 horsepower. There was a 6.2-liter V8, which for a time was offered with a supercharger, but the most powerful version of the car is the current CL 65 AMG. This comes with a 6.0-liter twin-turbo V12 that pumps out 621 horsepower and 738 lb-ft of torque, all of which can propel the big coupe to 60 mph in just 4.1 seconds. All of this is very impressive, but the downside is that despite the lofty price and performance figures, the styling lacks the exoticism of other cars in this segment.
This is really a problem for just about all AMG products. To the untrained eye, they look like a regular Mercedes, but the price is still through the roof. That’s fine, and some genuinely like this feature, but it does nonetheless have a negative impact on residual values. One could argue that an Audi RS or BMW M car suffers the same problem, but the fact is that neither of these depreciate as quickly as an AMG. The high cost of repairs on an AMG versus the other German performance cars is a major factor in this, and a used model is seen as a ticking time bomb of a gigantic repair bill.
You might recall an episode of Top Gear where Jeremy bought a CL and was hit with an absurdly huge £1,200 bill just to replace a single ignition coil. And that wasn’t even an AMG version. For the gentleman who likes to go fast in comfort but finds showing off too vulgar, a new AMG CL with a warranty is actually one of the best options on the market. The refined cabin and stylish but restrained styling are big pluses in the sophistication department. But a CL is a sort of disposable sophistication, and should only be purchased if you're prepared to ditch it within a few years. Such is the downside of not buying a Bentley.