Cars > Mercedes > 2009 Mercedes Benz CL550 4MATIC

By Ketan Patel


2009 Mercedes Benz CL550 4MATIC

New for 2009, the CL550 benefits from Mercedes-Benz's 4Matic all-wheel-drive system, as opposed to the standard rear-wheel drive of last year's CL. This is indeed one elegant car. The CL is a machine of elegance and everything, from the fantastic multi-function LCD instrument panel to the climate control buttons, has an aura of quality and sophistication about it.

Weighing in at 4,639 lbs, the CL550 uses its modest-for-the-size 382 hp to manage a startlingly quick sprint to 60 mph in just 5.3 seconds. The 4-Matic system moves power between all four wheels as needed, helping to keep the big CL in proper shape, especially on slippery, low-grip surfaces.

MERCEDES-BENZ CL COUPE ADDS 4MATIC ALL-WHEEL DRIVE

MONTVALE , NJ – The CL550, the premium-luxury coupe from Mercedes-Benz, is getting standard-equipment 4MATIC all-wheel drive for 2009.  As modern all-wheel-drive systems become even more refined, they are becoming increasingly popular, especially in the luxury car market.  With negligible gas mileage tradeoffs, full-time AWD systems provide year-round traction and stability benefits on both wet and dry roads. 

 

Identified by new 18-inch wheels with a distinctive seven-split-spoke design, the 2009-model CL550 4MATIC also comes with new standard equipment that includes heated and active ventilated front seats and the Keyless-Go system.  Many CLs are ordered with the optional AMG sport package, which includes deeper front and rear aprons, AMG side sills and 19-inch five-spoke AMG wheels.

 

For 2009, all CL models receive new gear shift paddles on the steering wheel, push-pull power window switches and a Hold convenience braking feature.  The many benefits of the optional radar-based Distronic Plus system now include Blind Spot Assist, which monitors blind spots on both sides of the car and warns the driver whenever a turn signal is activated while a vehicle is in the blind spot. 

 

 

Impressive CL Lineup for 2009

 

The flagship Mercedes-Benz CL coupe line for 2009 features four distinct models.  In addition to the V8-powered CL550 4MATIC, the CL coupe family includes the rear-wheel-drive CL63 AMG (with an all-AMG V8) and the 12-cylinder CL600 and CL65 AMG models.

 

Radar-Based Blind Spot Assist and Park Assist

The optional Distronic Plus system now includes Blind Spot Assist, which monitors both blind spots and warns the driver whenever a turn signal is activated with a vehicle in the blind spot.  The latest radar-based Distronic Plus also incorporates Park Assist, which utilizes six radar sensors mounted behind the front and rear bumpers – eliminating the need for the visible “portholes” of the previous ultrasonic-based system.  At low speeds, thee system scans available parking spaces and displays a “P“ in the dash if the car will fit in the space.  When reverse gear is engaged, the parking system superimposes guidance lines on the rear-view camera display, and the guidance lines actually change with steering input to make parking easier.

 

The Latest 4MATIC System

The latest 4MATIC system features a state-of-the-art full-time all-wheel-drive system that's integrated into the seven-speed automatic transmission.  The system fits right into the standard CL body and utilizes the existing front suspension (gone are the special parts and wider transmission tunnel that were necessary on earlier 4MATIC systems).  The extra gears and shafts that drive the front wheels now weigh only 145 pounds more than the rear-wheel-drive model.  Beginning from the right side of the transmission tail section, a driveshaft powers a front final drive and differential unit just to the right of the engine oil pan, and the left front axle shaft passes through a tube in the oil pan.

 

Improved Fuel Efficiency

Fuel efficiency has been improved, due to a number of innovative measures that minimize the energy needed to turn the extra all-wheel-drive shafts and gears.  In particular, only two gears now power the front driveshaft (instead of the previous three), and the direction of rotation is cleverly corrected in the front final drive without additional gears.  Recessing the universal joint for the front driveshaft into the transmission output gear also saved space, helping to fit the entire drive system into the standard body shell.

 

Full-Time 4WD System Features Four-Wheel Traction Control

The full-time four-wheel-drive system used in Mercedes-Benz 4MATIC cars and all sport utilities features a center differential that can vary front-to-rear torque distribution for great on-road handling, not to mention stellar traction.  The CL550 4MATIC comes with a planetary gear set within the center differential that begins with 45-55 percent front-to-rear torque distribution.  To skilled drivers, this rear-bias all-wheel-drive system feels much like rear-wheel-drive cars, in which subtle throttle-steering effects can enhance handling, especially in spirited driving.  In addition, the system includes innovative four-wheel electronic traction control that keeps the vehicle going even if only one wheel has traction.

 

Even Better Traction with Multi-Plate Diff Clutch

Like the S-Class sedan, the CL550 4MATIC coupe comes with a multi-plate clutch tucked into the center differential that provides the extra traction benefits of a limited-slip diff while complementing its four-wheel traction control.  Often called a “breakaway” clutch, the multi-plate unit helps provide power equally to the front and rear wheels when driving straight ahead, but still allows the front wheels to rotate faster in turns. While four-wheel traction control reacts after wheel slippage is sensed, the clutch helps prevent slippage.

 

More Than a Century of 4WD Experience

 

Mercedes-Benz has been building four-wheel-drive commercial vehicles since 1907 – more than 100 years of experience with all-wheel drive.  The 4MATIC all-wheel-drive system made its world debut at the Frankfurt Motor Show in 1985, and Mercedes-Benz launched 4MATIC-equipped passenger cars in the U.S. market for the 1989 model year.  The full-time 4MATIC system made its debut on the 1998 E-Class sedan and wagon as well as on the M-Class sport utility.

 

AMG Racing Success Spawns High-Power V8 Engine

While the CL550 is powered by a 5.5-liter V8 engine delivering 382 horsepower and 391 pound-feet of torque; the CL63 AMG features a 6.3-liter V8 that produces 518 horsepower and 465 lb.-ft. of torque.  One of the most powerful naturally aspirated production V8s ever, the high-rpm engine boasts a wealth of exciting features derived from AMG's highly successful racing efforts.

 

Built almost completely from a high-strength silicon-aluminum alloy, the AMG engine features four valves per cylinder, variable valve timing, bucket-type cam followers (rather than rocker arms), and a variable intake manifold.  The cylinder bores feature a twin-wire-arc-sprayed (TWAS) coating, an innovative process that results in impressively low friction and running surfaces that are twice as hard as conventional cast-iron cylinders.

 

Exclusive AMG Styling, Inside and Out

The CL63 AMG can be identified by unique body styling, alloy wheels, sports suspension and high-performance brake system – all designed by AMG specifically for this new model.  When equipped with the AMG Performance Package, the CL63 can achieve an electronically-limited top speed of 186 mph on 20” twin-spoke alloy wheels.   A muscular front bumper with large air intakes houses round fog lights ringed in chrome, and a “6.3 AMG” badge marks each front fender.  Contoured side skirts carry the aggressive lines of the front bumper to the rear, where an AMG rear apron emphasizes the width of the vehicle.  A pair of twin tailpipes completes the exclusive look and sound of the new models.

 

Inside the CL63 AMG, drivers are greeted by an AMG sport steering wheel with distinctive aluminum shift paddles and AMG multi-contour leather sport seats finished in special piping.  Finish ing the interior is an exclusive analog clock based on the design of the “IWC-Ingenieur” series in the center of the dashboard.   A Sport-Comfort-Manual button on the center console allows the driver to choose between the three different transmission shift programs that also fine-tune accelerator pedal response and sport-suspension spring and shock absorber settings.

 

Active Suspension and Powerful Brakes

The CL63 AMG suspension and brake systems are designed for high-performance driving.  AMG makes good use of the Mercedes-Benz ABC active suspension, tuning it for even flatter cornering and less body movement when accelerating and braking.

The AMG twin sliding calipers on the front brakes combine the performance of a large fixed caliper with the distinct advantages of a floating caliper – primarily lower heat transfer to the brake fluid.  Large compound brake discs -- 15.4 inches in diameter up front and 14.4 inches in the rear – help ensure short stopping distances even during high-speed driving.

The CL63 AMG sedan comes with 20-inch staggered-width AMG light alloy wheels, 8.5 inches wide in front and 9.5 inches at the rear, wearing low-profile 255/35 (front) and 275/35 (rear) tires.

 

V12 Power for the CL Coupe

Turning to the V12 side of the CL family, the CL600 is equipped in the spirit of the legendary 600-Class “Grand Mercedes.”  Fitted with greater levels of wood and leather trim, the V12-powered flagship comes with virtually all options as standard equipment, including Distronic Plus with Park Assist, infrared Nightview Assist, Keyless-Go, rear view monitor, ABC active suspension, three-zone climate control, and an integrated hands-free communication system with voice control. 

Twin-Turbo V12 Engine

Powered by a twin-turbo V12 engine that generates 510 horsepower and an astonishing 612 lb.-ft. of torque, the CL600 model blends the whisper-smooth performance of the flagship Mercedes-Benz four-door sedan with the astonishing power of a twin-turbo V12 engine.  At the same time, the bi-turbo V12 comes clothed in luxury, convenience and refinement that define the rarified market segment.  The 60-degree V12 engine provides effortless thrust with turbine-like smoothness, featuring a vast torque band with peak torque beginning as low as 1,800 rpm. 

With the high-tech engine, Direct-Select five-speed transmission and state-of-the art aerodynamics, the new S600 can reach 60 miles per hour in less than 4.5 seconds, quicker than many sports cars.  To handle the torque of the V12, transmission planetary gear sets are wider.

 

6.0-Liter V12 AMG Engine Redefines Performance

The CL65 AMG features a 6.0-liter twin-turbo V12 engine that produces 604 horsepower and an astounding 738 lb-ft of torque.  While the formidable engine can accelerate the car from zero to 60 mph in about 4.2 seconds, the super-smooth twelve-cylinder powerplant is also ideally suited for relaxed cruising.  The CL65 AMG engine features a number of high-tech modifications, including a precision-balanced longer-stroke crankshaft, larger-bore forged pistons and beefier bearings and oil-spray cooling system.  The twelve-cylinder engine is assembled by hand at the AMG engine facility in Affalterbach , Germany .  The “one-man, one-engine” philosophy at AMG is symbolized by a signature plate on the engine that bears the name of the master technician who assembled the engine.

 

Stopping Power to Match Performance

To handle the high power output of the AMG twin-turbo engine, the front brakes of the CL65 AMG are equipped with high-performance twin sliding calipers.  The CL65's compound brake discs measure 15.4 inches in diameter up front and 14.4 inches in the rear.  These immense brakes are also vented and cross-drilled for effective cooling and short stopping distances, even from high speeds.  At the rear, frame-type sliding calipers do the work. 

High-performance tires – 255 / 35 ZR 20 in front and 275 / 35 ZR 20 at the rear – are mounted on forged 20-inch AMG twin-spoke wheels – 8.5 inches up front and 9.5 in the rear.

While all CL-Class models are equipped with ABC active suspension that offers an unparalleled combination of ride quality and handling agility, the CL65 AMG is equipped with special AMG spring struts with firmer damping.  Reworked dynamic systems such as ESP stability control and ASR traction control complement the enhanced chassis setup.

 

PRE-SAFE ® Brake Can Automatically Apply Partial Emergency Braking

The launch of the current CL coupe marked the debut of another revolutionary Mercedes-Benz safety feature – PRE-SAFE ® brake.  On the latest CL, PRE-SAFE, in combination with the Distronic Plus system, can now apply partial braking automatically in certain types of emergencies.

The company that invented SRS, the crumple zone, ABS anti-lock brakes, traction control and ESP stability control also launched PRE-SAFE on the S-Class sedan in 2002.  Standard on all CL coupe models, the revolutionary PRE-SAFE ® system automatically tightens the front seat belts during those valuable seconds just before a possible impact, and the front passenger seat (and optional power rear seats) move to positions that can provide better protection.  If the system senses an impending rollover, the sunroof closes as well.  Side windows also close to provide better support for the window curtain air bags, and special seat cushions can inflate to provide greater lateral support for occupants and to help the side air bags provide even better collision protection.

Distronic Plus Helps in Stop-and-Go Traffic

In the latest CL coupe line, the well-known Distronic cruise control feature that maintains a pre-set following distance behind the vehicle ahead is replaced by an optional “Distronic Plus” system.  Integrated with the latest PRE-SAFE, the latest radar-based system operates at nearly all speeds up to 125 mph and can be especially helpful in stop-and-go traffic. Short-range 24-gigahertz radar sweeps the first 33 yards in a fan-shaped 80-degree pattern, working in tandem with a narrower nine-degree beam of longer-range radar.

The two radar frequencies complement each other to cover a full range of more than 160 yards – more than 1½ football fields.  During approval of the new radar frequency, government agencies cited its potential to improve traffic safety, reduce injuries and ultimately save lives.

 

The latest Distronic Plus system includes Blind Spot Assist, which monitors both blind spots and warns the driver whenever a turn signal is activated with a vehicle in the blind spot, as well as Park Assist, which identifies right-size spaces and makes parking easier.

 

Brake Assist Now Teams Up With Distronic Plus

In the early 1990s, Mercedes-Benz engineers conducting simulator tests discovered that many drivers don't push the brake pedal hard enough in emergency braking, a discovery that led to the development of Brake Assist, standard equipment on all Mercedes-Benz vehicles since late 1990s.  Brake Assist has proven itself a million times, and tests show vehicles equipped with Brake Assist are involved in 26 percent fewer accidents.

On the latest CL coupe, an enhanced version of the Mercedes-Benz Brake Assist system not only supplies braking assist in emergencies as soon as the driver applies the brake pedal, but also measures the distance to the vehicle ahead (thanks to Distronic Plus) and adjusts brake pressure if the driver doesn't brake hard enough.  While Brake Assist is only triggered by the driver's reaction on the brake pedal, Brake Assist Plus also considers the closing speed of the vehicle ahead based on radar signals from the Distronic Plus system.

 In extensive tests conducted by Mercedes researchers using 300 drivers, the integrated system reduced rear collisions in heavy city traffic by 75 percent.  During testing, data recorders and cameras documented more than 250,000 real-world miles covered by 200 drivers in the U.S. and Europe , while 100 drivers participated in months of testing on Daimler's driving simulator in Berlin .

Infra-Red Night View Assist

       Another innovative technology on the CL coupe is optional Night View Assist, which can extend the driver's ability to see ahead to nearly 500 feet.  In contrast to passive systems that rely on thermal imaging, this active system bathes the road ahead with invisible infra-red light from two projector beams mounted in the headlights.  An infra-red camera discreetly mounted in the windshield receives the reflected images and displays them in a high-resolution display in the instrument cluster.  The result is akin to a highly detailed black & white video image.

 

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