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The Mercedes CL 500 is many things — an enthusiast’s car, a luxury car, a muscle car, a rolling supercomputer, an engineering marvel — and they’re all terrific. If you’ve been hesitant about dropping more than $90,000 on personal transportation, it may be time to give in. Just think of me as your enabler — the little devil on your left shoulder. Sporting a 302 horsepower V-8 with 339 lb-ft. of torque, a 5-speed electronically controlled touch shift transmission (fully automatic or manual at your whim), and an amazing suspension system that eliminates body roll even during high-speed cornering, Mercedes’ flagship coupe is designed to … let you forget about all that. The CL 500 is a true example of technology in service of function. All you have to do is get in and drive. Pull the pneumatically controlled doors most of the way shut, and they’ll finish the job for you. Give the optical starting key a single twist, and the big Benz cranks and starts itself. Settle into the massive and infinitely adjustable heated and ventilated seats, and let the “active massage” system soothe your tired back. Launch this substantial beast on a country road or high-speed thruway, and revel in simple elegance. Step one: point. Step two: go. Just don’t try to figure out the navigation system. When your dealer offers you the “short course” on how to let the computer direct you from A to B, take it. And be sure to do the reading. It took two (somewhat aging) Yale graduates nearly an hour to get the directional system to work, and frankly we felt like monkeys trying to break open a safe by hitting it with sticks. But once everything is adjusted, the CL 500 will make you feel invincible. Handling is tight, and the suspension is a revelation — delivering a smooth and quiet ride while still communicating an informative amount of road feel. This big car dives into twisting curves with the same enthusiasm as a Porsche, while remaining steady enough for your passengers to enjoy their afternoon tea. On the interstate, the Mercedes CL 500 is the best thing since the Bentley Arnage: powerful, quiet, luxurious, effortless. Not surprisingly, the fit, finish, comfort features and sound system are all superb. Complaints? The CL 500 is a big car with a large turning radius and fat roof pillars that can obstruct front quarter visibility. And technophobes may also need to view the provided introductory video to get the gist of how the Mercedes’ basic controls work. Still, once you settle into the CL 500, you’ll never want to leave. M.S.R.P.: $87,500. Price as tested: $93,405 MILEAGE: 16 city/23 highway

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