Last Chance To Buy: Mercedes-Benz CL

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Indy Lifestyle Online

When's it going?

If you can afford the new model Mercedes CL (the V12 starts at about £106,000), order one now. It's got anticipatory braking, funky, swoopy styling, it's bigger, with more equipment and power. If you don't want all that, maybe you can get an old CL, new and unregistered, for a useful saving.

What's good about it?

Everyone knows you are loaded. Not only can you afford a CL, you have the funds to run one. This is a two door S-Class, which is all the luxury limo most of us will ever need. There is no shortage of room, standard equipment or power. You can only get V8 or V12 engines and these units are incredibly quiet.

The purpose of the CL is to take four people and some of their luggage in an amazing amount of comfort for several hundred miles if required. Not only does the CL do the cruising thing really well, it will also handle like a much smaller Mercedes. There are loads of on-board electrics that help keep the CL on the road. This has been one of the most sophisticated cars you could possibly own.

What's bad about it?

It's so over the top and has a ferocious appetite for fuel. At service time main agent labour rates and parts prices will strip your wallet of any spare change. And if you buy a CL new you will lose a fortune in depreciation.

Although you may have braced yourself for the massive bills involved in simply owning a CL you may be slightly disappointed in the patchy reliability record of modern-day Mercedes models. It also doesn't feel as solid as Mercs from a decade ago. There is also the small matter of the highly modified AMG versions which seem really pointless, and more appropriate to the sportier SL model. Mostly you would be better off with the smaller, cheaper and just as able four-seat CLK coupé.

How much?

Buyacar.co.uk reckons it can get a basic CL 500 for £62,078, thus saving £11,622. Indeed, a top-of-the-range CL65 V12 Bi-Turbo AMG is just £129,301 and that is a saving of £16,744. There are usually some low-mile examples at main dealers, and Stratstone (01254 680 865) has a 2006 CL500 that has covered just 200 miles for £58,995 - down from almost £73,000.

Any snags?

It isn't going to fall apart overnight, but the main problem has been the electrics. If they get damp they can go awry. And engine management systems can mean cars don't run as smoothly as they should. That's why a full service history is absolutely essential.

Specifications

Launched: 1999

Engine sizes: V8 5.0-litre CL500, V12 6.0 CL600, V8 5.5 CL55 AMG, V12 6.5 CL65 AMG

Performance: CL500 top speed 155 mph; 0-60mph 6.3 seconds

Economy: 24.8 mpg

Safety: NCAP, n/a

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