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An inside look at Mercedes’ ‘civilized beast’

The navigation system in the latest Mercedes-Benz CLS AMG uses the word“please.” Perhaps other turn-by-turn systems also use niceties, but I’venever noticed.

The navigation system in the latest Mercedes-Benz CLS AMG uses the word “please.” Perhaps other turn-by-turn systems also use niceties, but I’ve never noticed.



It caught my attention because the cheery female voice sounds so polite against the furious maelstrom of the 550-hp engine at full tilt.



The CLS63 is a civilized beast.



When Benz released the first-generation CLS in 2004, it caused a fuss. A design breakaway, it was a four-door with the streamlined ceiling of a two-door sports car. The stylized ride filled an imaginary hole between two other large Mercedes: the two-door CL and the E-Class sedan. Plus it was just cool.



This second generation is less showy. The bravura silhouette has been reined in, looking more like a traditional four-door. The 2012 models come in three versions: the $72,175 CLS550, $74,675 all-wheel-drive 4MATIC and $95,775 CLS63 AMG.



As tested, my CLS63 with the AMG performance package (which adds the extra power), came to $123,525. That’s a price with a nasty bite. Mileage is 15 city and 22 highway.



Passing through the tidy town of Kent, Conn., I spied a Porsche Carrera GT, a Porsche 911 Turbo and even a vintage Jaguar race car — wild things in a bastion of civility. While they couldn’t hide their primal natures, my CLS63 indisputably could.

 
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