AMG Sturms Back With 550-HP CLS63 AMG

If matte is the new black and green the new gold, the 2012 Mercedes Benz CLS63 AMG should be in style for years to come. There's 550 hp and 33 mpg highway. Is that something you might be interested in?

The CLS63 AMG is the tuning unit's latest salvo in an increasing crowded market for hi-po luxury sedans with BMW's M-Class and a resurgent Cadillac's V-Series. For the CLS, AMG threw a Geländewagen's worth of technology into adding power without burning more fuel.

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By combining direct injection with a stop-start system as standard equipment, AMG was able to boost the power on tap: the 5.5-liter, twin-turbo V8 now churns 550 hp, a 43-hp bump from the previous 6.3 liter V8, and 590 lb-ft. of torque.

AMG chief Ola Källenius says despite the power boost, the CLS63 AMG will get a combined 24 mpg in everyday driving, and hit some 33 mpg on the highway. Part of that increase also comes from the 7-speed DCT transmission, with four separate modes, including a manual stage that Källenius says is a perfect mimic of a true hand stirrer.

While AMG won't disclose prices (the previous generation was brushing $100,000 for starters) the new CLS63 also includes track time with AMG experts at one of three tracks: Road Atlanta, Lime Rock or Laguna Seca.

As for the matte finish on the show car, Källenius says that's just experimental, but AMG will help one of the lucky 3,000 to 4,000 buyers it expects next year to find whatever color they want.

Photos by: Nick McGlynn