When I first saw the Mercedes-Benz CL63 AMG  I was convinced we found Lady Holiday’s Ultimate Road Trip grand tourer. The attention commanding supermodel dominates the road with sleek looks, supercar performance, and superior luxury features. Mr. wont consider one without the optional P30 AMG Performance Package and we both insist it has to be black on black. With such picky preferences it’s been a challenge to find one available in America. We’ve been working with Mercedes-Benz of Laguna Niguel, California and as they hunt one down, our (read: Mr’s) eyes wandered to the 2013 BMW M5. A test-drive of the Bimmer and weigh-in with Lady quickly guided us back to Benz.

The search for Lady Holiday’s dream car on the Ultimate Road Trip is a balancing act between Mr’s wish for the fastest machine on the highway and Lady’s must for superior luxury and safety, but our baby governs much of our decision. He’s just a puppy today, but at full-size Samson will weigh close to 150-pounds. A purebred Presa Canario stud, our vehicle needs enough back seat room for Samson as we jaunt across America on the Ultimate Road Trip.

Hello 2013 Mercedes-Benz CLS63 AMG.

I’ll preface that the CL63 AMG is my ultimate dream car. But, with an eager puppy in-tow the center console in a two-door coupe will suffer major damage from his impatient paws. The moment we shift into park and open the doors, he’ll likely jump through the front seats and there goes $1,000 in one swift puppy leap. The CLS63 AMG is a four-door sedan with split-folding rear seats, which translates to doggie bed and door included. But, don’t think there’s any downgrading happening here. The CLS63 AMG might be $57,100 cheaper than the CL63 AMG ($95,900 MSRP), but it’s faster, more powerful and roomier.

We also discovered that MB is launching an all new 2014 S-Class, which will replace the CL-class and promises to be the first vehicle on the road to drive itself autonomously. Knowing that the CL is obsolete, “In about two-years for the AMG versions,” according to Russ Ellis at Mercedes-Benz of Laguna Niguel, it’s just not that appealing to us to buy an archaic model.

The CLS, however, is selling so well in America that MB isn’t even planning to introduce the CLS63 AMG Shooting Brake Stateside. Watch its sexy commercial and you quickly realize that Benz pioneered the four-door sport-sedan coupe. Creating a class of its own, MB instigated the followers: Porche’s PanameraBMW’s 6-SeriesAudi’s S7Aston Martin’s RapideFerrai’s two-plus-two FF, and the list continues with almost every car maker around. And since Chrysler bought MB, they’ve taken major profit cuts to make it the most advanced car on the road today. We could call the CLS63 AMG its poster child.

2013 Mercedes-Benz CLS63 AMG

For MSRP $116,825 fully loaded, it seems like a bargain considering all that you get with the CLS63 AMG. It’s the same 5.5-liter twin-turbo V-8 engine as the CL63 AMG, producing 518-horsepower at 5,250-5,750 rpm with a powerful 516-pound-feet of torque. But with Mr.’s must-have P30 AMG Performance Package, it rewires the engine’s computers to 550-horsepower and 590-pound-feet of torque. The seven-speed AMG Speedshift multi-clutch technology transmission is super smooth and works with an eco start/stop for performance and fuel efficiency.

Stealthy in looks and character, the CLS63 AMG swiftly maneuvers from luxurious limo to fast and furious race car at your whim. The gurgle of the exhaust is enough to satisfy Mr. without him needing to go anywhere. But, when it goes, it goes—with the P30 Performance Package the top speed is raised from 155 mph to 186 mph and MB conservatively estimates that it can clock 0 to 60 in 4.4 seconds.The CLS63 AMG is also slightly more fuel-efficient than the CL at 16 MPG City/25 MPG highway. And another plus: it doesn’t incur gas guzzler tax!

MB is at the forefront of technology and safety. They have thought about everything so essentially you don’t have to think about it on the drive. Safety is paramount with MB and the CLS63 comes with 12-way airbags and the optional Distronic Plus, a radar-based cruise control that works with their Pre Safe Brake to prevent collisions. Ease of lifestyle is introduced with the luxury of Mbrace, an intuitively smart program that offers a slew of time-saving features like remote control of the vehicle from a mobile phone app, 24-hour concierge that’s integrated with the navigation system and real-time traffic-avoiding route calculations. The annual membership ($280 plus $20/month for mbrace PLUS) is a must for Lady Holiday’s Ultimate Road Trip.

Alas, as of publish date we haven’t been able to locate the exclusive CLS63 AMG in black on black with burl walnut wood interior trim on the west coast. At least when we get it we’ll know it’s a limited edition!

Our CLS63 AMG:

  • CLS 63 AMG MSRP $95,900
  • 19-inch AMG twin five-spoke forged alloy wheels MSRP $1,000
  • AMG P30 Performance Package MSRP$ 7,300
  • Limited-slip differential MSPRP $2,030
  • Premium package 1 MSRP $3,690
  • AMG illuminated door sills MSRP $850
  • Driver assistance package MSRP $2,950
  • Night-view assist MSRP $1,780
  • Rear side-impact air bags MSRP $420
  • Destination $905
  • Total MSRP $116,825

Photography by Aaron R. Thomas.