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The dangerously fast Mercedes-Benz CL550

Speeding in the Mercedes-Benz CL550

All in the line of duty
All in the line of duty CNET Networks

I could tell you just how quick the 2007 Mercedes-Benz CL550 is by quoting a bunch of dry statistics (0 to 60mph in 5.4 seconds, top speed governed at 155mph, net power 382 hp, net torque 391 lb-ft, blah, blah, blah), but I thought it might be more instructive to provide some real-world evidence courtesy of California Highway Patrol. Yes, I was just out on one of our highly scientific test drives for a CNET Car Tech review when I saw the five-o in the auto-dimming rearview mirror; they wasted no time in presenting me with a speeding ticket, but I was only doing 75mph--honest!

The Mercedes CL550
The Mercedes CL550 CNET Networks

The CL550 is a dangerously fast car--but not in the regular sense of the phrase. The danger comes from the fact that the ride is so smooth, the cabin so insulated, and the engine so quiet that you could be approaching the sound barrier and you still wouldn't feel like you were doing more than 45mph. True as this may be, it is a pretty tough one to explain.

Policeman: "Do you know how fast you were going sir?"

CL550 owner: "Well, not really officer. You see, because of this car's exceptionally quiet variable valve-timed engine and the sound-absorbing effects of all the leather seats, it's easy to let the speed drift up without noticing. Actually, at the time you flagged me down, I was just trying to set the Distronic radar cruise control to regulate my speed to that of other road users."

This is not a line of defense that is likely to cut you much slack.

If I owned one of these cars, I'd be getting inadvertent tickets all the time. Lucky for me that I don't have the necessary $110,000.