My dream car is a Lamborghini Diablo so todays comparison is not one I take lightly. I am a taller guy and as a kid was always told I’d need a larger sports car to fit in. This proved true. In my early 20’s I looked into buying my practical dream car, a gen 2 Mitsubishi Eclipse GSX only to find that I literally cannot fit without tilting my head to the side at all times.
The last piece in this series seemed to get a pretty decent split so I’m looking forward to seeing the results today. The focus of these pieces is how you and I can get a little supercar performance in our lives for far less than it would cost to actually purchase and maintain a real supercar. Concessions will need to be made.
Today I would still love to own a Diablo more so than anything else out there. However due to budgetary constraints of the most unstimulating kind, a Diablo is not in my near future. So today we’re going to look at perhaps the next best option for a person in my clearly dire situation.
The Diablo was another homerun for Lamborghini. A company that made cars as seemingly bland as the Jarma and Espada knew that the Countach had to have a true spiritual successor. The Diablo was exactly that. At the time Forbes called it feral, alive and ominous. It was faster than the Countach, completing a 60 mph sprint in just 4.7 seconds and continued onto a top speed of over 200 with it’s slightly reworked V12. It looked the part too with extreme proportions and bold lines. Prices at the time were well over $200,000 and despite a dip or two the car has held it’s value very well. The thing that gets you about the Diablo is how much of a masochist you have to be to really push it hard. Most reviewers make mention of how intent it is on killing you. Our alternative today has that same capability and a monsterous V12 to boot.
The 2005 CL65 AMG was Mercedes way of making it clear that they were on the top of the hill and nobody was going to come anywhere near them anytime soon. Think of what else was around back then. BMW M6 had just arrived and had fantastic power and balance but still wasn’t this fast. Cars from Aston Martin, the Vanquish and DB9 were slower too. The Bentley Continental wasn’t up to speed and cost more than the AMG as well.
The CL65 showed up to the party with over 600 horsepower and if that wasn’t enough over 730 lb-ft of torque. This 4600 lb coupe runs to 60 mph in 4.0 seconds flat and still manages to corner and handle far better than it could ever be expected to considering it’s high density. Keep in mind that this is probably the biggest difference between these two cars, the weight. There is no debating that in the right hands the Diablo is an extremely capable car on the track and that the Mercedes would be left for dead in that setting. However, if we forget about that part of life that one few of us get to enjoy and focus on the road where we spend the majority of our time the Mercedes is an excellent comparison. On the highway it’s twin turbo V12 would depart the Lambo with little effort and continue to climb if not for it’s limiter.
Where the Mercedes doesn’t look the part of a Diablo it will be a far more comfortable drive each day. The interior features are a bit plasticy, the average Mercedes from the mid-2000’s kind of look. However stuff actually works, like the dual climate control, active radar controlled cruise, and a power rear sunshade. Even when we do look at the exterior it’s not all disappointment. The reworked front end makes it clear to those in the know that what you’re driving is not the average CL series. It’s subtle but special. It’s comfortable but mad. That torque figure goes a long way toward that feeling of wanting to kill you. Any moment of unfocused frivolity could be your last as nobody can cheat the physics and force this thing can provide. The transmission does a good job of snapping off shifts as they are requested but can take over when you want to relax. Overall the feeling you get behind the wheel is one of quiet confidence and the knowledge that at any moment, when needed, you can let the devil out if you must.