The new Mercedes-Benz CL-Class coupe range which has just gone on sale in Australia isn't aimed at fuel conscious consumers. With a starting price of AUD$308,000 (US$249,400) for the CL 500, basically it's aimed at anyone who can afford one. That said, appearing to environmentally aware, or at least rising-fuel-price aware, must be penetrating even the top end of the market because Mercedes-Benz note in their press release that the range-topping CL 600 not only features an increased power output of 12 kW up to 380 kW / 510 hp over its predecessor, but it has better fuel economy as well; albeit if only by the tiniest of margins, moving from 14.6 L per 100 km / 16.1 mpg previously to the new, improved 14.3 L per 100 km / 16.4 mpg.

The torque of the ultra-modern biturbo twelve-cylinder engine under the bonnet of the CL 600 has also been increased by 30 Nm to a locomotive-like 830 Nm / 612 ft-lbs.

Analysis: Try as I might, I couldn't find any other environmental points of distinction for the CL range, and a tiny improvement in fuel economy is hardly something to rave about. More significant is the recognition that the price of fuel still matters, even to someone with money to burn. What must that say about the rest of us?

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[Source: Mercedes-Benz press release]