Mercedes launches all-wheel-drive CL 500 4Matic

Mercedes-Benz announced this week it will add a new model to its already extensive CL-Class lineup. The new CL 500 4Matic features permanent all-wheel drive, plus the same 388 horsepower V8 engine as the regular CL 500 (or CL550, as it's known in North America).

Mercedes says the 4Matic all-wheel-drive system is the same as the one offered on the S-Class luxury sedan. Apparently, there is no noticeable decrease in fuel efficiency compared to the rear-wheel-drive model.

The new 4Matic system is also highly responsive, because it is permanently active -- there's no delay waiting for it to activate when traction is lost.

Mercedes says the CL 500 4MATIC requires just 5.4 seconds to accelerate from zero to 62 mph. So far, there is no word on U.S. availability, but it seem like good possibility. Sales are expected to begin in Summer 2008.