Mercedes-Benz and its performance arm AMG can claim numerous automotive industry firsts, and the CL 55 AMG F1 Limited Edition is part of that pioneering pedigree. Although only 55 were produced in 2000, it made history as the first road car in the world to use ceramic brake discs. Twenty years later, Mercedes-Benz is reflecting on the model that takes inspiration from the highest-level of racing on the planet.
From 1999 through 2006, Mercedes-Benz produced numerous coupes as part of the C 215 model series. The CL 55 AMG F1 Limited Edition was produced for only a few months in mid-2000 and was presented at the end of May as a way to commemorate that year’s F1 season. It didn’t have a light bar, but the car was modeled after Bernd Mayländer’s CL Safety Car of the time (seen in the last photo) and was built to bring motorsport verve to public roads.
As such, a potent powertrain was a must. The rear-wheel-drive CL 55 F1 features a four-speed automatic transmission paired with a naturally aspirated 5.5-liter AMG V8 that produced a claimed 355 horsepower at 5,500 rpm and 391 lb-ft of torque. It had an electronically limited top speed of 155 mph and could do the 0-62-mph waltz in 6.0 seconds. Yet, it was the parts that stopped all that power that truly separated this car from the pack.
The CL 55 F1 has a braking system with Brembo eight-piston callipers and in-house-developed internally ventilated fiber-reinforced ceramic brake discs. To create these discs, carbon fiber, carbon powder, and resin were shaped under high pressure before they were baked at about 1,800 degrees Fahrenheit. The discs were then machined and treated with liquid silicon, which mixed with the carbon to create the ceramic material. In addition to the sensitive pedal feel they created, these discs reduced weight by 60 percent compared to steel discs and had better heat resistance.
In total, the CL 55 F1 had a curb weight of 4,112 pounds. It measured 197 inches long, 73 inches wide, 55 inches tall, and had a wheelbase of 114 inches. The car used a steel unibody frame and rode on a four-link suspension with speed-sensitive level control up front and a multilink suspension with Active Body Control in the rear. The CL 55 F1 used power rack-and-pinion steering and had 19-inch wheels, 8.5 inches wide up front and 9.5 inches wide in the rear, at each corner. Tires were 245/40 ZR 19 up front and 285/35 ZR 19 in the rear.
All 55 examples of the CL 55 F1 came in Brilliant Silver Metallic paint over a black interior with black and silver seats and carbon fiber accents. Special-edition features included “F1 Limited Edition” badging inside and out, AMG-embroidered seats, an AMG sports steering wheel with a perforated leather cover, a leather and carbon fiber shifter, and AMG-embroidered floor mats.
At the time, the CL 55 AMG F1 Limited Edition had a price of DM 300,000, or about $168,839 by today’s conversion rates. Today, the collector item is hard to find at any price.