MONTVALE, N.J. — Mercedes-Benz has taken the wraps off a mid-cycle face-lift of the 2009 CLS, which includes performance and cosmetic improvements to the flagship CLS63 AMG model. Expect a pricing announcement on the 2009 CLS about two weeks prior to the U.S. launch in May, says Mercedes-Benz USA spokesman Dan Barile, according to


The 2009 Mercedes-Benz CLS63 AMG's sport exhaust system gets redesigned rear silencers to "deliver an even more captivating soundtrack," says the automaker. The flagship's seven-speed automatic transmission now gets a function that blips the throttle automatically during downshifts to improve braking ahead of corners on the track. The CLS63 AMG gets the AMG 6.2L V-8 that churns out 514 hp and 465 ft.-lb. of torque. Mercedes-Benz says the CLS63 AMG accelerates from 0-62 mph in 4.5 seconds and has an electronically limited top speed of 155 mph, according to

Cosmetic changes to the CLS63 AMG include a black-painted radiator grille with two louvers instead of three, 19-inch light alloy wheels with a new triple-spoke design and a high-sheen paint finish. The cabin gets a new AMG sport steering wheel with a three-spoke design. An AMG body styling package adds a front apron with large air intakes, a rear apron with a black insert and side skirts.Mercedes-Benz describes the mid-cycle face-lift to the CLS models as "understated but masterly." Details include a new look for the exterior mirrors, a new rear apron, new taillights and modified tailpipes, as well as a redone instrument cluster. Upgraded telematics include speed-sensitive volume control, a keypad for entering telephone numbers and radio frequencies and an MP3-compatible CD and DVD player.