Napa Valley was the setting for the latest adventure of DRIVEN’s West Coast correspondent Jonathon Ramsey, who took the wheel of Mercedes-Benz’s new CLS63 AMG and CLS 500.

Read on for his report from the field:

It was Mercedes-Benz, intriguingly enough, that opened one of the most recent fronts in the war on grammar: in 2004 the first CLS was introduced, classified as a “four-door coupe.”

In 2004 the first CLS was introduced, classified as a ‘four-door coupe’

It was scandalous.

Or rather, the CLS was beautiful, but the descriptive was scandalous.

According to the highest dictionaries in the land and your elementary school English teacher, you simply couldn’t have a coupe with four doors.

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A coupe has two doors. A four-door… well, doesn’t.

But did we mention the CLS was beautiful?

Pulchritude causes us to forget little things like definitions

So much so that people kept calling it a four-door coupe, and then other carmakers began making their own four-door coupes, and English went down for the count.

But that’s what pulchritude does: causes us to forget little things like definitions of our own language.

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Seven years on, the 2012 CLS63 AMG marks the second generation of the original, and if it was beauty that made us bow to the archetype, it is the flexing brawn of this new car that commands our obedience.

The design is one of the most aggressive renditions of Mercedes’ visual language

The design is one of the most aggressive renditions of Mercedes’ visual language, the brutal beauty of a Silverback sure to raise an eyebrow among those who like their aesthetics a touch more tender.

The sibling CLS 500 (below) has spent less time at Equinox than the CLS63, but the point of both is to assert their individuality in the world of high-dollar sedans.

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An oenophilic mission would consume the afternoon:

An oenophilic mission would consume the afternoon

Depart our eco-elegant home base in Yountville’s Bardessono hotel (below) after breakfast, dash to the Langtry Estate for a bottle of Guenoc Sauvignon Blanc, then to De La Montanya Vineyards  for a bottle of their 2005 Sybil Cabernet Sauvignon.

Oh, and make it back to the Bardessono – relaxed – in time for victuals and the nectar of the vine.

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Dashing is never a problem in the 518-horsepower CLS63 AMG, a true four-seater with a thundering exhaust note and a sprint from naught to sixty in 4.4 seconds.

Dashing is never a problem in the 518-horsepower CLS63 AMG

AMGs, though, have always had a lock on straight-line speed.

Sharpen the sedan’s reflexes by pressing a few buttons in the center console, and a far more compelling measurement of this new CLS can be taken with your gluteals, which will quickly transmit the car’s potent capabilities as you’re careering through the twisting byways of Napa and Sonoma counties.

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Nor would relaxation, for that matter, ever be an issue.

The cockpit is cozy but swathed in leather and enduringly inviting

The cockpit is cozy – there is a reason for the word “coupe” after all – but swathed in leather and enduringly inviting.

On top of that, a 610-watt Harmon-Kardon sound system will satisfy the ears, the caboodle of safety gizmos and massive carbon-ceramic brakes will satisfy your inner guardian, and Zagat survey ratings available on the nav system will satisfy the gourmand.

Oh and 14-way climate-controlled seats will keep those aforementioned glutes the perfect temperature. They massage, too.

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As you might imagine, then, our mission was a success.

While the CLS’s around-town mien could be described as intrepid due to that exhaust note, it is still a Mercedes – go easy on the throttle and easy manners will resonate just as much as those four pipes out back.

Go easy on the throttle and easy manners will resonate just as much as those four pipes out back

And as it worked out, our wine choices paired beautifully with our CLS chariot.

The Guenoc Sauvignon Blanc is a delightful wine at a remarkable price, and the rakish CLS63, at $94,900, is the most remarkable sedan this side of a Maserati.

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The De La Montanya Sybil spoke to the several personalities of the CLS: rakish, rapid, resolute, with service for four.

And when enjoyed with abandon, well, you might find it slightly intoxicating.

– J.R.