Remember The CL? Mercedes Looks Back

/ 5 Comments

A technological powerhouse in a tailored suit, the first dedicated CL-Class launched 20 years ago.

With new models seemingly pouring in to its lineup with each passing year, it'd be all too easy to forget that Mercedes-Benz has, from time to time, discontinued certain model lines – or at least rolled them into others. Like the CL, on whose history the Silver Star marque is now looking back.

Mercedes first rolled out the CL moniker in 1996 on a refreshed version of the S-Class coupe, but the first model to be introduced under the CL-Class name launched 20 years ago at the 1999 Geneva Motor Show. And it represented the very height of personal luxury.

Mercedes-Benz

Designed to compete with the upscale likes of the Bentley Continental GT, Aston Martin DB9/DBS, and even the Ferrari 612 Scaglietti, the C215-generation CL was an "athlete in a tailor-made suit," with a taut, pillarless roofline. But it was also something of a technological wonder. In addition to standard features like stability control, skid control, brake assist, park assist, and self-cleaning bi-xenon headlights, the CL also introduced an active suspension for the first time.

Everything inside was covered in the finest leather, and Mercedes even offered a thin stone veneer trim option (which Bentley would mimmic years later).

Mercedes offered the C215 with a range of engine options: the base CL500 (with a 302-horsepower V8), the CL600 (with a 362-hp V12, later turbocharged to 493 hp), and three AMG versions – the CL55 (with a 355-hp V8, later supercharged to match the CL600's 493), the CL63 (with a 439-hp V12), and the 603-hp CL65 that replaced it.

A facelifted version launched in 2002, and by the time it was replaced in 2006, Mercedes had sold 47,984 of them. The subsequent C216-generation model was the last CL before the line (not unlike the CLK was into the E-Class) was re-integrated into the S-Class.

Mercedes-Benz
Mercedes-Benz

Join The Discussion

Gallery

15
Photos

Related Cars

Back
To Top