Mercedes-Benz CL-Class Research & Reviews

Overview & Reviews

Average Score

4.62/5 Average
131 Total Reviews
Model Overview:

The Mercedes-Benz CL-Class is that rare animal in the automotive kingdom, a large luxury coupe capable of accommodating two rear passengers in comfort while simultaneously shoving them into their seatbacks with abundant power. Other two-doors tend to offer either opulence or power, but the CL manages both and features a sumptuous leather-adorned interior to boot. Spanning four generations, the CL has seen a few name changes over the years, but has steadfastly maintained its status as perhaps the quintessential large luxury coupe.

Most recently, though, Mercedes-Benz has decided to completely drop the CL badge, instead calling its big two-door luxury coupe the S-Class coupe. From a used car standpoint, though, there's nothing quite like the CL.

Used Mercedes-Benz CL-Class Models
The fourth-generation Mercedes-Benz CL-Class luxury coupe was produced from 2007 through 2014. The CL was crammed full of the latest and greatest safety, comfort and entertainment technologies that the engineering wizards from Stuttgart could craft. This generation of the CL ventured farther from the S-Class sedan than past generations in terms of exterior styling, featuring curvier, more muscular lines than its subdued predecessor. This girth made the CL much larger and hundreds of pounds heavier than its closest competitors.

From 2011-'14 the CL came in four trim levels with corresponding engines: CL550 (429-horsepower twin-turbo 4.6-liter V8), CL600 (510-hp twin-turbo 5.5-liter V12), CL63 AMG (536 hp twin-turbo 5.5-liter V8) and CL65 AMG (621-hp twin-turbo 6.0-liter V12). The CL63's output could be further boosted to 563 hp and 664 pound-feet of torque via the AMG Performance package. The V8s had a seven-speed automatic transmission, while the V12's abundant torque required a more robust five-speed. The CL550 came standard with all-wheel drive, while the rest were rear-wheel drive.

Standard feature highlights included highly adjustable power front seats with heating, ventilation and memory functions, a navigation system, Bluetooth phone connectivity and a surround-sound audio system. There was also a full array of Mercedes' latest high-tech safety features such as Distronic Plus adaptive cruise control. The latter, which automatically accelerated and braked even in stop-and-go traffic, came standard on higher trims. The AMG models focused on performance with their more powerful engines, sport-tuned suspensions, high-performance brakes, unique exterior enhancements and leather sport seats.

In reviews, our editors were impressed by the CL's top-quality interior, competent handling and awesome performance regardless of trim level. Even the base CL550 is hard to fault, though its more powerful siblings are a league apart. In particular, the CL65's 738 lb-ft of torque seems sufficient to alter the Earth's rotation. One complaint is that the CL's long doors make it difficult to get in and out of the car in small parking spaces. But that will likely be a non-issue, as chances are you'll be parking this swanky Mercedes coupe as far away from other vehicles as possible.

CL models from 2007-'10 featured softer, less aggressive styling and different engines than those later CLs. But we can't say these are significant detractors when springing for a used CL. Initially there were just two models: CL550 and CL600. The CL550 had a 5.5-liter V8 that produced 382 hp and was rear-wheel-drive only -- all-wheel drive became standard for '09. The CL600 had the same V12 throughout this generation's run. The AMG models joined the lineup for 2008, though until 2011 the CL65's engine produced 604 hp, while the CL63 featured a 6.2-liter naturally aspirated V8 good for 518 hp.

The third-generation Mercedes-Benz CL-Class was produced from 2000-'06. It was lighter, less expensive and much sleeker than its massive, brick-shaped predecessor. The CL500, powered by a 302-hp V8, was the only model offered initially, with the 362-hp, V12-powered CL600 and the 354-hp, V8-powered CL55 AMG arriving in 2001. As usual, Mercedes used the CL to showcase its latest technologies such as Active Body Control, Distronic adaptive cruise control and PreSafe (for 2003). Mercedes also used '03 to introduce the turbocharged CL600 and supercharged CL55 AMG, both pumping out 493 hp. The CL500 added a seven-speed automatic transmission in 2004, while an AMG Sport Package was added to the CL500 and CL600 as standard equipment for this generation's last year.

At the time, our editors were impressed with the powerful engine choices, dizzying array of high-tech features, classic styling and comfortable long-distance cruising ability. We weren't fond of its complex COMAND navigation and audio system, however, and found the rear seat to be cramped.

The second-generation Mercedes-Benz CL-Class had a slight identity crisis, beginning its life as the 500SEC and 600SEC in 1993, changing into the S-Class Coupe in 1994 and finally settling on today's CL-Class moniker in 1998. Its sturdy, boxlike body changed very little during its run, giving it a strong resemblance to the S-Class/500SEL. It was offered with a 315-hp V8 and a new 389-hp V12 engine, neither of which changed during this generation's lifespan. As with today's generation, our editors couldn't find much to fault about this coupe's impressive combination of size, luxury and power. Its blocky styling is polarizing, however, and its huge price tag led us to suggest taking a look at cheaper alternatives.

The original flagship-sedan-based Mercedes-Benz luxury coupe was known as the SEC, which lived from 1981-'91. The 1986-'91 editions had a 238-hp, 5.6-liter V8, whereas the prior years were underpowered with a 3.8-liter, 155-hp V8. With its especially commodious rear seat, the 560SEC was actually considered a two-door sedan. This generation was also one of the first vehicles to offer airbags, antilock brakes, traction control and a self-leveling suspension.

User Reviews:

Showing 1 through 10 of 131.00
  • CL55 is Incredible! - 2006 Mercedes-Benz CL-Class
    By -

    Excellent features, feel, handling, power and comfort. Nice body style in the Mercedes line up. I am very happy with this car overall and would rate it A+.

  • Only one word: WOW! - 2003 Mercedes-Benz CL-Class
    By -

    Owned this car almost a year for now, no problem at all, fast, fast, and fast. Cornering? no problem, speed? no problem, COmfortable? Yes, Reliable? Yes, so far. Gas mileage is not bad if you drive it moderately, only a little bit different with my S500. 493 hp and 516lb/ft of torque? It is enough. I can live with it.

  • Best buy used car ever! - 2005 Mercedes-Benz CL-Class
    By -

    Some call the CL55 AMG the depreciation king, and if I had bought one new I might agree, however there is more to the story than depreciation. The Cl 55 AMG is FULL of technology and admittedly if you buy a bad one you will be most unhappy so how do you avoid that? Pay a couple of hundred dollars before you buy one to have it pre-purchase inspected buy a Mercedes Benz dealer. This will save you time and major grief. If the owner refuses to allow this just say goodby. If it is a price "to good to be true" it probably will need a lot of TLC. Avoid boy racer modified cars, this car needs VERY FEW!

  • pasion for quality - 2004 Mercedes-Benz CL-Class
    By -

    TO DATE I HAVE LOGGED 2000 MILES. I HAVE BEEN TOTALLY IMPRESSED WITH THE HANDLING OF MY CL55. THERE IS NO HESITATION WHEN ACCELERATING AT ANY SPEED AS THE SUPER-CHARGED ENGINE ANSWERS INSTANTLY. IT SEEMS THAT EVERY ASPECT OF THE CAR IS DESIGNED TO WORK HOMOGENIOUSLY. EX. THE BRAKING EXUDES CONFIDENCE, THE CORNERING HOLDS EFFORTLESSLY, THE SEATS ADJUST PERFECTLY TO MY SIZE ETC.

  • Great Car, But... - 2000 Mercedes-Benz CL-Class
    By -

    I've enjoyed this car for its handling and styling, but have experienced too many little problems, including a broken cup holder, and a "check engine" light that comes on for things the dealer says are minor, involving the evaporative system, but still take time to deal with and detract from the pleasure of ownership. MB's roadside service is great, and they will give you directions when you're in the unknown parts of the country.

  • CL63 AMG - 2008 Mercedes-Benz CL-Class
    By -

    Phenomenal car. A beast to drive. Driving stability is incredible thanks to ABC. The front is aggresive and the rear tends to grow on you after a while.

  • Fantastic all-around driver - 2002 Mercedes-Benz CL-Class
    By -

    Soon after I began commuting into the city again (after a 15 year break) I became disenchanted with my Jag S-type - 4.0L, Sport Suspension. The flaws in the car started to wear on me. The CL has revitalized my drive: a combination of back roads and semi- highways.

  • A very refined motorcar - 2007 Mercedes-Benz CL-Class
    By -

    This automobile is fabulous in every aspect. More than enough useable power and acceleration. Excellent ride comfort with just the right amount of feedback. Unbelievably comfortable seats with flawless and beautifully understated interior. The command system is logical intuitive and easy to use. The voice activation system has yet to miss a beat. The stereo system is the best I have ever heard. Build quality and fit and finish are the best I have ever owned.

  • It doesn't get any better then this - 2005 Mercedes-Benz CL-Class
    By -

    This is without a doubt the most exciting car I have ever owned or driven. Just seeing the letters "AMG" when I get into the car every day makes me a happy commuter. I may go broke with the incredibly high fuel consumption, but it will be with a smile. Great acceleration yet luxurious enough to commute in. Easier to service and more fun to drive then the Maserati's and comparable to the DB9 (but with room for golf clubs). Much better looking then the 645i. Get it.

  • Proud owner of a CL600 - 2003 Mercedes-Benz CL-Class
    By -

    I Have owned many cars. I usually trade every 3-5 months, this is my forth mercedes 3 prior were SL500s As i said priors. This car will stay in garage and actually get washed it is a pure adrenaline rush to drive. Once you put your foot into the pedal the car responds, and your off an running with the 490+ ponies under the hood and dont forget about the Twin turbchargers. The only down side is the turbo lag at first But the cars overall performance, handling, interior features, comfort and exterior styling make it the best car I have ever owned, I wish every body could at least experience Driving it once in their life. Not my car though, get your own

Mercedes-Benz CL-Class Reviews By Year:
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