1999 Mercedes-Benz CL in 2023. The only thing that dates this timeless beauty is the graphics. The side view and overall proportions worked great in 99 and will look beautiful in 2199 as well. My favorite feature of the C215 is the wrap around rear window. A nice modernization of the 1960s Mercedes W111 coupe.
Don’t know what a CL is? Why, it used to be the two-door version of the S-Class for a few good years, when Mercedes decided to market it as an individual grand tourer. Production spanned over three generations, from 1992 to 2013 (2014 for the U.S.), and it was pinned against the likes of the Bentley Continental.
To most enthusiasts, the one to go for was the second generation, which was made between 2000 and 2006. It was arguably the prettiest of them all, with its double-headlamp styling mirroring the looks of the era’s SL, and the iconic SLR McLaren. Since V12s were still a thing back then at the three-pointed star brand, it was offered with four such units, joined by three V8s.
The punchiest mills were reserved for the AMG variants, with the most powerful boasting a little over 600 horsepower from its twin-turbocharged 6.0-liter V12, which put out 738 lb-ft (1,000 Nm) of torque. For a car made two decades ago, with emphasis on luxury, it was very fast. The 0 to 62 mph (0-100 kph) acceleration took only 4.4 seconds, and its top speed was electronically capped at 155 mph (250 kph).
A quick look on the used car market reveals that you could buy a CL from roughly $10,000 upwards. The most expensive versions, namely the AMGs, will set you back well over $30,000, and for a properly maintained example packing a big lump under that long hood that came to life in Affalterbach, you might end up blowing in excess of $40,000. Mind you, the maintenance of the CL is something that should be taken into consideration, as you’re still looking at an S-Class, and we all know that they’re anything but budget-friendly, right?
The CL didn’t die for good in 2014, because its spirit lived on in the even prettier S-Class Coupe (and Convertible). Mercedes gave it a go until 2020, when the seventh and latest generation of the car was introduced, which can only be had as a sedan, in both normal and long wheelbase versions. Why no two-door models this time around? Because most new car buyers fancy crossovers, and they were deemed as unprofitable.
Now, in theory, Mercedes does possess the right tools to launch an S-Class Coupe/CL, but since not many people would buy it, they’re not willing to make it happen, unlike thesketchmonkey on Instagram, who shared a rendering of the second-gen CL on social media with modern front and rear ends. And while it isn’t a looker, it’s still interesting to revisit the iconic GT.