Used 1999 Mercedes-Benz CL-Class Review

Edmunds expert review

What's new for 1999

The CL coupes are carryover models for 1999 with no changes.

Vehicle overview

Big Mercedes coupes have always been the ultimate automobiles. They scream success, are engineered to be driven hard and are designed to keep the general public at bay. The CL-Class projects confidence, prestige and a certain amount of cold indifference.

Despite its new name, the CL-Class of cars are basically two-door versions of their S-Class brethren. As such, they share the same pluses and minuses. This means that the switchgear feels relatively chintzy, yet the rest of the car is undeniably luxurious. From the suede headliner to the wood-trimmed door handles to the excellent Bose stereo system, this car treats you like a king.

Two engines are available: a 5.0-liter 32-valve V8 that makes 315 horsepower and 347 foot-pounds of torque, or a gargantuan 6.0-liter 48-valve V12 that makes 389 horsepower and 420 foot-pounds of torque. The engines are very quiet for their size and power output, and power is delivered smoothly rather than tire-shreddingly. Differing only by their engines, the CL500 and CL600 have a price difference of about $45,000, evidence that V12 power don't come cheap.

Interior ergonomics are marred by a plethora of confusing pictographs. Otherwise, the dash layout is excellent, as is the seating position. Step out and close the door; the thunk as it shuts exudes quality craftsmanship, and the windows lower then raise into place for a perfect seal each time the door is shut. The exterior styling is slab-sided and massive, making the car look a bit fat. Aside from the traditional grille, the CL-Class is devoid of exterior character, more so than the pedestrian Lexus SC400, and in startling contrast to the beautiful Jaguar XK8.

For 1999, Mercedes has changed nothing but the price of the CL600, which is up 1.5 percent. The CL500 price is unchanged from last year.

The CL-Class cars cost more than just about anything on the road, and although the car is nice, we don't think it is quite that nice. If you've got this much money to spend, take a look at the new Jaguar XK8; it might just make you happier.

Edmunds expert review process

This review was written by a member of Edmunds' editorial team of expert car reviewers. Our team drives every car you can buy. We put the vehicles through rigorous testing, evaluating how they drive and comparing them in detail to their competitors.

We're also regular people like you, so we pay attention to all the different ways people use their cars every day. We want to know if there's enough room for our families and our weekend gear and whether or not our favorite drink fits in the cupholder. Our editors want to help you make the best decision on a car that fits your life.