A leaner, freshly styled CL500 coupe went on sale in January as Mercedes' first model with Active Body Control, an active suspension system with electronic controls that continuously adjust suspension firmness to eliminate body roll and pitch during cornering, acceleration and braking.
With its arrival in early January, the CL500 is one of the last of the 2000 models to go on sale, if not the last. Base price is $85,500, more than $6,000 less than the 1999 model it replaces.
Major styling themes on the two-door CL follow those of the 2000 Mercedes S-Class sedan, which went on sale in May 1999. Both have more flowing lines and rounded fenders than their predecessors. Four oval headlamps, a smaller grille that bears the Mercedes three-pointed star, and a wraparound rear window give the CL distinctive touches from the S-Class
The new CL not only looks trimmer, it is 500 pounds lighter than its predecessor, 3 inches shorter in overall length (now 197 inches) and 2 inches narrower. Mercedes says extensive use of aluminum, magnesium and plastics helped trim weight.
As a coupe, the CL doesn't need to address the same practical concerns as the S-Class sedan, so it is designed to seat four, not five, with two bucket-like rear seats.
New amenities include a satellite-based navigation system with a touch screen integrated into the dashboard and an SOS button for automatic emergency calling, a voice-operated Bose audio system and radar-controlled cruise control that maintains a set distance from vehicles ahead.
Under the Hood
The rear-drive CL initially comes with a new 302-horsepower 5.0-liter V-8 and a five-speed automatic transmission that allows clutchless manual shifting. A V-12 engine will be added during the 2001 model year, though Mercedes has not announced the size or horsepower rating.
Side-curtain airbags that deploy from above the windows to protect the heads of occupants are standard, along with door-mounted side-impact airbags for the front seats.
Side-curtain airbags that deploy from above the windows protect the heads of occupants from side impacts.
The front passenger airbag deploys at one of two levels, depending on impact speed. Anti-lock brakes, traction control and stability control also are standard.