1998 Mercedes-Benz CL-Class

  • 1998 Mercedes-Benz CL-Class CL500 Coupe

    CL500 Coupe

    • MAX MPG
    • SEATS
    • ENGINE
      5.0L V8
    • MSRP
  • 1998 Mercedes-Benz CL-Class CL600 Coupe

    CL600 Coupe

    • MAX MPG
    • SEATS
    • ENGINE
      6.0L V12
    • MSRP
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  • Review

1998 Mercedes-Benz CL-Class Review

An overpriced luxury machine.

Reviewed by Automotive on


The 1998 Mercedes-Benz CL-Class is the coupe version of the S-Class. The name CL stands for ""Coupe Leicht,"" which is German for Coupe Light. It was previously marketed as the SEC and later as the S coupe and sold as part of the S-Class lineup. However, this year sees it getting spun off as a separate model from Mercedes-Benz. The first coupe version of the S-Class was launched in 1992, with the design being approved between 1987 and early 1988. The SEC names were used in 1992 and 1993, when the models were marketed as the 500-SEC and 600-SEC. In 1994, the model names were changed to S-500 Coupe and S-600 Coupe. This year sees the third name change for the coupe.

The Range

Body Styles: coupe
Engines: 5.0-liter V-8, 6.0-liter V-12
Transmissions: five-speed automatic
Models: Mercedes-Benz CL-500, Mercedes-Benz CL-600

What's New

The 1998 Mercedes-Benz CL-Class is the coupe version of the S-Class as it gets its third name change this year. However, there are very few changes for the actual coupe this year, save for two new features. The first feature is Brake Assist, which automatically applies full braking force in panic stops according to rapid brake pedal movement. The second addition is the Baby Smart feature, which automatically deactivates the front and side airbags when a child safety seat is installed up front.


Since the 1998 Mercedes-Benz CL-Class is a coupe version of the S-Class, its exterior shares the same pros and cons as the S-Class. The size of the car is quite imposing. The massive slab-like exterior styling reflects confidence and prestige. For a coupe, the CLK-Class has a commanding road presence because of its exterior style, and that can be a good or bad thing depending on the person. Like the S-Class sedan, the 1998 Mercedes-Benz CL-Class coupe introduces innovations like electric windows with jam protection, rear-parking markers on the rear wings, and double-pane window glazing.


The 1998 Mercedes-Benz CL-Class cuts down on the huge amount of interior space available in the S-Class sedan because of its two-door body style. As a result, it also has some common problems associated with the interior of a coupe. For example, the front seats of the seat offer a good amount of legroom and headroom, but the rear seats fail to provide adequate legroom.

The 1998 Mercedes-Benz CL-Class' large dimensions do make the rear seat of the car more spacious than most other coupes, but it is still a little too tight for tall passengers. Entry and exit is a problem, too, although the wider-than-usual doors help in reducing this problem a bit. The driver’s seat is comfortable and supportive and provides good visibility all around the car.

The 1998 Mercedes-Benz CL-Class has an interior quality that's poorly made. The dashboard is simple and well laid out with most controls being easily operable, but many buttons feel low-grade. The terry cloth fabric used in the lower dash also feels down-market. All this can be easily excused in any other car, but not when the CL-Class coupe has a luxurious vibe and high price tag to boot.

Performance & Handling

The 1998 Mercedes-Benz CL-Class is available with two engines. The CL-500 has a five-liter V-8 engine that delivers 322 horsepower and 354 lb-ft of torque. The CL 600 has a six-liter V-12 engine that delivers 389 horsepower and 420 lb-ft of torque. Both engines have a five-speed automatic transmission.

The 1998 Mercedes-Benz CL-500 models deliver more than enough acceleration with its V-8 engines. Passing power is excellent, and the automatic transmission is prompt in shifting gears to provide the right amount of power at the right time. For those who want even more power, the massive flagship V-12 engine of Mercedes-Benz is fitted into the CL-600 model. This engine provides a huge amount of power to propel the coupe from standstill to 60 mph in just about six seconds.

Expectedly, the 1998 Mercedes-Benz CL-Class doesn't have a noteworthy fuel economy figure any either engine. The V-12 is relatively more fuel-hungry than the V-8 engine, though. On a positive note, the 1998 Mercedes-Benz CL-Class is very agile and nimble considering its size and weight. The coupe corners with ease and, more importantly, with relatively little body lean, which is generally a common problem in most coupes.


The 1998 Mercedes-Benz CL-Class doesn't have any crash test information available.

EPA Fuel Economy

Mercedes-Benz CL-Class: 13/19 mpg city/highway

You'll Like

  • Powerful acceleration and performance
  • Good ride quality
  • Agile handling
  • Responsive steering
  • Stable ride

You Won't Like

  • Poor fuel economy
  • Many interior parts are low-grade
  • High price tag

Sum Up

An overpriced luxury machine.

If You Like This Vehicle

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See the New 2014 CL-Class.

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