At the end of the 1995 model year, after its sedan version was renamed the Acura RL, the Acura Legend coupe was discontinued. This change of name was due to Acura’s decision to name its models alphanumerically, except for the Integra. For the 1997 model year, the Legend coupe was replaced by the CL, a name that stands for “Contemporary Luxury”. The production of the Acura CL stopped in 1999, but it was again revived in the year 2001 until 2003. The CL takes pride in being the first Acura model that was assembled and produced in the United States. It was made in Honda’s plant near Marysville, Ohio.
1997–1999: First generation Acura CL
The first-generation Acura CL debuted in the spring of 1996 as an early '97 two-door midsize coupe model. Initially, this model was offered with a shared Honda Accord’s 2.2-liter 4-cylinder engine, hence the name 2.2CL. The said engine was able to crank out 145 horsepower. In the fall of 1997, a 3.0CL, which was powered by a new 200-horsepower 3.0-liter V6 engine, arrived. A 4-speed automatic transmission was standard on the 3.0 CL and optional on the 2.2CL. Both versions come with standard dual airbags and antilock 4-wheel disc brakes.
For the 1998 to 1999 model years, the CL got a face lift, a good revamp, and a 2.3L (F23A1) engine that’s able to achieve 150hp. It was also offered in four different versions–the 2.x Base, 2.x Premium, 3.0 Base, and the 3.0 Premium. Premium models come with several additional features, including a premium Bose stereo system and heated leather seats.
2001–2003: Second generation Acura CL
In the spring of year 2000, Acura introduced the second-generation Acura CL. This front-drive, near-luxury coupe, which was released as an early 2001 model, was slightly bigger and heavier than its first-generation predecessors. However, it retained its appearance and four-seat layout. The 2001 Base model was powered by a 3.2L V6 engine that produced a whopping 225 horses. The 260-horsepower version of the said engine was in the new performance-oriented CL Type-S, which is said to be Acura’s Sport edition. The Type S was also outfitted with 17” wheels, larger brakes, a more solid suspension, and firmer seats. A five-speed automatic transmission with a manual-shift gate was installed on both models. Front side airbags and antilock all-disc brakes were also standard.
The 2003 CL Type-S model, which was introduced in 2002, was equipped with a close ratio 6-speed manual transmission with a Limited Slip Differential. Due to declining sales, the CL was dropped from Acura's lineup and was replaced by the Acura TSX sedan in 2004.