Premium large car; Built in Germany
  • 2-door coupe
  • longitudinal front-engine/rear-wheel drive
Good condition price range: $19,500 – $110,000*

2008 Mercedes-Benz CL-Class

2008 Mercedes-Benz CL-Class

2008 Mercedes-Benz CL-Class

2008 Mercedes-Benz CL-Class

  • Acceleration
  • Handling
  • Interior materials
  • Quietness
  • Ride
  • Seat comfort (front)
  • Cargo room
  • Fuel economy
  • Rear-seat room

Any CL-Class is very pricey when new or even secondhand, but all of these coupes are brimming with power, technology, and luxury. For the well-heeled shopper with little use for a rear seat, these well-crafted two-doors are a wonderful indulgence.


Mercedes redesigned its flagship rear-wheel-drive coupe for 2007, giving it fresh looks, more power, and added safety features. The 2007 CL-Class was about 3 inches longer in wheelbase and overall length than the 2000-2006 generation. This coupe shared its basic design with the Mercedes S-Class full-size sedan. Two models were offered. The CL550 had a 382-horsepower V8 and seven-speed automatic transmission; it replaced the 302-hp CL500. As before, the CL600 had a turbocharged V12 and five-speed automatic, but now issued 510 horsepower versus 493.

Antilock braking, traction/antiskid control, front and rear side airbags, and curtain side airbags were standard. Newly standard was Mercedes’ Pre-Safe system that tightened seatbelts and applied additional braking force if sensors detected an impending collision. All CLs had Mercedes’ COMAND system, which incorporated a video screen and console-mounted “joystick” knob to control audio, navigation, phone, and other functions; it also accepted voice commands. Newly standard on all CLs were rear obstacle detection and wireless cell phone link. Standard on the CL600 and optional for the CL550 was Mercedes’ infrared Night View Assist, which projected onto an instrument panel screen a black-and-white image of objects beyond headlight range. ivals included the BMW 6-Series and Jaguar XK-Series.

Yearly Updates

2008 CL-Class
Two new models joined the lineup for 2008, both tuned by Mercedes’ high-performance AMG division. Beneath the CL63 hood sat a 518-horsepower, 6.2-liter V8 accompanied by a 7-speed automatic transmission along with specific suspension tuning and exterior trim. The CL65 got a super-powered 604-hp 6.0-liter V12 mated to a 5-speed automatic.
2009 CL-Class
For 2009, the CL550 was newly standard with Mercedes’ 4MATIC all-wheel drive; the rear-drive CL550 was discontinued. All models now came with steering-wheel gearshift paddles, and Mercedes’ Parking Guidance system–which assisted drivers with parallel parking maneuvers–was newly available. Also newly offered for 2009 was the company’s Blind Spot Assist, which alerted drivers to the presence of another vehicle in their blind spot.
2010 CL-Class
The 2010 Mercedes-Benz CL-Class gets a few new features but no major changes.
2011 CL-Class
The 2011 Mercedes-Benz CL-Class got freshened styling, and some models received new engines. The CL550 got a new 429-horsepower turbocharged 4.7-liter V8 engine, to replace a 382-horsepower 5.5-liter V8. The CL63, tuned by Mercedes’ AMG performance division, had a new 536-horsepower turbocharged 5.5-liter V8, which replaced a 518-horsepower 6.2-liter V8.
2012 CL-Class
There were no changes of note to the 2012 Mercedes-Benz CL-Class.
2013 CL-Class
The 2013 Mercedes-Benz CL-Class added a Grand Edition package for the CL550 4MATIC model that included AMG styling cues. Otherwise, the CL stood pat.
2014 CL-Class
There were no significant changes, but 2014 was the last year for this generation CL-Class.


longitudinal front-engine/rear-wheel drive

Early CL550s had a 5.5-liter V8 producing 382 horsepower. Starting in 2011, the CL550 got a turbocharged 4.7-liter V8 with 429 horsepower. Early CL63s had a 6.2-liter V8 rated at 518 horsepower. Starting in 2011, the CL63 received a turbocharged 5.5-liter V8 with 536 horsepower. All these V8 engines mate with a seven-speed automatic transmission. A turbocharged 5.5-liter V12 and five-speed automatic went into the CL600. The CL65 has a 604-horsepower turbo V12, which was upped to 621 horsepower for 2011. Each V12 engine works with a five-speed automatic transmission. For 2009, the CL550 was newly standard with Mercedes’ 4MATIC all-wheel drive; the rear-drive CL550 was discontinued. All other models have rear-wheel drive.

dohc V81
Engine Size (liters/cubic inches) 5.5/333
Engine HP 382
Engine Torque (lb-ft) 391
Avail. Trans. EPA MPG (city/hwy) MPG avg. as tested
7-speed automatic



Turbocharged dohc V8
Engine Size (liters/cubic inches) 4.7/285
Engine HP 429
Engine Torque (lb-ft) 516
Avail. Trans. EPA MPG (city/hwy) MPG avg. as tested
7-speed automatic



Turbocharged ohc V121
Engine Size (liters/cubic inches) 5.5/336
Engine HP 510
Engine Torque (lb-ft) 612
Avail. Trans. EPA MPG (city/hwy) MPG avg. as tested
5-speed automatic


dohc V81
Engine Size (liters/cubic inches) 6.2/379
Engine HP 518
Engine Torque (lb-ft) 465
Avail. Trans. EPA MPG (city/hwy) MPG avg. as tested
7-speed automatic


Turbocharged dohc V8
Engine Size (liters/cubic inches) 5.5/333
Engine HP 536
Engine Torque (lb-ft) 590
Avail. Trans. EPA MPG (city/hwy) MPG avg. as tested
7-speed automatic


Turbocharged ohc V121
Engine Size (liters/cubic inches) 6.0/365
Engine HP 604-621
Engine Torque (lb-ft) 738
Avail. Trans. EPA MPG (city/hwy) MPG avg. as tested
5-speed automatic


1. EPA Note: Figures shown are for 2008 models. The Environmental Protection Agency changed its procedure for 2008 to yield more realistic estimates. Therefore, estimated mileage is lower than for prior years.

Road Test

Power delivery across the CL-Class lineup ranges from ample in the CL550 to outright ferocious in the CL65. Expect plenty of punch for highway passing and merging. The turbocharged 4.7-liter V8 fitted to the CL550 starting in 2011 suffers a bit from irregular power delivery and brief delays in response from a stop, but is otherwise impressive. Mercedes-Benz said the pre-2011 CL550 accelerated to 60 mph in 5.3 seconds, with the CL65 needing a mere 4.2 seconds. Both of those figures seem accurate. In the CL550 and CL65, the transmission is occasionally slow to downshift, but is otherwise smooth and responsive.

Fuel economy is not a CL-Class virtue. A test 2008 CL550 coupe averaged just 14.8 mpg, but a 2011 with the turbocharged engine averaged 18.0. All models require premium-grade fuel.

Ride quality scores high. All CL-Class models have firm suspension tuning, but virtually all harshness is filtered out-even in the sport-tuned CL65. The CL550 suffers a trace of floatiness, when the driver-adjustable suspension is set in Comfort mode.

Despite their size and heft, CLs are reassuringly stable when cornering, and when traveling at high speeds. The CL65 has the sharpest moves of the group. Standard Active Body Control further enhances agility. Powerful brakes provide short, drama-free emergency stops.

Whether V8 or V12, Mercedes’ engines produce classy, mechanical sounds during acceleration and are nearly silent while cruising. The CL’s slippery shape means minimal wind noise. Tire roar is more evident on the CL65 than the CL550, due to the former model’s high-performance treads.

Most major controls are logically positioned and easy to reach. Mercedes’ COMAND system integrates many audio, navigation, and other secondary controls into a single rotary-knob controlled interface. With patience, COMAND becomes second nature for audio functions, but greatly complicates others. Though understated, the CL’s cabin is appointed with luxurious, top-notch materials. Assembly quality is simply flawless.

Front space is generous on CL’s broad, supportive seats. Multiple standard power adjustments make it easy to find a comfortable driving position. Heated and cooled seats, “massaging” air bladders, and automatic-inflating side bolsters have been standard or available, but not all of our test-drivers feel they enhance comfort.

Rear seats are shaped only for two, and cramped for even average-size adults. Entry and exit are tight despite power-forward front seats.

Although the trunk is not cavernous, it has a useful shape and is luxuriously finished. Interior storage includes deep door pockets, a multi-chambered center console, and a large glovebox.


Model Tested: 2008 CL550

Ratings values are on a 1-10 scale, with 10 being the best. With the exception of Value, these numbers reflect how the vehicle compares against the universe of vehicles, not just against rivals in its class.


Acceleration - 8
Fuel Economy - 3
Ride Quality - 10
Steering/Handling - 8
Quietness - 9


Controls/Materials - 8
Room/Comfort Front - 10
Room/Comfort Rear - 2
Cargo Room - 3


Value - 4

Total: 65


2-door coupe
Wheelbase (in.) Length (in.) Width (in.) Height (in.) Weight (lbs)
116.3 199.4 73.7 55.8
Cargo Volume (cu/ft) Payload Capacity (cu/ft) Fuel Capacity (gal.) Seating Capacity
12.9 23.8 4
Headroom Legroom
Front Rear Front Rear
36.9 36.4 42.2 32.2
Safety Ratings

Model Tested: N/A


(5 is the highest rating)

Front Impact Test

Driver Injury - N/A
Front Passenger Injury - N/A

Side Impact Test

Driver Injury - N/A
Rear Passenger Injury - N/A


(A score of 100 is average. Lower is better)

Collision N/A
Injury N/A
Theft N/A

Trouble Spots

Air conditioner
Description: The air conditioner may not be cool enough or may quit working due to the low-side hose collapsing internally. (2007-09)
Blower motor
Description: The blower may not run when first turned on, but may start running after hitting a bump due to a bad blower motor. (2007-08)
Oil leak
Description: The transmission feels like it is shifting harshly between first and second gear or engages harshly into drive or reverse and both conditions should be improved with software upgrades. (2007-09)
Description: The multi-contour seat cushions on some cars may inflate or deflate even though the driver has not made any inputs, requiring an updated electronic module for which there was a service campaign. (2007-08)
Water leak
Description: Water may leak into the trunk because the plugs sealing the holes in the deck lid may not seal sufficiently. (2007-08)
Windshield washer
Description: The low washer fluid may illuminate if distilled or deionized water is used instead of tap water. (2007-08)
Windshield washer
Description: The low windshield washer warning may come on if the ratio of water to washer concentrate is incorrect or if distilled water is used. (2007-09)
Description: A chirping noise, similar to a drive belt noise, may come from under the hood due to a defective pump for the active body control system. (2007-08)
Description: The rear camera may quit working due to the cable breaking near the hinge in the trunk. (2007-09)
Transmission problems
Description: The transmission feels like it is shifting harshly between first and second gear or engages harshly into drive or reverse and both conditions should be improved with software upgrades. (2007-09)

Recall History

2007-08 CL-Class with Active Body Control (ABC)
Description: ABC sensors on either of the front struts may not transmit body movement data because of inconsistent soldering points. This could result in unexpected body movements at the front axle, which can adversely influence the vehicle’s directional stability and could lead to a vehicle crash.
2008 CL-Class
Description: Transistors in signal acquisition and actuation module (front) may have been exposed to excess moisture and could fail to function properly, increasing risk of crash.
2008 CL-Class
Description: A malfunction may occur on the Signal Acquisition and Actuation Module-Front (SAM-F) transistors. The SAM-F is a double transistor that helps control vehicle functions and the lighting of the center console.
2008 CL-Class
Description: An incorrect software calibration number (SCN) coding received during a recent workshop visit can affect a number of functions: (1) the fuel gauge readings may be incorrect; (2) a stuck fuel-level sensor may not be displayed in the instrument cluster; (3) the check engine light may illuminate incorrectly; and, (4) the speedometer may be out of tolerance. In the event of a vehicle crash, the electrical fuel pump may not receive a crash signal that is required for the fuel pump to disconnect and prevent future fuel delivery as designed.
2011-2012 CL550; CL63 AMG
Description: Fuel-filter flange may crack under high temperatures, resulting in a leak and possibly a fire.

Equipment Lists

Equipment lists are only viewable on larger screen sizes.


Used-car pricing varies widely depending on local market conditions. Therefore, we recommend visiting websites that list used cars for sale to get a better idea of what a specific model is selling for in your area.

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