Introduced to the world in 1997, the CL coupe has become the first Acura to be manufactured in the U.S. Despite having been discontinued in 2003, the Acura CL remains a popular choice among the import tuner enthusiasts.
The 1997 Acura CL rolled off the line with two engine options available - a 3.0L V6 producing 200 hp and a 2.2L, 145-hp I4 engine. The 98 and 99 models were equipped with a 2.3L engine capable of 150 hp. Skipping the 2000 model year, Acura released a completely redesigned CL as a 2001 model, fitting it with a 3.2 LSOHC VTEC J-Series V6. Along with the regular 225-hp CL, a sports edition Type S model was released. The Type-S featured a 260-hp V6, 17 wheels, a firmer suspension, slightly larger brakes, and more stylish seats. One of the major criticisms the second-generation CL have gone through was that a manual transmission has been dropped when the car was redesigned. Very few manual gearbox models were built. However, the CLs manual transmission survives in the 3rd generation TL and the 7th generation Honda Accord.
The CL received only several cosmetic tweaks for the 2003 model year. The fog lamps found on the 01-02 models were replaced with non-functional air vents. The grille surround and door handles were now body color, as opposed to being chrome on the 2001-2002. The 2003 models also saw new headlights which now featured a blacked-out interior, and the taillight lenses had a cleared turn signal and reverse light.
The Acura CL was discontinued in 2003 due to decreasing sales, and to this day Acura has no mid-size luxury coupe replacement.