The CL-Class is based on the S-Class fullsize luxury sedan. Known at first as the SEC and later S coupé, it was spun off into its own, current name in 1998. The CL continues to follow the same development cycle as the S, though riding on a shorter wheelbase, and the current generation of the CL is actually heavier than the S (considering equivalent trims, due to the roof engineering required to compensate for a lack of a central B-pillar).
The present generation of the CL-Class, C216, is currently available in four models: CL 500 (CL 550 in some markets, with standard 4MATIC in Canada and the USA), CL 600, CL 63 AMG and CL 65 AMG. The CL 65 AMG is the most powerful model of the CL and the most expensive Mercedes-branded vehicle, slightly edging out its S-Class equivalent S65 AMG and the SLS. CL sales are the third-lowest of Mercedes-Benz in North America, as only the G-Class four-wheel drive and two-seat SLS AMG sell smaller numbers; annual CL sales equal Ford pickup sales for one day. However this degree of distinction is considered attractive to CL buyers.