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2000 Acura 3.2 CL Coupe

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SAN FRANCISCO:  The 3.2 CL is Acura's cool, new entry into the mid-size, luxury coupe class. Reports show the luxury coupe market will grow over 150% in the next few years, and Acura, hoping to compete with coupes from BMW and Mercedes-Benz, has redesigned the CL to attract these selective, upscale, coupe buyers. The CL is targeted at career couples in their thirties and the active, over-fifty crowd, whose kids have already left home. Of course, the CL is the logical next step, when loyal Honda owners are ready to move up to a more expensive auto purchase.

The 3.2 CL is a hot number, and the Type S version adds some extra spice in the performance department. The exterior lines are sharp, clear, and well defined. The Asian genealogy is quite apparent in the front end. The overall styling is very good looking.

Sprinkle a bagful of Saffron, for taste and distinctive color, into the makings of the new Acura CL Type-S, and you've got a dish as appealing and intriguingly exotic as any curry-colored meal company founder, Soichiro Honda, might have savored in his childhood home in Japan.

The saffron color is totally wild. I first saw this color a few years back, when Volvo introduced it with the C70. At that time, the color was, perhaps, a little too progressive for the '90s market, and it certainly didn't make it into Crayola's top ten. In the new millennium, the positive feedback on this color was non-stop. Although still very advanced, people really seemed drawn by it now, and asked a lot of questions. As for me, I wasn't to keen on the shade at first, but being fashionably fickle, I ended up liking it, too.

The interior of my CL was absolute charcoal. It had a flat slate appearance that worked well with the vibrant exterior. The only color break came from the dark, wood-tone trim, that actually resembled brown pearl granite, rather than any wood I've seen. Without a doubt, the look is original. All controls were conveniently located and easy to use, except for the heated-seat switch that was hidden away under the stereo. The leather steering wheel, along with the leather seats, comfortably wrap you into the slateness of the cabin. With the power-operated, multi-adjustable seats, I was able to find an ergonomically correct position and enjoy a pleasurable ride. There are lots of useful storage compartments throughout, but the glove box was tiny. The spacious interior provides ample room for four adults, and is a comfortable place to spend a long trip.

The Type S delivered an exciting, high-performance drive, when given the opportunity. With 260 horsepower and 232 lb ft of torque, this six-cylinder coupe boasts the most power in its class. The Formula 1-inspired, Sequential SportShift, five-speed, automatic transmission allows the driver to select gear changes manually or operates as a full automatic. Besides adding interest to the driving, this transmission provides greater fuel efficiency, which the EPA rates at 18-mpg city and 28 mpg highway. My week with the 3.2 CL was, unfortunately, spent on the freeways in heavy traffic. I had a few chances to make some quick-punch passes, and found the midrange torque strong, and the top-end power vivid. Four-wheel, disc brakes with ABS and P215/50VR-17 Michelins provide generous stopping power and great cornering ability. There is a wonderfully secure feeling to the handling, and the Type S offers a truly great driving experience. I was quite excited by it.

Acura uses a very clever sales strategy for the 3.2 CL. Almost every option a driver could possibly want is included as standard equipment. The automatic transmission, an Acura/Bose stereo/cassette with a six-disc CD changer, power moonroof, heated, power seats, Xenon headlights and leather are all on board. The one exception is the in-dash navigation system, which is really easy to use and an excellent navigator. Pricing is aggressive at $30,330 base MSRP, with an additional $2,000 tacked on for the GPS. All CLs are covered by a four-year/50,000-mile bumper-to-bumper, limited warranty. Another extra for owners is Acura's "TLC," which provides 24-hour roadside assistance.

With the heightened interest that seems to buzz around this car, it will be fascinating to watch how 2001 CL sales take off. My guess is that the competition will need to stay up on their wheels. By Carol Green AutoWire.Net - San Francisco

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Byline:  By Carol Green AutoWire.Net - San Francisco
Column Name:   "Acura has the power to persuade those attracted by it's style"
Topic:  2000 Acura 3.2 CL Coupe Type-S
Word Count:   803
Photo Caption:  2000 Acura 3.2 CL
Photo Credits:  Acura Internet Media
Series #:   2000 - 30

Download the Microsoft Word version here:   2000 Acura 3.2 CL

Download the original image file here:  2000 Acura 3.2 CL 11k

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