Following the end of the 1995 model year, The Acura Legend coupe disappeared from Acura's line-up when the sedan version was renamed the Acura RL. The coupe was replaced by the Acura CL for the 1997 model year, following Acura's transition to alphanumeric naming of all of its vehicles (with the exception of the Integra, which was kept in production until the 2001 model year).
For the 1997 model year, the CL was offered with either a 3.0L J30 V6 producing 200hp (150kW), or a 150hp (112kW) 2.2L (F22B1) I4 engine. The 1998 and 1999 models featured a 2.3L (F23A1) with 152hp (113kW).
Both the 4-cylinder and 6-cylinder CL offered a "Premium" trim level which offered leather upholstery (with heated front seats in the 3.0), and in the 3.0, an Acura/Bose stereo. For the 1999 model year, the "Premium" trim level was eliminated, and leather upholstery became standard on all models, as did a trunk cargo net. The alloy wheel design was different on the 3.0 for each year, moving from a five-spoke design (1997) to a seven-spoke design (1998), to a different multi-spoke alloy design for the 1999 model year. The 3.0 premium CL used a six-spoke design for 1997, then moved to a 5-spoke double-prong design for 1998 and 1999. Only the 4 cyl model was offered in a manual or standard shift transmission.