|Premium sporty/performance car; Built in Germany|
|Good condition price range: $3,200 – $11,500*|
1998 Mercedes-Benz CLK coupe
1999 Mercedes-Benz CLK convertible
2000 Mercedes-Benz CLK interior
1999 Mercedes-Benz CLK320 coupe
2000 Mercedes-Benz CLK430 convertible
A comfortable and capable tourer, CLK offers Mercedes prestige and greater refinement, plus style and poise, for about the same money as Volvo’s C70 coupe. High resale value has always been a “plus” for any Mercedes, though that makes secondhand prices high, too.
A sporty offshoot of Mercedes’ C-Class sedan, the CLK320 put the German automaker’s rear-wheel-drive luxury qualities into a coupe body style. Slightly longer and lower than a C-Class, the CLK got unique styling marked by an oval-lamp nose, like its larger E-Class sedans. A 3.2-liter V6 engine went under the hood, driving a 5-speed automatic transmission. Mercedes’ first V6 engine, it was an overhead-cam unit with three valves per cylinder. ASR traction control and front side airbags were standard. Antilock brakes also were standard, with Mercedes’ “Brake Assist” feature. That system interpreted certain rapid brake-pedal movement as a panic-stop situation and automatically applied full braking force. A new “Smart Key” antitheft ignition system used a coded electronic data link instead of a regular key. The “BabySmart” child-seat recognition system deactivated the passenger-side airbags when a special Mercedes-designed child seat was in place. An antiskid Electronic Stability Program was optional. CLK coupes rode 16-inch tires and had a standard 60/40 split folding rear seat, as well as dual power-forward front seats. A new option was available: rain-sensing wipers that varied the speed of the intermittent sweep. Rivals included the BMW 3-Series, Saab 9-3, and Volvo C70.
A CLK320 convertible joined the original coupe this year, as did a CLK430 coupe with 4.3-liter V8 power. The convertible included a power top, glass rear window, and the same 3.2-liter V6 engine as the CLK320 coupe. The new V8 coupe added Mercedes’ ESP antiskid system (an option for V6 models), as well as bigger brakes, a firm suspension, performance tires on 17-inch wheels (versus the usual 16-inchers), and “aero” lower-body cladding.
Both body styles–coupe and convertible–were available with the 4.3-liter V8 engine this year. Previously optional on the CLK320, an ESP antiskid system became standard on all models. The 5-speed automatic transmission gained Mercedes’ Touch Shift, with a separate gate for easier manual shifting. Standard equipment included Mercedes’ TeleAid emergency assistance system.
CLK added a new performance coupe and some electronic features for 2001. The CLK55 AMG limited-edition coupe came with a 342-hp 5.4-liter V8 engine, special trim, larger brakes, stiffer suspension, and special 17-inch wheels. Newly optional was Mercedes’ COMAND system that controlled audio and available navigation and phone functions from a dashboard screen.
CLK55 coupe was joined by a convertible companion. Newly optional for 320 models was a Sport package with aero bodywork and 17-inch wheels. And CLK430s gained standard aero body trim, light-gray gauges, blue-tinted windows, and new-look alloy wheels. CLK was redesigned for ’03.