The Mercedes-Benz CLK-Class is a two-door, four passenger luxury coupe and a two-door, four passenger luxury convertible. The naming nomenclature used for Mercedes-Benz vehicles has not always been straightforward. While the CLK-Class coupe has typically been considered to be spiritually closer to the E-Class, due to its design and pricing, the vehicle itself is actually based on the C-Class entry level sedan. The CLK-Class was introduced in the mid-90’s as a way for Mercedes to capitalize on the success of the C-Class platform and also make their first foray into the mid-size coupe market.
The current Mercedes-Benz CLK-Class dates back to 2003. The CLK is available as either a convertible or a pillar-less coupe that does bear a striking resemblance to the E-Class, especially with regards to the vehicle’s front end. The CLK-Class offers only two engine choices for buyers. The first is a 3.5 liter V6 which generates 268 horsepower and 258 lb-ft of torque. Fitted with a 7 speed automatic transmission, the V6 in the CLK350 provides the best fuel economy of the two available power trains, coming at 17 miles per gallon in city driving and 25 miles per gallon on the highway. The CLK550 benefits from a powerful 5.5 liter V8 which churns out 382 horsepower and 391 lb-ft of torque, smoothly shifted through the same automatic transmission as the CLK350.
The CLK350 coupe and convertible offer drivers a good helping of standard equipment. Inside, a wood grain dash and door panel accents combine with sumptuous leather seats that are both heated and ventilated for the ultimate in comfort. Interestingly, the trunk can also be electronically closed at the push of a button, a feature normally reserved exclusively for full-size sedans. The roof on the CLK550 Cabriolet can be retracted or raised by using the keychain remote, making it easy to deal with sudden rainstorms from a distance. Options include HID headlights, fog lights which actually turn with the steering wheel or at the activation of the turn signal, and a headlight washing system.
The CLK, in either trim, enjoys a platform which rewards drivers with excellent rigidity and response while cornering. While the vehicle may be a mid-size, the mix of comfort and performance is done extremely well, and the power of the available V8 enables the CLK550 to keep up with some of the world’s quicker sports cars. Unfortunately, the lack of a manual transmission option once again keeps Mercedes-Benz on the outside looking in when it comes to European performance coupes, but this is a position that the company has knowingly adopted, and there is no change to be seen on the horizon. The convertible version of the car uses a wind blocker to help make cockpit noise levels feel more manageable when driving at highway speeds, and the difference is noticeable.
There is nothing negative to say about the Mercedes-Benz CLK-Class. There are few mid-size coupes on the market, making the CLK-Class feel as though it is an in-between vehicle, designed to appeal to those who want something larger than a BMW 3-Series but smaller than a full-size coupe. With superb engines and an ultra modern transmission, the CLK-Class is a solid competitor with any other vehicle in its price range.
The 2009 Mercedes-Benz CLK-Class is a carryover from 2008. The 2009 CLK-Class can be had as either a coupe or a convertible, and each body style is sold in one of two trims. The CLK350 sees the installation of a 3.5 liter V6 engine that provides 268 horsepower and 258 lb-ft of torque. A 7-speed transmission is the only available gearbox, and fuel mileage for this combination comes in at 17 miles per gallon in the city and 25 miles per gallon on the highway. Upgrading to the CLK550 brings with it a 5.5 liter V8 engine that pumps out a much sturdier 382 horsepower and 391 lb-ft of torque. The transmission remains the same, and fuel mileage drops slightly to 15 miles per gallon around town and 22 miles per gallon on the highway.