The Mercedes-Benz CLK is the definition of top notch German engineering, providing its passengers the most comfortable ride, a powerful performance from its V6 and 230K engines, and a variety in its three versions from the original: Elegance, Sport, and Avantgarde. There’s also the Final Edition variation that was released at the tail end period of the CLK’s life.
The CLK engine range has been largely improved over time, with the 200K Kompressor unit being replacing its underpowered earlier version. There’s also the lively 230K engine, the quick 430 V8, and the 320 V6. As expected from a Mercedes-Benz, the CLKs engines are able to accelerate rapidly and shifting between gears is smooth.
Grip and balance is also impressive in the CLK thanks to the model’s innovative traction control system. Although the back end has a tendency to skid along slippery roads, the CLK has no problems cruising smoothly along motorways.
If you’re after softer lines and a graceful finish, go for the Elegance CLK. Each of the model’s variations provide specific kinds of looks for different tastes. The Avantgarde edition features more of the harder lines and removes the chrome finishings seen in the others.
The CLK’s large boot makes it big enough to fit a large volume of luggage. Then there’s the two-door design that makes it accessible but tends to be tight at certain times. But the situation wouldn’t be cause for trouble between family members trying to get into the car. The boot, fuel, and doors all automatically lock when the vehicle goes beyond a five mph speed.
Drivers won’t have problems trying to find their ideal seating position behind the wheel. Navigating through the dashboard is also quite easy thanks to its clean finish and clear arrangements.
All models come with equipment that goes beyond the basic. All versions include a high level brake light, a semi-automatic soft top, door exit wheels, a tinted glass with bandfilter, and 205/55 R16 tyres. The interior already includes electric windows, front and rear centre armrests, twin front and side airbags, a gearshift, and a leather steering wheel, and an alarm/immobilizer.
For the top of the range equipment, the Sport offers a seven-speaker system but the Elegance and Avantgarde have eight. The Avantgarde model includes a Speedtronic cruise control, a Dark Sapelli wood trim, an illuminated console box, and a multifunction steering wheel.
Unfortunately there’s not much legroom in the CLK, particularly for the one seated behind the driver. Nonetheless all seats are comfortable and supportive enough for anyone going on long trips and tiring drives.
Although most of the engines are strong, the 230K tends to be loud. Ride and handling is excellent on most conditions but expect a few surprises when you corner. Stirring also becomes unresponsive at times and anaesthetized at different points. A more weighted feel would have made cruising through bends a more memorable and convenient drive.
Like most Mercedes-Benz models, the CLK delivers power and a smooth performance when it matters. A sleek and sure finish is assured both outside and inside.
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