The CLK-Class from Mercedes-Benz is mid-sized coupe that was first produced in 1996. The rear-wheel drive line is based on the platforms of Mercedes’ C-Class, but most consider its body and style to be more similar to the E-class.
In its name, CLK stands for Coupe Leitcht Kurz (Coupe Light Short). Models typically use the W202 and W203 platforms from Mercedes-Benz and were made in Monterrey, Mexico, and Bremen, Germany.
The CLK-Class marked a move away to Mercedes’ business-class focus to more consumers, with the production of both coupe and convertible models. It reached consumers with lower price points and was a large success through the 1990s and 2000s.
CLK-Class models are still very common for pre-owned Mercedes-Benz options, and some models can still demand close to $50,000.
The CLK-Class came after the E-Class (C124/A124) but was also succeeded by the E-Class (C207/A207).
First Generation Models
- CLK 200 (136 HP)
- CLK 200 Kompressor (163 HP)
- CLK 230 Kompressor (193 - 197 HP)
- CLK 320 (218 HP)
- CLK 430 (279 HP)
- CLK 55 AMG (372 HP)
All of these vehicles came with leather seats and interiors, dual-zone climate controls, SmartKey keyless entry features, seats with programmable settings, and stereo systems by Bose. Some models included 17-inch wheels.
The CLK430 was the first to get stability controls in 1999, and its improved performance caused the option to become standard on all Mercedes models built after 2000.
The CLK 55 AMG was a high-performance model that came with a better suspension and performance exhaust system, as well as an optional package with seat heaters, xenon headlights, and rain-sensing windshield wipers.
Second Generation Models
The line debuted with the CLK 320 coupe that featured a five-speed automatic transmission, though this model was replaced by the CLK 350 in 2006. The line also initially featured lighter models such as the CLK 270 CDI, which had a smaller 2.7 liter, five-cylinder engine.
The CLK 350 beefed up with larger V6 engine and a seven-speed automatic transmission. The CLK 500 – in the U.S. it also became known as the 550 – hit in 2005 with a 5 liter V8 engine that increased to a 5.5-liter V8 in 2007.
The line also had a flagship couple and convertible that really knew how to move. The CLK 55 AMG featured a 5.4 liter, 24-valve SOHC V8 engine and a 5-speed automatic transmission. It was replaced by the CLK 63 AMG in 2007, with a much improved engine and transmission.
The CLK 63 AMG was actually used as the safety car in Formula One racing for a time. Mercedes-Benz offered a special version, the CLK63 AMG Black Series that lost the back seats and gained improvements to its horsepower, rear axle, and suspension.
[Specs: 1999 CLK 320 Quartz Blue 2-Door Coupe
19" Brabus MB VI knock-offs, H&R springs, AMG sides & rear, Lorinser front]