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Classy, fast, safe and chock-full of luxury, the CLK is a car that more than a few of us wouldn't mind parking in our driveways.
Solid and secure, smooth and speedy, sleek and sexy.
Heavy steering, rough ride in CLK430, tiny back seat in convertibles.
Available CLK-Class Models
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The CLK430 Convertible debuts, reminding us, for a premium price, what a drop-top muscle car from the '70s was like. Turn-signal indicators have been added to exterior mirrors, stability control is standard on all models, automatics get TouchShift manual gear selection and TeleAid emergency cellular service is standard. A new instrument cluster and multifunction steering wheel are added, and buyers can opt for the confusing COMAND navigation/phone/trip computer/sound system. CLK320s benefit from exterior cosmetic changes including new wheels, while 430s are enhanced inside with new black bird's eye maple wood trim. Free maintenance for the duration of the warranty is now included.
Don't ever call the gang at the three-pointed star lazy; they've been rolling out new cars faster than Hot Wheels. One of their latest efforts is the CLK, the latest in a string of Mercedes-Benz victories that will undoubtedly stretch into the next century.
Luxury is synonymous with Mercedes, and the CLK lives up to that name. Standard equipment is generous, and the interior is swathed in wood and leather. Based on C-Class sedan running gear and available with either a V6 or V8 in coupe or convertible format, the CLK appeals to people who place sports car performance and the availability of manual transmissions secondary to comfort and convenience. But this Benz is no slouch in the driving satisfaction department.
CLK320 models are powered by a 3.2-liter V6 engine making 215 horsepower and 229 foot-pounds of torque. Mercedes asserts that the 320 Coupe goes from zero to 60 mph in 6.9 seconds. CLK430 models receive a 275-horsepower, 4.3-liter V8 engine, which cranks out 295 ft-lbs. of twist. This shaves nearly a second off the 320's zero-to-sixty time. Power is transmitted to the rear wheels through an adaptive logic five-speed automatic transmission that features Touch Shift manual control for 2000. Either car feels well balanced in turns, but a little heavy. The 320 drives more like a sedan than a sports car: surefooted and steady rather than agile and quick. The speedy 430, on the other hand, is tuned for a firm ride and taut handling. In either case, the CLK is an attractive car that turns heads.
Safety is addressed by the CLK as well as beauty. Antilock brakes with Brake Assist and full-range Automatic Slip Control (ASR) traction control come standard. Other standard features include front and side airbags and BabySmart child-detection protection for the front passenger seat. For 2000, Electronic Stability Programming (ESP), which reduces understeer and oversteer by applying braking force to the wheel that needs it, is standard as well. TeleAid service is also standard, and will notify emergency personnel if your airbags deploy or will put you in touch with a live operator to summon medical or police assistance.
One option on the list for 2000 is the Cockpit Management and Data (COMAND) system that debuted on the redesigned S-Class. Integrating radio, navigation, telephone and trip-computer functions into one unit that displays data on a small dash-mounted screen, COMAND is fussy and distracting to operate. Unless you absolutely must have a navigation system on board, skip this option.
The CLK impresses, from the classic and elegant styling, to the smooth and powerful engines, to the comfortable and well-appointed cabin. If you're in the market for a satisfying luxury coupe, it's hard to go wrong with this beautiful Benz.
Laura's old car was costing her a small fortune every month for gas and repairs. She didn't even want to drive her kids to the park any more. But buying a new Kia Soul changed all that.