Used 1998 Mercedes-Benz CLK-Class Review

Edmunds expert review




What's new for 1998

Mercedes rolls out an all-new sport coupe that is an amalgamation of C- and SLK-Class technologies, with E-Class style up front. The CLK-Class is infused with the same 3.2-liter V6 that has made its way into the ML320 and E320.

Vehicle overview

Don't ever call the gang at the three-pointed star lazy; they've been rolling out new cars faster than Hot Wheels. Their latest effort is the CLK-Class, a C- and SLK-Class derived coupe that boasts a powerful engine, emotive styling and a comfortable interior. It is the latest in a string of Mercedes-Benz victories that will undoubtedly stretch into the next century.

With its long wheelbase and quad headlamps, the CLK-Class bears a close resemblance to the E-Class sedans and wagons. In reality, however, it does not share any body panels with any other car in the Mercedes' lineup. In size, the CLK-Class falls closer to the C-Class sedans. Its high level of standard equipment, however, places it in the loftier realm of the E-Class in terms of luxury and refinement.

Powered by a 3.2-liter V6 engine, the CLK-Class makes 215 horsepower and 229 foot-pounds of torque. Mated to Mercedes' ubiquitous five-speed automatic transmission, the engine is powerful enough to propel the car to 60 mph in less than seven seconds. The CLK-Class uses the same suspension underpinings as its topless counterpart, the SLK-Class. This means that the CLK-Class rides on a four-wheel independent suspension with a double-wishbone setup in the front and a five-link setup in the rear.

As with all Mercedes, the CLK-Class features a cornucopia of safety equipment. Traction control, antilock brakes, front and side-impact airbags, BabySmart car seats and Brake Assist are all standard on this new coupe. The newest technologies are the BabySmart system and the Brake Assist. BabySmart car seats are designed to give parents the option of letting their child ride in the front seat by deactivating the passenger side airbag via a transponder located in the BabySmart child seat. Brake Assist aids drivers by monitoring the urgency with which a brake pedal is depressed and applying full brakes if a panic situation is detected: a perfect remedy for those who don't like to pay attention to where their $40,000 car is headed.

Since this is a Mercedes sport coupe, there is plenty of luxury to go with the performance. Standard features include leather upholstery, walnut accents, a Bose stereo, power seats with three-position driver memory, heated outside mirrors and an integrated garage door opener.

Mercedes has an attractive coupe in the new CLK-Class, but we are not certain that it is going to succeed. Coupe sales have been off for years, as people have been trading their sports cars for sport-utes. Mercedes itself has just introduced a sport-utility vehicle to take advantage of this current boom. Who knows, though, maybe people will think that the CLK-Class looks nice parked between their ML320 sport-ute and E320 sedan.






Edmunds expert review process

This review was written by a member of Edmunds' editorial team of expert car reviewers. Our team drives every car you can buy. We put the vehicles through rigorous testing, evaluating how they drive and comparing them in detail to their competitors.

We're also regular people like you, so we pay attention to all the different ways people use their cars every day. We want to know if there's enough room for our families and our weekend gear and whether or not our favorite drink fits in the cupholder. Our editors want to help you make the best decision on a car that fits your life.