2005 CLK-Class New Car Test Drive
The Mercedes-Benz CLK offers sporty performance, elegant design, and interior luxury. The CLK-Class represents a full line of two-door coupes and convertibles. With its stylish exterior and elegant interior, the CLK is a treat just to look at or sit in, and carries Mercedes cachet to the front door of any destination.
Out on the highway, the CLK is even more satisfying, with responsive performance. The ride is firm but comfortable on high-speed interstates; with confident, level cornering the CLK is even more satisfying on backroad curves.
Drivers seeking high performance can opt for the powerful V8 in the CLK500, and the enthusiast might even take on the CLK55 AMG, but most owners will be very happy with the 215-horsepower CLK320. The CLK320 has a five-speed automatic transmission with manual override. The mid-level CLK500 has been upgraded for 2005 with a new seven-speed automatic transmission.
Its relatively small size makes the CLK easy to park and maneuver. At the same time, with back seats roomy for two adults, this is no cramped sports car limited to two occupants.
Three models comprise the CLK-Class and each is available as a two-door coupe or cabriolet. Each offers progressively higher levels of performance, but are otherwise similarly equipped.
The CLK320 coupe ($45,250) and cabriolet ($52,700) are powered by a 3.2-liter V6, which develops 215 horsepower at 5700 rpm and 229 pound-feet of torque from 3000 to 4600 rpm. Power is transferred through a five-speed electronically controlled automatic transmission with software that adapts shift points to suit the driver's style. The TouchShift system allows the driver to shift manually.
The CLK500 coupe ($53,750) and cabriolet ($61,200) get a 5.0-liter V8 that produces 302 horsepower at 5600 rpm and 339 pound-feet of torque from 2700 to 4250 rpm. The engine is coupled to a seven-speed electronically controlled automatic transmission with driver-adaptive shift points and TouchShift, now with steering-wheel-mounted gearshift buttons.
The CLK55 AMG coupe ($69,900) and cabriolet ($80,850) are limited-production, ultra high-performance models with a 5.4-liter V8 rated at 362 horsepower at 5750 rpm and 376 pound-feet of torque at 4000 rpm. The CLK55 is fitted with an AMG-modified SpeedShift five-speed driver-adaptive automatic transmission that can be shifted manually using the gearshift lever or Formula 1-style controls on the steering wheel.
All CLK models boast a long list of standard equipment including: 10-way adjustable power seats with three memory settings; ABS with emergency brake assist; electronic stability control; and dual-zone climate control with pollen and dust filter. All boast extremely well-equipped and attractive interiors, with two-tone leather and aluminum trim available as an option on the CLK500 and an exclusive, monochromatic black interior on the CLK55 AMG. An appearance package featuring 17-inch five-spoke alloy wheels, low profile tires and various chrome, brushed-aluminum interior burl wood trim pieces is now standard on the CLK320.
A notable addition to the line's robust list of standard features is Mercedes' Tele Aid system, which calls an emergency response center and gives the car's location in the event any seatbelt tensioning retractor or airbag deploys. The cabriolet also boasts a new design of side-impact airbag mounted in the front seat that adds head protection to the usual chest protection expected from such systems.
Options include a navigation system combined with a computerized management system for stereo and air conditioning ($2,210); Distronic, an adaptive, radar-based cruise control ($3,010); SIRIUS Satellite Radio ($679); a Comfort Package available only on the CLK320 and CLK500 and consisting of ventilated seats and multi-contour front seats ($1,200); a keyless automatic-unlocking and engine-start system ($1,060); and Parktronic, a park-assist system ($1,080).