Since 2004, the CLK-Class coupe has been tweaked, stiffened and beefed up. The car is sold as a convertible (Cabriolet), or as a coupe. Over the years, the B-pillars have been removed and an automatic soft-top, seven-speed automatic transmission and sensor-controlled roll bars disguised as head restraints have been added.
Last year, the high-performance CLK63 AMG version was only available as a convertible, but for 2008 a CLK63 AMG coupe called the Black Series is also available. The 2008 CLK350 now has a sport suspension and 18-inch wheels as standard equipment. The CLK550 is unchanged.
Rear windows in the pillar-less coupe retract fully to create an open, airy feeling. Mercedes-Benz's three-pointed star sits at the center of a low, wide grille. Twin ellipses form a single headlight unit on each side of the grille. The CLK63 AMG features a front air dam and side skirts among other exterior tweaks that set it apart from the standard CLK.
Elegance is the CLK350's front-end theme, while sportiness takes precedence in the CLK550. The CLK63 AMG has a hunkered-down stance with bulging fenders, taking inspiration from Mercedes-Benz's race cars. For 2008, the CLK350 has 18-inch wheels as standard equipment.
Each model holds four occupants on leather-upholstered seats; the rear seat is split and folds. When front occupants close their doors, an arm extends to deliver the seat belt buckle. Vertical LCD bar graphs are used for fuel and coolant-temperature gauges.
Standard equipment includes a Tele Aid emergency assistance system, automatic dual-zone air conditioning with a sun sensor, 10-way power front seats and rain-sensing wipers. A Harman Kardon LOGIC7 system offers seven-channel digital surround sound.
Mercedes' Keyless Go system unlocks and starts the car via buttons on the door handles and gearshift knob, respectively. Additional options include bi-xenon headlights, a navigation system and a Parktronic system that detects obstacles to the rear. There's also an electronic truck closer that lets you close the trunk with a button inside the cabin or on the trunk itself.
Under the Hood
A 268-horsepower, 3.5-liter V-6 goes into the CLK350 coupe and Cabriolet, while a 382-hp, 5.5-liter V-8 powers CLK550 models. The CLK63 AMG Cabriolet holds a 475-hp V-8 that makes 465 pounds-feet of torque. The CLK63 Black Series coupe makes 500 hp, and Mercedes-Benz estimates its zero to 60 mph time at 4.1 seconds. All models use a seven-speed automatic transmission. Touch Shift permits manually selected gear changes.
CLK-Class models have four side-impact airbags. The front-seat side-impact airbags in Cabriolets provide head and thorax protection. Coupes have full-length side curtain airbags. Antilock brakes and an electronic stability system are standard.