The CLK coupe is easy to get used to and with a suggested retail price of $39,850, that might be enough for some of you who are looking in that price range. It would be enough for me, because in answer to a very often asked question, \”what car would I buy for myself\”, I quickly respond – I don’t know, because there are too many variables. How much money do I have to spend on a car?
Mercedes is at the top of my list, but if you’re like me, your mood and your situation in life will dictate which car you buy. If money weren’t an object, one of each would do just fine, but since that isn’t likely for most of us, the car that satisfies most of my wants and needs right now would probably be Mercedes.
It is simply the best overall car in my opinion. It is elegant, safety conscious and a real performer. Simply put, no other car feels like a Mercedes. It’s a wonderful handling car for such an elegant, smooth riding, powerful, quiet and one that makes a statement about the quality of life we choose to live. It is 500 pounds heavier than the BMW M3 and other competitors, for example. It is as macho as Jaguar is dainty, which explains why Jag’s appeal more to the female driver.
In the area of reliability, Mercedes-Benz is rated very good on the list of problems per 100 cars according to J.D. Powers. In addition, this CLK has great styling and it gives the impression that it is much larger than it is. It feels like a four door; however, if you take a lot of long trips with four people this coupe will quickly show its size. Although the CLK resembles the E-Class it is lower and its grill, headlights and windshield are more swept back, which I like a lot.
It has a spacious trunk that is nearly the same size as in the C-Class sedan and is 11 cu ft as compared to the BMW M3 Coupe that has a 9 cu ft trunk. In addition the standard 60/40 split folding seatback allows for even more carrying capacity. To make it easier to get in and out of the rear seat, CLK provides an Easy Entry system that quickly moves the seat forward. My engineer friend, Merkle, owns the new M3 and takes exception with the industry inclusion of M3 as a competitor of the CLK. He says they are very different kinds of cars. He feels the M3 is more of a performance car and the CLK is more of a luxury car. Ok Merkle, I’ll give you that, and take the luxury over 0-60 in 5.7 seconds.
Speaking of power, the CLK320 comes with an all-new 3.2-liter V6 215-hp engine that will take you from 0-60 miles per hour in a respectable 6.9 seconds. The sports car handling and the luxury car ride that I love, comes from the same double wishbone front suspension as the SLK roadster and the same five-link independent rear suspension design used on all Mercedes passenger cars.
I also love high tech stuff and it doesn’t get much better. Mercedes is tops on such features as the ASR traction control that keeps you safe on slippery roads whether caused by rain, snow or even gravel. It detects when one rear wheel is spinning faster than the other and selectively applies the brake to that wheel to restore traction, and if that’s not enough it will reduce engine power by backing off the electronic throttle, more quickly than the driver could possibly react.
Arguably – BMW M3 $39,700 – $45,900 Cadillac Eldorado $38,495 – $42,695 Lexus SC 300/400 $40,900 – $52,700 Lincoln Mark VIII $37,830 – $39,320 Volvo $38,995. But in my book Mercedes is unique and in a class of its own.
Luxurious features, new exciting styling, plush ride and great safety features, few problems per hundred cars.
Road feel is numbed for a performance car.
3.2 liter V6 215 hp engine, 5-speed automatic trans, dual air bags plus side air bag, 4-wheel disc ABS brakes, traction control, leather upholstery and burl walnut wood trim; Bose 8-speaker audio system with cassette player and weatherband; dual-zone climate control with filter; 10-way power-adjustable front seats with 3-position memory, express-down power windows & door locks, tilt steering, dual heated power side-view mirrors; rear defrost, cruise control, alloy wheels, and the most advanced anti-theft system called SmartKey
EPA numbers are 21 City and 29 Highway MPG.
MSRP is $ 39,850