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Car reviews - Mercedes-Benz - CLK-class - CLK500 Avantgarde coupe


An all-new body and 5.0-litre V8 give the larger, sexier CLK500 even more cachet

11 Mar 2003

THE Mercedes-Benz CLK's main objective is to draw back some buyers from a market segment owned by the BMW 3 Series coupe. The CLK certainly has the ingredients to do that, even if it's image is one of elegance and refinement rather than sporty BMW style - although the latter can be made available via an options list that includes plenty of AMG gear. And, in 225kW CLK500 form, don't discount it as a formidable highway express. Though a fair bit larger, it might not look hugely different to the previous CLK coupe, but some important stuff has been done to increase interior space and develop aerodynamics that are among the best in class. The latest CLK is also more refined, meaning its road manners are a step ahead of the first-generation model that came here in 1997.

The Road to Recovery podcast series

Model release date: 1 June 2002 to 1 February 2010

Previous model

Mercedes-Benz CLK430

Released: November 1999
Ended: June 2002
Family Tree: CLK-class

THE new C209 CLK's predecessor, the original CLK coupe, first appeared Down Under in October 1997, with the topless cabriolet version lobbing 12 months later in October 1998. But it wasn't until more than another year later that the first of the V8-powered C-class-based two-doors arrived, with the CLK430 Elegance and Avantgarde appearing here in November 1999 - alongside the stove-hot CLK55 AMG. The 430 Cabriolet was sold from September 2000, while the second-generation CLK500 tested here replaced the CLK430 in June 2002. A new CLK Cabriolet is due on sale by June 2003.

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