Mercedes-Benz W209

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2003-2006 Mercedes-Benz CLK320 coupe

The Mercedes-Benz W209 cars have been produced since 2002. They are sold under the CLK-Class model names. The W209 is based on the W203 C-Class. It replaced the C208 CLK-Class after 2004 which were the first car to carry the CLK moniker.

The W209 is available in two body styles, a coupe and a cabriolet, and is manufactured with diesel and petrol engines ranging from four cylinder (CLK200) to eight cylinder (CLK500 and CLK63AMG). The cabriolet (Designated with an A, as in CLK500A) features a fully automatic retractable soft top covered by a metal tonneau that can be raised and lowered from outside the vehicle using the key fob.

A W209 CLK AMG DTM was produced as a MY2006 in both a coupe and later cabriolet model. Styling cues were taken from the C-Class race car used for the German Deutsche Tourenwagen Masters racing series. The car includes a wider body, rear wing spoiler, carbon fiber accents, and upgraded suspension.

Market position and competitors

The CLK is designed to fill the mid-luxury market position for coupes and convertibles. It is Mercedes-Benz’s only 4-seat cabriolet. Its direct competitors in the cabriolet market are the Volvo C70 and the Lexus SC430, although it is available with larger engines than any of its direct competitors. The CLK is positioned midway between the BMW 3 series coupe/cabriolet and the BMW 6 series coupe/cabriolet.


2004 Mercedes-Benz CLK55 AMG coupé
2004 Mercedes-Benz CLK55 AMG cabriolet

Performance is electronically limited to 135 mph (217 km/h) in the CLK350 and CLK500 models, and to 155 mph (249 km/h) in the CLK55 model. An AMG factory option is available for an unrestricted top speed.

The Electronic Stability Control (ESP) and Anti-lock braking system (ABS) are both aids to handling, making such feats as a 90’ degree turn on a typical two lane intersection from 50 mph (80 km/h) possible using simple hard braking and turning with no significant fishtailing. The ESP system cannot be turned off - it makes intentional high-power fishtailing impossible without using a factory test protocol that end-users generally cannot enable.

Each model seats four and in the US this includes an all-leather interior with burl walnut trim. For Europe the models are available as "Elegance" or "Avantgarde" versions, basically Luxury or Sport specification where the Elegance uses Burr Walnut trim and polished alloy wheels the Avantgarde uses alloy trim and chunky wheels. The price and specification for European models is otherwise the same. The 4 cyl. cars wear 16" wheels, while the CLK320, CLK350 and CLK500 come with 17 inch (432 mm) alloy wheels, the CLK55 AMG sports 18" (457 mm). The cabriolets have a remote-operated automatic soft-top and sensor-controlled roll bars. Since 2000, all US cars come standard with a Tele Aid emergency assistance system, automatic dual-zone air conditioning, 10-way power front seats and rain-sensing windshield wipers. Seven-channel digital surround sound comes standard. A Keyless Go system, navigation system, Parktronic system, and bi-xenon HID headlamps are all available as options. All models come with four side airbags. European cars differ considerably and are usually specced depending on the buyer's needs.

The cars have a manual sport/comfort mode switch that sets the automatic transmission to start in 2nd gear and shift earlier in comfort mode. With the new 7-speed transmission, the car is about 20% more fuel-efficient compared to the 5-speed, with no loss of performance. In the CLK500, at 80 mph (130 km/h), the 5-speed transmission runs at about 3000 rpm, while the 7-speed runs at about 2200 rpm. In the AMG model, the transmission can be set to remain longer in lower gears for higher performance.

The 5-speed CLK500 gets an average of 15mpg in city driving conditions, whereas the 7-speed CLK500 get an average of about 18mpg under the same conditions. Both add about 3mpg for highway driving.

The W209 CLK-Class is 2.4 inches (61 mm) longer, 0.7 inches (18 mm) wider and 1.1 inch (28 mm) higher than its predecessor.

  • The CLK320 featured a 3.2 L, 18-valve single overhead cam (SOHC) V6 engine and a five-speed automatic transmission. The base price is US$46,000 for the coupé and US$53,600 for the cabriolet. The CLK320 was replaced by the CLK350 for 2006.
  • The CLK350 features a 3.5 L, 24-valve dual overhead cam (DOHC) V6 engine and a seven-speed automatic transmission. The base price is US$45,750 for the coupé and US$53,700 for the cabriolet.
  • The CLK500 features a 5.0 L, 24-valve SOHC V8 engine and a seven-speed automatic transmission. The base price is US$54,600 for the coupé and US$62,200 for the cabriolet. The CLK500 was replaced by the CLK550 for 2007.
  • The CLK550 features a 5.5L 32-valve V-8 engine and a seven-speed automatic transmission. The base price is US$55,675 for the coupé.
  • The CLK55 AMG features a 5.4 L, 24-valve SOHC V8 engine and a 5-speed automatic transmission. The base price is US$69,900 for the coupé and US$82,000 for the cabriolet. The CLK55 AMG coupé was dropped in North America after the 2005 model year, though the cabriolet is still offered. The CLK55 was replaced by the CLK63 for 2007.
  • The CLK63 AMG features a 6.2L V8 with a seven-speed automatic transmission. Available in both Coupé and Cabriolet, the CLK63 has 481 hp (354 kW) and 465 lb·ft (630 newton m) of torque. Compared to its predecessor the CLK63 has 31% more power and 23% more torque. The CLK63 was used as the Safety Car in the 2006 and 2007 Formula One World Championships. It accelerates from 0-60 mph in 4.3 seconds.

In Europe there was also the CLK 200 K (1.8 R4), CLK 220 CDI (2.1 R4 diesel), CLK 240 (2.6 V6), CLK 270 CDI (2.7 R5 diesel), CLK 280 (3.0 V6), CLK 320 CDI (3.0 V6 diesel); (all standard with 6-speed manual transmission, automatic transmission is optional) 2004 Mercedes-Benz CLK55 AMG cabriolet 2004 Mercedes-Benz CLK55 AMG cabriolet

Comfort and convenience

Mercedes-Benz concentrates its ergonomic design engineering efforts on subtle luxuries, such as seat-belt presenters, automatically lowering headrests when the seat is moved back so that it’s in the correct position for tall drivers, and lowering the passenger side mirror to show the curb when the car is in reverse.

More obvious conveniences include automatically dimming mirrors, in-dash navigation instructions, steering wheel control of audio system, iPod, and integrated telephone system, and cornering fog lamps that illuminate the road when you turn in the same direction as the turn indicators signal.

Model changes

Facelifted Mercedes-Benz CLK320CDI cabrio (D)
2007-present Mercedes-Benz CLK350 coupe (US)

The W209 was introduced in 2002. At introduction, it was available with a 3.2 liter engine, a 5.0 liter engine, and a 5.5 liter engine. The 2004 CLK was the last Mercedes Benz automobile to use the venerable D2B (Digital Data Bus) optical fiber media system introduced a decade earlier. The most obvious problem with this system was the clearly obsolete CD-ROM based navigation system.

The 2005 update included a new 3.5 liter 6 cylinder and the MOST (Media Oriented Serial Transport) media system used in the rest of the Mercedes Benz line, bringing along a significantly upgrade DVD based navigation system and iPod integration as optional features. The 2006 included an improved 3.5 liter 6 cylinder engine and added the steering wheel shift paddles from the AMG model to the CLK500.

The new model of the CLK will be called the E class coupe. It will no longer be based on the C class and will come out at a similar time to the new E class. The debut is predicted for the northern hemisphere spring 2009.

Other appearances

  • The CLK 63 AMG was used as the Safety Car in the 2006 and 2007 Formula One World Championships, replacing the previously used SLK 55 AMG.

Related development

Mercedes-Benz CLK GTR

External links