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What Car? says

4 out of 5 stars

For The Mercedes CLK looks fantastic, has an air of exclusivity and is good to drive

Against Used examples are expensive and not as reliable as you might expect

Verdict A classy but costly coupe, which suffers a worrying amount of niggles and faults

Go for… V6 autos

Avoid… Four cylinder manuals

Mercedes-Benz CLK Coupe
  • 1. There are occasional problems with the seats, so check that everything works as it should
  • 2. The build quality is not great, and small items of cabin trim often come loose
  • 3. There's a good selection of engines, but the V6 petrols or the diesels are the most sensible to buy
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Mercedes-Benz CLK Coupe full review with expert trade views

With the emphasis more on comfort than sport, this CLK is a great cruiser, able to cover long distances with ease.

Using the same chassis as the C-Class, the CLK rides just as well as the saloon, even with a slightly firmer suspension to give it greater poise through the bends. A six-speed manual gearbox is standard on lower models, but the five-speed automatic you find on the majority of models delivers smooth changes.

The CLK suffers little road or wind noise on the motorway, and while the engines are muted when cruising, the V6s make a pleasant growl when you work them hard.

There's plenty of space in the front and two seats in the rear, so the CLK is a spacious four-seater, although rear headroom is restricted for six-footers. At least, the large boot gives enough space for a set of cases or golf clubs.

Trade view

Martin Keighley

Prettier but a bit stodgy. 270 CDI commands high used values. Cabriolet very popular

Martin Keighley
Valuations expert,
What Car? Used Car Price Guide

There was a bewildering range of engines and gearboxes when the CLK was launched in 2003, and to add to the confusion, this was changed slightly in 2005.

Options included two smaller petrol engines (one supercharged, the other a direct-injection petrol), two V6 petrols and two V8s, including the rapid CLK 63 AMG. There was a diesel option, too, with a choice of 2.1- and 3.0-litre units.

The V6 and, especially, the diesels, are best, as they hold their value well. Manual gearboxes come on the smaller petrol and diesel option, with automatics as standard on the larger engines. Remember, automatic Mercedes sell better than manual cars, so avoid the manual cars, if you can.

All models come well kitted-out, and the only real differences between the Elegance and Avantgarde trim levels are in the alloys and interior. Cruise control, climate control and four electric windows are standard on every car. Originally, there was an entry-level Classic trim, but this was phased out in 2005.

Trade view

John Owen

Diesel 270 best. Four-cyl petrols sell well, six- and eight-cyl cars more difficult

John Owen
Buyer,
Fords of Winsford

These are desirable cars, so resale values are high, but that also means they're fairly safe investments. As a rule, they are fairly well maintained and, as Mercedes dealers are the best place to find them, most should be in good condition.

The car has an intelligent service indicator, so drive it hard and you'll be visiting the garage sooner rather than later. But, however you drive it, running costs are high, especially if you use main dealers for servicing.

You could use an independent specialist to carry out the work, and save some money in the process, but franchised dealer services histories are desirable, so the lack of one could cost you when you come to sell the car on.

The size of your insurance premiums and fuel bills varies greatly depending on the specification of your CLK. The 200K falls into insurance group 16 and returns an average of 32.5mpg, while the V8s are in insurance group 20 with an average fuel consumption of 24.8mpg.

Trade view

Martin Keighley

Prettier but a bit stodgy. 270 CDI commands high used values. Cabriolet very popular

Martin Keighley
Valuations expert,
What Car? Used Car Price Guide

The days of the legendary high Mercedes quality are long gone, and CLK owners appear to experience a number of problems.

The JD Power Survey has reported that the cars suffer from poor build in the interior, so check the trim and dashboard for problems, as replacement parts are expensive.

There have also been reports of lots of rattles, small items on the engine needing replacement, and electrical gremlins. And, while the pillarless doors look good, the windows sometimes don't sit correctly, causing a higher than normal amount of wind noise at speed.

Higher than expected tyre wear has also been reported, and in some cases they last less than 15,000 miles. So, when you look a car over, check the tread depth and the evenness of wear across the face of the tyre. And, while you're about it, check the finish on the alloy wheels, as some have suffered from peeling and discolouration problems.

Trade view

John Owen

Diesel 270 best. Four-cyl petrols sell well, six- and eight-cyl cars more difficult

John Owen
Buyer,
Fords of Winsford
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