The Mercedes-Benz CLK320 belongs to the CLK class, a lineup of mid-size rear-wheel drive coupes/convertibles. The CLK320 was one of the first autos in a group of luxury sedans manufactured by the German auto maker to boast high performance and immaculate style. Tracing its journey through the years--the transformations it underwent and innovations added to it--is a journey in itself.
1996-2003: First Generation
The CLK320, possessing 215 metric horsepower, was among the first-generation versions of the Mercedes-Benz CLK class, along with the CLK200 (136 hp), CLK200 Kompressor (163 hp), CLK230 Kompressor (193 hp), CLK430 (279 hp), and CLK55 AMG (372 hp). Introduced as a model year 1997 vehicle, the CLK320 Coupe was powered by a 3.2-liter V6 engine.
The convertible came with a powered, three-layer soft top with a rear glass window and a reinforced chassis and body to prevent flexing over rough roads. Other standard features included leather seats, wood interior trim, a leather-wrapped steering wheel, two-zone climate control, cruise control, dual power-adjustable front seats, a keyless entry system, power-heated mirrors, a tilt/telescoping steering column, and airbag systems, with the stability control system becoming standard in 1999.
A facelift was also launched in 1999 which incorporated a revised instrument cluster with a bigger multifunction display, steering wheel with controls for the multifunction display and radio, Tiptronic automatic gearbox, revised bumpers and new side skirts, and side-view mirror-mounted turn signals.
2002-2009: Second Generation
Still powered by a 3.2-L, 18-valve single overhead camshaft (SOHC) V6 engine, the CLK320 has a five-speed automatic transmission and is equipped with 17-inch alloy wheels. The Mercedes-Benz CLK320 Cabriolet was released in 2004, with a base price marked at a cool $52,770.
Some might say that the car is expensive, but the car is worth every penny as the driver is given the ultimate experience in deluxe driving. The CLK320 looks and feels expensive as its body combines classic design with fine tailoring and the interior is luxuriously dressed in creamy leather, polished burled walnut, and bright metallic accents; plus, its structure is as solid as a bowling ball, isolating road noises and churning out smooth, tranquil torque.
Appearance upgrades were added to the CLK320 in 2005 such as a new center console and shift knob, as well as new standard wheels and a new 10-speaker Harmon Kardon stereo system. All in all, owners of the Mercedes-Benz CLK320 reported that the convertible was a fun and sporty car to drive, with good handling, styling, and luxury features.
The big-on-comfort-and-powertrain-refinement Mercedes-Benz CLK320 was replaced by the 268-hp CLK350 which operates under a 3.5-liter 24-valve dual overhead cam (DOHC) V6 engine and has a seven-speed automatic transmission.