Car Reviews: Mercedes-Benz CLK-Class Coupe CLK 220 CDI Avantgarde – The AA

25 Mar 2015 | Author: | Comments Off on Car Reviews: Mercedes-Benz CLK-Class Coupe CLK 220 CDI Avantgarde – The AA
Mercedes-Benz CLK-Class

Car safety


Attractive exterior will get you noticed wherever you go Cabin is spacious, with even the rear seats useable for adults Diesel variants make CLK ownership that bit more affordable With demand strong, CLK residuals are a good indicator as to the car’s popularity


Options list is long and includes certain expensive items that really should be standard It’s easy to unsettle the auto gearbox, and the resulting ‘clunks’ are not what you’d expect Performance of entry-level petrol variant is lacklustre Although a useful extra, Mercedes’ COMAND sat-nav system is fiddly to operate

Looking more like an E-Class coupe than the C-Class it’s based on, Mercedes’ CLK Coupe is a car that prefers to cosset rather than stir you. Although there isn’t much to choose from in the premium coupe sector, if you don’t like the hard riding BMW 3 Series you’re going to better off in the Mercedes. It’s one reason why so many drivers of a mature persuasion opt for the three-pointed star.

You either want one or you don’t. It’s a stark fact, but at this level the decision as to which premium coupe to buy often boils down to a choice between Mercedes’ offering and BMW’s 3 Series Coupe. What’s not always appreciated is that the two cars boast very different personalities: the CLK is the soft, refined one while the 3 Series is a more racy, harder-edged driving companion.

And that’s the CLK in a nutshell; it’s for people who have money but nothing left to prove. If you’re comfortable with you personal circumstances, the CLK will suit you down to the ground. However, you will need a fair amount of cash to acquire one.

In true Mercedes tradition, the car’s list of cost options is long and often expensive. You’ll need top tick a few boxes though, as some things should really be standard on even the ‘cheaper’ cars – automatic transmission, parking sensors, CD changer. These are the items that the likes of Lexus dish out as a matter of course.

But it’s fair to say that the power of the three-pointed star is the culprit here. For many the badge rules the head during the buying decision, and with good reason if you care to examine the CLK’s residual values. They’re pretty good by current standards – so long as you choose the right options.

Our verdict on the Mercedes-Benz CLK-Class Coupe CLK 220 CDI Avantgarde

For a car that’s often sold on the basis of its looks and the image its prospective owners want to portray, the CLK is something that shouldn’t really be taken at face value. Look past the hype and it’s surprisingly competent on the road and practical if used as a daily runabout.

Although the slow, entry-level cars are disappointing, that’s the only negative thing worth saying about the CLK.


It’s easy to pay dearly for the CLK – or any Mercedes – as the company’s options list is long, tempting and includes some items that really should be standard. It’s worth opting for a diesel variant if you want anything resembling sensible fuel economy. Premium cars command premium servicing prices, and the CLK is no different.

The same is true of insurance. On the bright side, residual values are strong for cars like the CLK, so look on the purchase as a future investment.

Space and practicality

Although hardly a family car, a young family would rarely feel compromised. There’s enough room in the back for a pair of teenagers – long journeys and adults are best avoided, while the CLK’s boot is big enough to swallow a pushchair or the weekly shop but probably not both at the same time. Elsewhere the front door bins are a decent size, and the same is true of the centre console cubby.

Specify a CD changer and the glove box shrinks dramatically in size, though.

Controls and display


Car security

Car safety

Twin front, side and window airbags are fitted to all CLK variants, along with anti lock brakes, brake assist and an electronic stability and anti-skid programme. Given the torque produced by even the least powerful diesel engine, the latter aids will come in very useful during the winter months. Depending on the variant, powerful xenon headlamps can be selected, while automatic headlamp activation is a standard feature.

Driver appeal

Mercedes-Benz CLK-Class

For a car that’s usually associated with cruising over long distances, the CLK acquits itself well if you fancy some spirited motoring. The steering is on the heavy side but, combined with essential (but optional on some variants) auto gearbox, the car can be entertaining. For a compliant ride, steer clear of bigger alloy wheels, while you’ll find the diesels often out perform the low low-end petrol cars in terms of torque and ease of driving.

Family car appeal

First car appeal

Quality and image

For many buyers, just the sight of a Mercedes badge is enough for them to excuse a car’s quirks and hand over the cash. That three-pointed badge is an important status symbol to many people, and it would be wrong to underestimate the influence it has on residual values – assuming you choose the right options. Quality-wise Mercedes has taken a beating in recent years; cost cutting and an explosion in new models has, critics would say, overstretched the company.

More recent products are much improved, although there is still evidence of corner cutting with some cabin trim.


Front seat occupants will have little difficulty getting in or out of the CLK. The car’s two doors open wide and, so long as the seats aren’t on their lowest height setting, a dignified exit is nearly always guaranteed. The same can’t be said for rear seat occupants.

The very nature of a two-door coupe dictates that accessing the rear will be a compromise, and the CLK is no different. The fronts will fold forward in a generous manner, but even agile adults will have to be careful not to bang their heads on the way in. Although hardly dignified, reversing out is often the easiest way of exiting the car.

Stereo and ICE (In car entertainment)

Standard fit is a single CD player and combined radio unit, which does a fine job and comes with remote buttons on the steering wheel for the major controls. The display can be difficult to read in direct sunlight, although the radio station or track number is available as a function of the car’s comprehensive trip computer. A basic sat-nav system is a cost option, although the next system up is the more familiar COMAND audio and navigation unit complete with colour screen.

A hard-wired mobile phone is also offered.

Mercedes’ striking CLK Coupe boasts plenty of kerb appeal

Colours and trim

You can be forgiven for thinking that Mercedes invented the colour silver – so many of its cars are chosen in this popular hue. It’s a good choice, but it’s far from original. Black is another colour worth considering not just because it’s different, but also because it’s classy and shows off the car’s chrome detailing. Black features heavily inside the CLK, especially if you opt for the expensive-looking glossy trim for the centre console.

As with any high-end Mercedes, it will pay – literally – to ditch the standard seats for optional leather items.

Mercedes-Benz CLK-Class
Mercedes-Benz CLK-Class
Mercedes-Benz CLK-Class
Mercedes-Benz CLK-Class
Mercedes-Benz CLK-Class
Mercedes-Benz CLK-Class
Mercedes-Benz CLK-Class
Mercedes-Benz CLK-Class

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