Review: Mercedes-Benz CLK-Class (2002 – 2009)

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Much better second attempt at CLK. Goes well, handles well and is comfortable. Attractive looks.

Some wind noise. Electrical problems are not unknown.

Mercedes-Benz CLK-Class (2002 – 2009): At A Glance

Let's say they decide on a fairly basic CLK 240 at £29,190, plus £1,450 for an automatic gearbox, and metallic paint at £600, and leather seats at £1,250, and the mobile phone kit with roof antenna at £690. That little lot comes to £33,180. CO2 emissions are 259g/km, so 34% of £33,180, or £11,226, is the taxable BIK on which tax at 40% works out at £4,490. Now to pay £4,490 in tax at this level you have to earn £7,483, which is well over 10% of a gross annual income of £70,000. So I don't think so. I think any couple choosing a new CLK 240 as their company car will need a combined income of well over £100k a year.

And that's the essence of this car. It cannot by any stretch of the imagination be regarded as a sensible choice. It's a wealth statement, pure and simple. It tells everyone who sees you in it that, between you, you're pulling in a Seymour and more. You're rich enough to afford not to have a saloon. Or, alternatively, you're rich enough to afford several cars: a coupe, a sportscar and a 4x4.

Now there will be couples who opt for other ways of putting across this message without laying out quite so much wonga. They could put their names down for a manual CLK200K which arrives in the autumn, at £27,840 in the obligatory silver. With 206g/km equating to 25% of list, they'd be paying tax on £6,960 which comes down to a more palatable £2,784. They'll enjoy MB's newest, highest-tech supercharged engine which displaces just 1,796cc yet delivers all of 163bhp. Or they could cheat and go for the diesel.

Mercedes Benz CLK Coupe 2002 Road Test

Mercedes Benz CLK Cabrio 2003 Road Test 

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What does a Mercedes-Benz CLK-Class (2002 – 2009) cost?

Mercedes-Benz CLK-Class (2002 – 2009): What's It Like Inside?

Length 4652 mm
Width 1740 mm
Height 1413 mm
Wheelbase 2715 mm

Full specifications

The ambience is fine. The aircon works perfectly. It has nice little surprises like the piece of dashboard padding that, when you touch it, turns into a cup-holder. And its pillarless look is certainly very attractive, though one of the test cars had a bit of wind noise from the complex self-sealing side glass. There will even be a convertible version arriving just in time for next summer's all too brief attempts to enjoy some top-down motoring. And there is some lip service to practicality. The back seats fold down so you can transport things like skis, boogie boards, bicycles and lawnmowers.

Child seats that fit a Mercedes-Benz CLK-Class (2002 – 2009)

Our unique Car Seat Chooser shows you which child car seats will fit this car and which seat positions that they will fit, so that you don't have to check every car seat manufacturer's website for compatibility.

Which car seat will suit you?

What's the Mercedes-Benz CLK-Class (2002 – 2009) like to drive?

Yes, there will be a 170bhp CLK 270 CDI at £31,375 for the automatic in silver, and, since that only pumps out 178g/km CO2 they'd be up for paying BIK in 22% of list, or £6,903 to you, which translates to a mere £2,761 of the folding. But how will the Cholmodley-Wynchnortons react when you thank them for the lovely dinner, turn your key in your dashboard then waken the dead with the clatter of your tradesman's diesel engine?

Did I like this car? Put it this way: the whole point of a Mercedes coupe is to inform everyone you're definitely not a taxi driver, even if the diesel coupe tells them you'll never buy the first round. It's to give the impression you can afford to drive a coupe, even if you can't.

Now even though I fully accept that this is vitally important to some people, I'm afraid it isn't to me. I'm simply not prepared to sacrifice legroom, doors and dynamics for the sake of my social standing. And this is no offence to Mercedes because its new E Class is simply a far better car. They can give me one of those any day.

That doesn't mean that the new CLK isn't a good car in its own right. With the 500 V8, 320 V6, or even the 270 straight five diesel, it goes well. Based on the W203 C Class, it handles well, too, though not quite as well as the new E Class. It's comfortable. 

The clincher is really something else MB MD told us: They're only going to import the car in strictly limited numbers. And, if you're in the market for a classy £30,000 to £40,000 purpose built coupe, there simply isn't anything else.

Engine MPG 0-62 CO2
CLK200 Kompressor 33–34 mpg 8.8–9.3 s 198–212 g/km
CLK220 CDI 44 mpg 10.2 s 169–172 g/km

Real MPG average for a Mercedes-Benz CLK-Class (2002 – 2009)

Real MPG was created following thousands of readers telling us that their cars could not match the official figures.

Real MPG gives real world data from drivers like you to show how much fuel a vehicle really uses.

Average performance


Real MPG

17–47 mpg

MPGs submitted


Diesel or petrol? If you're unsure whether to go for a petrol or diesel (or even an electric model if it's available), then you need our Petrol or Diesel? calculator. It does the maths on petrols, diesels and electric cars to show which is best suited to you.

What have we been asked about the Mercedes-Benz CLK-Class (2002 – 2009)?

Every day we're asked hundreds of questions from car buyers and owners through Ask Honest John. Our team of experts, including the nation's favourite motoring agony uncle - Honest John himself - answer queries and conudrums ranging from what car to buy to how to care for it as an owner. If you could do with a spot of friendly advice before buying you're next car, get in touch and we'll do what we can to help.

Ask HJ

Can I connect my iPhone to the Bluetooth in my 2007 car?

I have just bought a 2007 Mercedes-Benz CLK. Do you know if its possible to connect my iPhone through the Bluetooth ?
If you try to pair your iPhone and it comes up as an available device, you have your answer. If not, you can get a device that will pair your phone to your car. This £16 unit is the best reviewed device on Amazon, it just plugs into your 12v socket: Alternatively, you can go for something more expensive like this Sony stereo that will give you full Apple CarPlay and Android Auto capability. It's expensive, but far superior to Bluetooth:
Answered by Georgia Petrie
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