Watch How The Mercedes CLK-Class Evolved Through The Years
2 August 2018 - Motor1
Or, just revisit the awesomeness that is the CLK GTR.
We love checking out the various incarnations of car evolution videos on YouTube. The latest from Cars Evolution walks us through the brief history of the Mercedes-Benz CLK-Class, which spent 12 years either infatuating or infuriating auto enthusiasts, depending on your disposition towards the category. That's because the CLK was a curious melding of E-Class looks with C-Class underpinnings. To some the combination was like peanut butter and jelly, others felt it was more like peanut butter and battery acid.
No matter where you fall on the CLK chart, pretty much everyone agrees the CLK GTR – which technically was part of the CLK-Class – was an amazing machine. It was arguably the greatest supercar of the 1990s, built to go racing with just 26 examples made for the road. After a ho-hum CLK introduction with the 1997 CLK 320 Coupe the video reminds us just how much we love the GTR, while likely providing a GTR education to some. That's because the video shows us two rare versions that are often forgotten – the CLK GTR Supersport with a bigger 7.3-liter V12, and the CLK GTR Roadster. Two Supersports and six Roadsters were built, and we still lust for them today as much as we did in the early 2000s.
The CLK GTR is an extremely tough act to follow, but the video does give us a nice review of AMG's involvement in the CLK-Class through the years. We forgot just how cool the 2003 CLK 55 AMG was; we'd have one over the newer 2007 CLK 63 AMG also featured in the video despite the significant power difference. The video ends with the 2009 CLK 500, which also wraps up the CLK experiment – Mercedes-Benz morphed the models back into the E-Class for 2010.
Watching this video, it's easy to forget that this branch of Mercedes also was home to the forgettable CLK 200, and these days you can pick up a CLK 230 Kompressor for about the same price as a new pair of shoes. We even had our own Motor1.com family squabble about the CLK-Class back in late 2016, with scribes Anthony Karr and Chris Bruce taking sides on whether the first-generation CLK was worthy of worst sports cars classification.
Love it or hate it, the moniker did produce some memorable machines.