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The resident luxury-car enthusiasts at TheCarConnection.com studied a wide range of road tests from around the Web to compile this comprehensive review of the 2008 Mercedes-Benz CLK-Class. Editors from TheCarConnection.com also drove the Mercedes-Benz CLK and added their firsthand driving impressions where they help you to make a more informed decision.
The Mercedes-Benz CLK-Series debuted in its current form in 2003. That year, the CLK coupe was released, and the convertible came out in 2004. Why do editors at TheCarConnection.com bother to fill you in on this history? Because the 2008 Mercedes-Benz CLK-Class may be the last model year for this generation of CLK. Experts at TheCarConnection.com know that an all-new CLK Coupe will break cover late in 2008 as a 2009 model, with the cabriolet coming as a 2010 model.
But if you want this Benz today, the 2008 Mercedes-Benz CLK-Class offers several good options. There are coupe and convertible versions of the four-passenger 2008 Mercedes-Benz CLK. The five models include the V-6-powered CLK350 Coupe and Cabriolet, the V-8-powered CLK550 Coupe and Cabriolet, and the uber-exciting high-performance CLK63 AMG Cabriolet. The 3.5-liter V-6 engines produce a fully satisfying 268 horsepower, while the larger 5.5-liter V-8s produce 382 horsepower. The even larger hand-assembled 6.2-liter high-performance V-8 in the AMG model produces an asphalt-smoking 475 horsepower that can propel its surrounding convertible body to 60 mph in approximately 4.6 seconds. All 2008 Mercedes-Benz CLK-Class cars use a seven-speed automatic transmission.
Those of you fully entrenched in everything Mercedes-Benz also know that 350 copies of the 500-horsepower CLK63 AMG Black Series were available to U.S. buyers early in 2008. But the chances of finding a new one by the time you read this are slim, so as impressive as this model is, we're not going to focus on it here.
The 2008 Mercedes-Benz CLK-Class, regardless of body style, is a handsome car with a modern yet classic Mercedes-Benz appearance. Unlike on some other Benzes, the look isn't forced. Editors at TheCarConnection.com like that all V-8 models get AMG styling details, including a different front air dam.
Inside the 2008 Mercedes-Benz CLK-Class, there's plenty of room up front, and the rear seats are acceptable for modest cross-town trips. But if you really wanted room for four or five, you'd pick a sedan, right? Detailing is a Mercedes-Benz strong suit, and the leather mixed with chrome accents are pleasingly blended.
Safety-wise, electronic stability control and a full range of airbags (including side curtains in coupes) help the 2008 CLK-Class accept accolades as being prudent and thoughtful. In these days of retractable hardtops, some buyers might see the CLK Cabriolet's soft top as a safety issue. Experts from TheCarConnection.com don't, but we appreciate the extra refinement these tops provide.
Dynamically, acceleration is never an issue with the 2008 Mercedes-Benz CLK-Class. Of course, V-8 models are quite impressive when moving away from a stop. Editors from TheCarConnection.com have only one complaint (and it's a common issue with several Mercedes-Benz vehicles): The steering feel isn't the best. It tends to be slower than our enthusiastic drivers like, and there is a "dead" spot on center. Aside from this flaw, the 2008 Mercedes-Benz CLK-Class, regardless of which powertrain or body style you select, would be easy to live with.
BMW serves up two potential CLK competitors: the BMW 6 Series on the upper end and the BMW 3 Series at the lower end. The BMWs tend to be more performance-oriented and offer their M Series cars to face off against the 2008 Mercedes-Benz CLK63 AMG.