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Mercedes CLK (1997-2002) Buying Guide

Mercedes CLK (1997-2002)
Mercedes CLK (1997-2002)Mercedes CLK (1997-2002)Mercedes CLK (1997-2002)Mercedes CLK (1997-2002)Mercedes CLK (1997-2002)Mercedes CLK (1997-2002)Mercedes CLK (1997-2002)Mercedes CLK (1997-2002)Pictures shown may not represent exact model specified

by Richard Dredge

If you want to arrive in style, few cars are up to the task like a Mercedes. Usually brilliantly engineered and fabulously comfortable, long-distance cruisers don't come more discreet than this. However, there are several potential costly problems that can crop up and thanks to its rock-solid image, residuals are very strong - so you'll pay heavily to drive behind that three-pointed star.

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We LikeWe Don't Like
Inert handling
High prices
Key Dates 
6/97First CLK is launched into the market, in 200, 230K and 320 forms.
6/98CLK 230K and 320 cabriolets are launched.
5/99CLK55 AMG is introduced, in coupé form only.
8/99CLK430 reaches showrooms, in coupé and cabriolet forms.
6/00CLK 200K cabriolet joins range, 200 engine is now supercharged and the 230K gets a new engine with a six-speed manual gearbox (previously a five-speed unit).
  • Tyres can wear unevenly, especially if suspension bushes have worn out.
  • Rear window heater can pack in because of a faulty earth.
  • Listen for wind noise from badly fitted door seals.
  • If buying a diesel, check the glowplugs are working properly; does the light go out quickly?
  • Rust is often an issue, especially around the door handles and indicator repeaters.
  • Wiper arm can fail; check for play indicating wear.
  • Ensure LCD dash readout hasn't faded; they can disappear altogether.
  • Automatic transmission oil cooler can fail, leading to coolant entering the transmission and destroying it.

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