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2006 Mercedes-Benz CLK-Class

2006 Mercedes-Benz CLK-Class
New engine brings more power.

By Tom Lankard

Review Pages
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1. Overview
2. Walkaround and Interior
3. Driving Impressions
4. Summary, Prices, Specs

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Overview

The 2006 Mercedes-Benz CLK-Class includes a full line of two-door, four-seat coupes and convertibles offering sporty performance, elegant design, and interior luxury. With its stylish exterior and elegant interior, the CLK is a treat just to look at or sit in, and carries Mercedes cachet to the front door of any destination.

On the open road, the CLK is even more satisfying, with responsive performance and excellent high-speed stability. The ride is firm but comfortable. And the CLK tackles back roads with confident, level cornering, making it a joy for spirited driving.

Drivers seeking more performance can opt for the powerful V8 in the CLK500, while the truly deranged enthusiast might spring for the CLK55 AMG. The CLK500 was upgraded for 2005 with a seven-speed automatic, while the CLK55 is hooked to an AMG-modified five-speed automatic with AMG SpeedShift control.

Most buyers, however, will be very happy with the CLK350, which features a new 268-horsepower V6 and a new seven-speed automatic transmission for 2006.

The CLK is easy to live with. Its relatively small size makes it easy to park and maneuver in crowded areas, a description that fits nearly everywhere nowadays. At the same time, with back seats are roomy enough for two adults. This is no cramped sports car limited to two occupants.

A new grille and redesigned taillights freshen the looks of all of the 2006 CLK models. The 2006 CLK350s also get a redesigned front apron and new wheels.

Model Lineup

The Mercedes-Benz CLK-Class is made up of three models. Each is available as a two-door coupe or cabriolet. The CLK350, CLK500, and CLK55 AMG each offers progressively higher levels of performance but are otherwise similarly equipped.

The CLK350 coupe ($46,525) and cabriolet ($54,475) are powered by a new 3.5-liter V6, which develops 268 horsepower (up from 215 horsepower) at 6000 rpm and 258 pound-feet of torque at 2400 rpm. Power is transferred through a new seven-speed electronically controlled automatic transmission with software that adapts shift points to suit the driver's style. The TouchShift system allows the driver to shift manually.

The CLK500 coupe ($55,125) and cabriolet ($63,075) get a 5.0-liter V8 that produces 302 horsepower at 5600 rpm and 339 pound-feet of torque from 2700 to 4250 rpm. The engine is coupled to a seven-speed electronically controlled automatic transmission with driver-adaptive shift points and TouchShift with steering-wheel-mounted shift buttons.

The CLK55 AMG ($83,375), available only as a cabriolet for 2006, is a limited-production, ultra-high-performance model with a 5.4-liter V8 rated at 362 horsepower at 5750 rpm and 376 pound-feet of torque at 4000 rpm. It's fitted with an AMG-modified SpeedShift five-speed driver-adaptive automatic transmission that can be shifted manually using the shift lever or Formula 1-style controls on the steering wheel.

All CLK models boast a long list of standard equipment, including leather upholstery, dual-zone climate control with pollen and dust filter, 10-way adjustable power seats with three memory settings, and rain-sensing windshield wipers. All boast extremely well-equipped and attractive interiors, with two-tone leather and aluminum trim available as an option on the CLK500 and an exclusive, monochromatic black interior on the CLK55 AMG.

Five options packages are available for the CLK models. The Comfort Package ($990) includes active ventilated seats with heating and a multi-contour driver's seat. The Lighting Package ($990) adds bi-xenon headlamps with Active Curve Illumination and headlamp washers. The Premium Package for the CLK350 coupe ($1,500) and cabriolet ($1,200) consists of a six-disc CD changer, harman/kardon LOGIC7 surround sound, and heated washers; the coupe's package includes a sunroof. The CLK500 Premium Package ($2,500) includes the CD changer and surround sound system, and the heated washers, and adds auto-dimming mirrors, garage door opener and, for the coupe, a sunroof.

Options include a navigation system combined with a computerized management system for stereo and air conditioning ($2,240); Sirius Satellite Radio ($699); hands-free communication ($925); wood and leather steering wheel ($530); sport suspension ($210); heated front seats ($690); electronic trunk closer ($510); and Keyless Go ($1,080). For that extra special touch, designo Silver Edition and Graphite Edition trim packages are available ($7,050).

Safety features that come on all CLK models include dual two-stage frontal airbags; front-seat head and chest side-impact airbags. Rear-seat side-impact airbags are optional ($385). New for 2006 is the addition of active front head restraints to help support the head and prevent whiplash injuries in the event of a collision. The cabriolet has a new design of side-impact airbag mounted in the front seat that adds head protection to the usual chest protection expected from such systems. Automatic-deploying roll bars come standard on cabriolets. Also standard is the Tele Aid automatic emergency response notification system, which calls an emergency response center and gives the car's location in the event any seatbelt tensioning retractor or airbag deploys. A Run-Flat Package ($275) includes run-flat tires and a tire pressure loss warning system. Active safety features that come standard include antilock brakes (ABS) with emergency Brake Assist and electronic stability control.


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