Less expensive than the sporty SL-Class convertibles, the first generation CLK cabriolet was the most successful convertible Mercedes-Benz ever offered; 41,520 were sold in the United States from 1999 to 2003, and more than 115,000 were sold throughout the world.
Models offered in the first generation were the CLK200(136 hp), CLK200 Kompressor(192 hp), CLK230 Kompressor(193 hp), CLK320(218 hp), CLK430(275 hp) and the CLK55 AMG(342 hp). All were available in both coupé and convertible form.
The CLK320 coupe was introduced in the 1997 model year, powered by a 3.2 L V6 engine. The CLK320 cabriolet and the 4.3 L V8-powered CLK430 coupe appeared in 1999. A CLK430 cabriolet joined the lineup in 2000. The high-performance CLK55 AMG coupé, which was introduced first in Europe in 2000 and then in the US in 2001, was powered by the "M113" 5.4 L V8 engine. The CLK55 AMG cabriolet became available in 2002, the last year of this body style.
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The CLK coupé was redesigned for 2003, with the cabriolet following in 2004. The current generation of the CLK-Class is 2.4 inches (61 mm) longer, 0.7 inches (18 mm) wider and 1.1 inch (28 mm) higher than its predecessor.
- The CLK320 features a 3.2 L, 18-valve single overhead cam (SOHC) V6 engine and a five-speed automatic transmission. The base price is US$46,000 for the coupé and US$53,600 for the cabriolet. The CLK320 was replaced by the CLK350 for 2006.
- The CLK350 features a 3.5 L, 24-valve dual overhead cam (DOHC) V6 engine and a seven-speed automatic transmission. The base price is US$45,750 for the coupé and US$53,700 for the cabriolet.
- The CLK500 features a 5.0 L, 24-valve SOHC V8 engine and a seven-speed automatic transmission. The base price is US$54,600 for the coupé and US$62,200 for the cabriolet. The CLK500 was replaced by the CLK550 in North America.
- The CLK550 features a 5.5L 32-valve V-8 engine and a seven-speed automatic transmission. The base price is US$55,675 for the coupé.
- The CLK55 AMG features a 5.4 L, 24-valve SOHC V8 engine and a 5-speed automatic transmission. The base price is US$69,900 for the coupé and US$87,000 for the cabriolet. The CLK55 AMG coupé was dropped in North America after the 2005 model year, though the cabriolet is still offered. The CLK55 was replaced by the CLK63 for 2007.
- The CLK63 AMG features a 6.2L V8 with a seven-speed automatic transmission. Available in both Coupé and Cabriolet, the CLK63 boasts 481 hp (354 kW) and 465 ft·lbf (630 newton m) of torque. Compared to its predecessor the CLK63 has 31% more power and 23% more torque. The CLK63 is currently being used as the safety car in Formula One. It accelerates from 0-60 mph in 4.3 seconds.
In Europe there was also the CLK 200 K (1.8 R4), CLK 220 CDI (2.1 R4 diesel), CLK 240 (2.6 V6), CLK 270 CDI (2.7 R5 diesel), CLK 280 (3.0 V6), CLK 320 CDI (3.0 V6 diesel); (all standard with 6-speed manual transmission, automatic transmission is optional)