Mercedes-Benz CLK 500

Harry Metcalfe
2 Oct 2006

It’s got a 388bhp V8, but you’d never know to look at it

Evo Rating: 
Mighty engine, supple ride
'Grey slip-on' image, duff seats

The CLK 500 is a strange fish. There were no gasps of joy as it crunched into the evo car park but a glance at the spec suggests there should be a little more enthusiasm for a car like this. Of course, its kerb appeal isn’t helped when it’s painted silver-grey with a matching grey interior, but give the accelerator a generous prod and, boy, does this new version pack a punch.

Consider: last year’s CLK 500 delivered an ample 306bhp to the rear wheels, enough to power it along very briskly thank you, yet this latest version adds a further 82bhp to this none-too-shabby total, bringing the herd count to a heady 388bhp. That’s 21bhp more than the out-going CLK 55 AMG!

All that extra power means that this CLK 500 can crack the 0-60 dash in a smidge over 5 seconds before it runs into the obligatory 155mph limiter not very long after. And yet you could be forgiven for thinking this car’s raison d’être is not winning the next traffic light Grand Prix but keeping its occupants chilled.

The driver gets pampered from the moment the plipper is plipped. The door mirrors unfurl, the headlights blink and, inside, the dash sparks into life. Climb in and, as you twist the key, there’s a whirr from behind your head before the seat belt buckle arrives at your shoulder via a robot arm that reaches out. In fact there are 24 separate electric motors hiding around the cabin, whirring seats, steering wheel and mirrors into position, just to make your life that little bit easier.

And the pampering carries on as you drive down the road, the suspension supple, road noise nicely suppressed and the auto-only gearchanges slurred to perfection. So you’ve never felt better? Er, not quite. Unfortunately the seats rank among the most uncomfortable I’ve ever encountered.

Which is a shame, as I rather like sleeper cars such as this. You can go about the drab business of commuting in the knowledge that once the road clears you’ve got the muscle to shred the tyres should the mood take you. If you do fancy one, just make sure you’ve got a cushion or two to hand.


Engine V8, 5461cc, 32v
Max power 388bhp @ rpm
Max torque 391 Ib ft @ 2800-4800rpm
0-60 5.2sec (claimed)
Top speed 155mph (limited)
On sale Now

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