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While it is based on the C-Class, its styling cues, engine, and price range are closer to that of the E-class, leading some to believe that the CLK is a coupé version of the E-class.
Major models include the CLK350, CLK550, and CLK63 AMG. The CLK63 AMG's 481 bhp (359 kW) V8 engine is the most powerful. There is also a convertible version of the CLK.
The CLK is a mid-sized coupe which is based on a lengthened wheelbase of the compact/entry-level luxury C-Class, so it slots between the C-Class and E-Class in price and size, though Mercedes has positioned it closer to the latter. The CLK's styling also drew very heavily on the front and rear styling cues of the mid-size executive (W210) E-Class model. The W210 E-Class itself was inspired by a 1993 concept car which the CLK eventually looked very similar to.
There was a reason for the similarities with the current E-Class. When Mercedes replaced the E-Class W124 with the W210 in 1995, the coupe version was not replaced. Initially, Mercedes planned introduce a smaller C-Class based coupe to rival the BMW 3-Series coupe/cabriolet. In order to attract customers who previously went for the executive-class E-Class Coupe, Mercedes gave the CLK the latest (W210) E-Class' styling features with the 4 headlights and rectangular tail-lights which extended on to the bootlid. This gave the impression that the CLK was a direct successor to the (W124) E-Class Coupe, which was made cleverer in that the CLK was launched 12-months after the (W210) E-Class - the usual gestation time for a saloon spawned coupe by Mercedes. Even the engine range of the CLK was closer to the E-Class than the C-Class. For example, the AMG version used the 5.5 litre V8 from the E55 AMG rather than the 3.6 litre from the C36 AMG. Unlike the W124 E-Class coupe which was classified as 2-door sedan by the SAE, however, the CLK's passenger volume has been significantly reduced.
The C-Class has also spawned another coupe, the W203 C-Class Sportcoupe, which was spun off into its own line as the CLC-Class in 2008. These follow the W203 and W204 C-Classes in styling cues, and engines, though being more compact and priced lower than the C-Class sedan. The Sportcoupé/CLC was designed to counter the BMW 3-Series Compact liftback, and the succeeding 1 Series. Mercedes, however, has not created a direct competitor with the regular BMW 3 series coupe/cabriolet.
Though they discontinued the W210 E-Class coupe in 1995, Mercedes eventually returned to the executive-sized coupe with the introduction of the CLS-Class, though it is a four-door coupe that is longer and priced higher than the E-Class. While the CLS is designed to compete with the BMW 6 Series, the compact/mid-sized CLK is slotted between the BMW 3 series coupe/cabriolet and the 6 series coupe/cabriolet.
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Check out the Mercedes-Benz CLK-Class wallpapers and Mercedes-Benz CLK-Class Pictures (pics) collection below: