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Discussion Starter #1
Hey all, been reading and browsing through the forums... Great place you got here. :)

I'm in the market for a new car, my wife and I are currently a one car family ('05 MDX), with mostly a Japanese Car background (Inifiniti G, I) and one Audi ('03 A4 which we both loved.).

Since this will be a second car that will get some amount of use but not tremendous (i.e. could keep on mothballs during the hardest part of the winter), I've been looking at convertibles. Since we have 2 kids (3 and 8) I want to go four seat.

I've narrowed it down to three that I like (BMW 335i, CLK350 and A4 Cab)... and am still working a few more test drives, etc.

Given that this would be my first benz, what are the thoughts from the group on the CLK350 as far as overall quality, maintenance, reliability, etc. I will definetely buy new and keep for many years (8+ yrs, likely), since that is what I tend to do with my vehicles.

[My desired CLK configuration is the 350 with the P3 and Command and maybe a wood steering wheel (if you were wondering...)]

The CLK appears to be the most expensive of the bunch, but has a nice refined, sleaker look to it and is not as prevalent a vehicle in my area (NW PA).

Thoughts in general? What about occasional winter driving, etc.?? (A4 would be a quattro, so that is a plus on the audi side of things...)

Thanks all!!!

Patrick
 

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Discussion Starter #2
Glad to see everyone so enthusiastic about a new benz owner :)

Let me ask a couple of questions to get things going:

1. I'm considering the P3 package which active ventilated seats... Anybody have any comments (pro's cons on them for cooling on hot days??) Also, its unclear whether the ventilated seats also do heating, so you would not need that as an option. Is that true?)

2. As far as tires... are folks switching between winter and summer tires or going all season (except for the harshests winters). Being in the NE I won't drive in the worst of snow (will pull the SUV out for that), but may do light snow driving... According to the brochure, high performance tires are standard... anybody have the dealer swap them for good all seasons or ...

3. Silly question about the memory seats (not being a current MB owner), are they linked to the keyfob as well.. so that if I unlock the car and the seats were set for my wife's driving position, they would move for mine? or would I have to select that manually on door?

Thanks!!

pw-man
 

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2004 CLK 240 Coupe
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pw-man - welcome to our forum

For a number of reasons below, I'm not the best CLK owner to give you advice on your first post, so I'll dodge some of your points.

Firstly I'm in the UK, and nobody uses winter tyres here. Maybe our winters are not harsh enough. Also I drive a CLK 240 - a V6 model never released in the US, although widely sold in Europe, Asia & Australia.

However, I will say that my CLK has been near perfect in the one year that it has been owned by me. Both in comfort, economy & driveability. From memory, the ventilated seats and heated seats are separate options. I have inherited heated seats in the front, but never needed to use them.
Regarding the memory facility, it moves with the key. You can set a number of preferred options on each key, ie seat positions, steering wheel positions, display options. Of course, they can also be altered manually.

I have COMAND, sunroof, sports suspension, plus many other extras. Would I have ordered all of them if buying new? Possibly not, but on a used car I am delighted to have them.

My biggest gripe? No dipstick on my 2004 model (I believe they have returned on later models)

I know that the engine management system is very clever at monitoring the oil level, but it cannot know if your head gasket has gone and water is mixing with the engine oil!
 

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keyhole said:
However, I will say that my CLK has been near perfect in the one year that it has been owned by me. Both in comfort, economy & driveability. From memory, the ventilated seats and heated seats are separate options. I have inherited heated seats in the front, but never needed to use them.
Regarding the memory facility, it moves with the key. You can set a number of preferred options on each key, ie seat positions, steering wheel positions, display options. Of course, they can also be altered manually.
keyhole - thanks for the info. Not being a serious benz enthusiast (yet!) I don't know all the European / Asian / US variants... but certainly if I do get the CLK that wil be on my homework list :) .

Thanks for the info on the seats... in the CLK350 brochure it says "Heated or Active Ventilated front seats" but on the MBUSA build your own it says "Active Ventilated Front Seats - Inside the front seats are eight miniature fans. Cool air drawn from underneath the seat flows through perforations in the leather seating surface. Three levels of ventilation help keep you more comfortable on warm days. Includes heating feature." and it lets me pick the heated option even with P3.

I certainly like the ability to set all the basic options "my way" versus my wife's :)

pw-man
 

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2004 CLK 240 Coupe
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A few more comments.. I really appreciate:

618: Bi -Xenon lights - this was then an option, and is superb.

220: Parktronic - helps parking greatly.

673: Increased battery capacity. So many little motors on his baby that you need all capacity you can get.
I purchased a 'maintenance charger' to ensure that mine is always up to scratch. A dead battery is a disaster on a CLK.

249: interior & exterior auto-dimming mirrors. And the auto-tilt mirror in reverse option allows tidy parking without hitting the kerb with your alloys.

679: Full-size spare wheel

I'm still discovering new features. I knew that the wipers could sense rain. Until last week I did not realise that they could also sense heavy rain, and then switch to fast wipe.

I'm also a 'keeper' and had my previous Toyota Celica for 9 years from new. I want the same period of ownership from this car, but I do worry about all those motors, ie window-nudging motors at every entry & headrest-lowering motors for every seat tilt.

Good luck with your ride!
 

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Since you mentioned this as an 8+ year 'keeper' you might want to consider holding off 1 year, for the re-designed '09 (based on the new '08 C Class).
Just my .02
 

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pw-man

I tried to respond to your original inquiry back when you first posted your message. Unfortunately, Benzworld doesn't allow instant registration like Bimmerfest and others do. Three days on, I was still not able to post. Enough about my troubles with the site.

I have a 2004 CLK320 Coupe which replaced a 2002 A4 Quatro. I stayed with all season tires through this winter (in Western Washington State), Toyo Proxes 4's. I made it through 3 moderate snow storms, 2"-4" without driving off the road or running in to anything. But, I definitely plan on switching to winter tires next November.

My CLK just turned 3 years old this past week. I have a little under 41,000 miles with only one warranty repair on the steering wheel airbag cover - the horn switches went bad, sorry for the non-tech explanation. Anyway, the dealer put it right, without charge of course.

Over the years I've owned 2 Audi's (85 4000S, 2002 A4), 3 BMW's (91 318is, 92 318is, 98 528i), & 2 Benz's (2000 SLK230, 2004 CLK320). Not a bad one in the bunch.

I'd say you have a tough choice ahead of you, especially between the CLK350 and the BMW335i. I went with the CLK for many reasons. My decision relative to the 330ci of the time was that the CLK was a cut above. There was no doubt about it, I couldn't make the decision on price, the CLK was about $4k more than a loaded 330ci at the time. But between the hardtop styling and beautiful interior I was sold. Also, like you pointed out, you don't see CLK's in anywhere near the numbers of 3 series coupes. I get comments all of the time about what a nice car the CLK is.

Three years down the line you are considering a convertible and the 335i is a new model with a hardtop convertible. If I was buying my car today, I would consider the 335i for sure just based on the top alone (given that they are both really nice cars). I don't think that you can go wrong either way.
 

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Discussion Starter #8
Txhurdle said:
Since you mentioned this as an 8+ year 'keeper' you might want to consider holding off 1 year, for the re-designed '09 (based on the new '08 C Class).
Just my .02
I haven't seen much (though I can't say I looked real hard) on the '09 CLK and planned features / changes. Look and feel or mechanical plans. Are there any pointers?

pw-man
 

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SF Cfan - thanks for your persistance in replying ;-)

I need to get a day where I can do a few more serious test drives... I was supposed to retest the CLK and test for the first time the A4 Cab, but I got food poisoning over mothersday weekend, so that didn't happen :-(

Between the 335 and the CLK, I still like the looks of the CLK, personally. It is a bit more unique looking that the 335. Ironically, the 335 has the advantage on MSRP, if I went pure pricing. Though they are hard to come by locally and would require a special order for the options, etc. that I would want.

The one thing I didn't like about the BMW was the center console layout. I would like nav, etc. and the way BMW lays that out is a bit awkward compared to the more clean look on the MB. The only way I could describe it is that the BMW console feels squished compared to a more flowing MB...

I certainly don't want to start a debate about usability of iDrive versus Command, but just in terms of placement / location and overall feel, I liked the MB more....

But a hardtop four-seater that rides well and has great performance numbers....

Oh well, back to work... thanks all!

pw-man
 

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pw-man said:
I haven't seen much (though I can't say I looked real hard) on the '09 CLK and planned features / changes. Look and feel or mechanical plans. Are there any pointers?

pw-man
This may help: 2009 Mercedes CLK-Class - AutoSpies Auto News

I've already had my first client put a deposit down so he can get the 1st one Texas. As a CLK fan I'm looking forward to driving the new C, to test the new suspension. I've been very happy with the yearly step-ups to the CLK, I'm hoping 2009 is a leap!
 

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Hello, The potholes in Chicagoland are horrendous this winter ...heavy snows ... I have cracked two aluminum rims and then wrecked the high performance tire ... they are low profile and there is no forgiveness ... if you really hit a pot hole, you might hit the rim on the hole ... In future, I will have winter set of tires ... which also prolongs life of high performance, low profile tires ... but I am waiting for the 2009 CLK and will not get these tires for my 2005 CLK... hope this helps ... Dave Bowman
 

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Hello,
The electric seats are independent from the active ventilated seats ... I have 320 CLK Cab with light stone interior ... the creamy white stone interior is best asset for hot temps and comfort (i.e. no sweat soaked back of shirt) ... The last two summers, I have thought the active ventilated seats were somewhat a gimmick and not really that helpful.
hope this helps ... Dave Bowman
 
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