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Discussion Starter #1
Hello all,
My last Mercedes was a W209 270 CDi, a few years ago. I liked the car a lot and I'm now thinking about going back to a CLK, only this time a 55. I'd like to hear some feedback from owners of W209 55s in order to get a feel for the ownership experience.

I know the CLK package overall is very good however I have read quite a few mixed reviews of the 5.5 AMG. One the one hand I've read "the AMG is a world away from even the 500" and in others there is mention that the old 5.5 motor has an extremely linear power/torque curve that leaves you feeling wanting, in which case my main concern is whether it's actually worth going for the AMG at all, and would a later 350 or 500 with the sport package offer something similar? It may sound crazy, but my view of the CLK, even the AMG is not that of a sports car but more of a comfortable cruising car. I'm happy to be proved wrong!

I'd like to hear from owners, and what they think, and also what they are comparing the experience to (previous cars). Previous cars of interest include late M3, S3, S4 etc.

Also, I know the 55 never got fully face lifted (it seems MB only face lifted the interior on the models which still had old engines - 270CDi and AMG 55), but when it did it received the later interior and better brakes - but were there any other improvements that would make it worthwhile to spend the extra?

FYI I wrote many guides whilst I owned the last CLK, including a Facelift centre console upgrade. You can find them here: MWSTEWART.CO.UK | Home

Thanks,
Mark
 

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12-CLS63/04-CLK55 AMG/03-CLK320 Conv SOLD/01-ML430 Good Riddance/01 E320 wagon RIP
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My experience is limited so take it for what it's worth.

I test drove a 2006 or 7 CLK550 and was disappointed in what the engine had to offer. On paper it has more hp than a 55 but it seemed very tame. The power was very linear and maybe if I had not driven a 55 I would have loved it. The 55 is a different animal all together. The engine is much more aggressive and really sets you back in your seat. I have never taken the car to it's top speed but can tell you that it continues to pull at 110mph.

I have had my 55 since May 2010 and can say it is the most exciting car I have ever owned. It is comfortable on long rides and if you are not feeling sporty it is smooth and quite. Step on it and 60 mph comes in about 4.5 seconds and it sounds like an race car. My wife has never had the slightest interest in cars and now is always asking "can I drive" when we are going someplace together.

I do wish I had the updated interior and AMG silver trim does not look as nice as the standard CLK wood. I am in process of covering my trim with carbon fiber cloth to spruce it up. One thing to be concerned about which I learned after the fact was that the 2005 clk55 had bigger brakes and higher end rotors which are very expensive. I checked the replacement parts for mine in Autohaus and they were under $100. I believe the 2005 model year are dealer only items and can cost over $800 each.

I'm a DIY'r and maintenance costs where a big concern of mine. I have heard many people recommend staying away from AMG unless they are under warranty. So far I don't see the concern as basic maintenance on this car is no different that CLK500. The CLK models don't have things like active body control or air suspension like the bigger cars do so that just means there are less things to break. A major motor failure would certainly be a big ticket item but they are built to such high standards and have an over abundance of power they are never really working that hard. Certainly not like a small turbo charged 4 cylinder that is being pushed to it's limits all the time.

Hopefully I have not jinxed myself and find a large puddle under my car in the lot after work today. 6 months and 12k miles under the belt and I could not be happier with car. BTW it now has 75k miles on it most people think it just came off the showroom floor.
 

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rnettleship - Thank you for taking the time to write up your experience, I enjoyed reading it. It's nice to know that these cars wear the mileage well.

Like you I also dislike the aluminum trims and I had thought about either trying to obtain the Black Ash wood, or alternatively wrapping the existing trim in the new 3M carbon vinyl.

Thanks again.
 

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12-CLS63/04-CLK55 AMG/03-CLK320 Conv SOLD/01-ML430 Good Riddance/01 E320 wagon RIP
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I've heard of others that wanted to swap out the trim but the parts cost over $1,000. I looked at a sample of the 3m wrap and didn't like it. They say it looks 3 dimensional but to me it didn't seem to have any depth. I currently have a sample of actual cloth from DestronsGarage - home                     New Fall Special! Buy 2 yards and get 1 free!                     that looks really nice. The cloth is very thin and looks like it will be easy to wrap. Most importantly it looks just like carbon fiber and enough to do the trim pieces is only $21. I will probably need to keep ScotchGuard on it though to keep it clean.

They have three colors silver, gun metal and black. I think I will use the silver as it is a good contrast to my dark interior. I'll post some pictures when it's done.

On another note... I am confused why so many people are worried about putting mileage on their Mercedes. My CLK is a daily driver and will get a minimum of 20k miles per year. My wife's E320 wagon is closer to 30k per year and currently has 127k miles on it. I know Mercedes has had issues with their electronics which can be annoying but generally not expensive to fix yourself. Assuming you keep up with the recommended maintenance and keep an eye out for known issues (ie. Harmonic balancer) there is no reason why you should not expect the core mechanical pieces to go well past 200k.

They are great cars, why not enjoy them.
 

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2004 clk55 amg
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My experience is limited so take it for what it's worth.

I test drove a 2006 or 7 CLK550 and was disappointed in what the engine had to offer. On paper it has more hp than a 55 but it seemed very tame. The power was very linear and maybe if I had not driven a 55 I would have loved it. The 55 is a different animal all together. The engine is much more aggressive and really sets you back in your seat. I have never taken the car to it's top speed but can tell you that it continues to pull at 110mph.

I have had my 55 since May 2010 and can say it is the most exciting car I have ever owned. It is comfortable on long rides and if you are not feeling sporty it is smooth and quite. Step on it and 60 mph comes in about 4.5 seconds and it sounds like an race car. My wife has never had the slightest interest in cars and now is always asking "can I drive" when we are going someplace together.

I do wish I had the updated interior and AMG silver trim does not look as nice as the standard CLK wood. I am in process of covering my trim with carbon fiber cloth to spruce it up. One thing to be concerned about which I learned after the fact was that the 2005 clk55 had bigger brakes and higher end rotors which are very expensive. I checked the replacement parts for mine in Autohaus and they were under $100. I believe the 2005 model year are dealer only items and can cost over $800 each.

I'm a DIY'r and maintenance costs where a big concern of mine. I have heard many people recommend staying away from AMG unless they are under warranty. So far I don't see the concern as basic maintenance on this car is no different that CLK500. The CLK models don't have things like active body control or air suspension like the bigger cars do so that just means there are less things to break. A major motor failure would certainly be a big ticket item but they are built to such high standards and have an over abundance of power they are never really working that hard. Certainly not like a small turbo charged 4 cylinder that is being pushed to it's limits all the time.

Hopefully I have not jinxed myself and find a large puddle under my car in the lot after work today. 6 months and 12k miles under the belt and I could not be happier with car. BTW it now has 75k miles on it most people think it just came off the showroom floor.
Everything that nettleship said above is correct. the only problem i've had is an overheated crank sensor...that will fixed under warranty next monday...but the car is great! the clk isn't a sports car...it's more of a grand tourer...if you expect ferrari like handling, then you're in the wrong car...i tend to compare my car more in the likes of muscle cars than european sports cars. the engine is bullet-proof, no matter how many miles you put on it...the electronics, well...like all other electronic stuff, it breaks and needs to be replaced...but that's about it...i love my car.
 

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Just bought a 2006 CLK55 - getting it shipped and will be here in one week. I did not test drive the CLK500 or CLK550 because right now the AMGs are so cheap, why wouldn't anyone want to step up? Although the 550 has more horsepower, I know from my recently transition from S55 to S600 Sport that AMGs transmissions are tuned much sportier. Therefore, my gut feeling(didn't drive the CLK550) was that more power doesn't always FEEL like more power. In addition, I liked the aggressive look and (generally) greater options on the AMGs. Good luck to you.
p.s. My first choice is the dark (birds eye maple) of the W208 CLK55's, but if given a choice, for the sportier look on the CLK55, I'd take the aluminum over the brown wood trim.
PL
 

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a bit of a thread hijack...

Just a question for other CLK55 owners....

I have noticed that when I hit 4000 rpm an up the engine pitch changes (higher) and I feel a slight vibration through the car. Basically at this rpm it just gets a lot louder. Of course this is also where the engine is putting out it's max horse power as well. I don't see anything out of place. Motor mounts look good and there is no vibration at any other rpm. Steering wheel is rock solid at all speeds. Crankshaft pulley also looks fine.

I'm thinking that this is just how the exhaust is tuned and that there is more resonance at this rpm but just thought I would get an opnion from aonther owner.

As a comparison, when I drive my wifes E320 the engine sounds the same all the way through the rpm range but then again it has 140 less horse power.
 

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I drive an 04 convertible. My first impression when I bought it in 2007 was wow! I have driven it over 150 MPH quite often and once drove it 130 MPH for about 2 hours through the mountains, had a Porsche Cayenne to keep me company. The car handles extremely well at high speeds and on windy roads.

Now for the cons.

The car burns consumes oil at high speeds. I ofter drive 800 miles between 2 cities I frequent and if I drive over 100 MPH consistently, I will consume around 2 litres; under 80 MPH and little to no oil is consumed. I've confirmed with both the dealer and my current mechanic (ex race car driver for Mercedes) and they confirm that it is normal.

I live in a coastal mountain range and the rockies lie between me and the province to the right of me. The transmission does not behave on steep descents; I'm very unimpressed with this; my G35 has a much smoother transmission when driving through the mountain, but clearly the 55AMG has way more power which does make the drive more pleasurable.

The car has 70K miles on it and I've already rebuilt the drivers side front end; new wheel bearing, hub control arm, pretty well everything. The passenger side is next. I'm constantly getting wheel alignments, though the car still drive great when it's out, the tires just don't fare well. The roof top hydraulic lines need replacing, which I've found is common.

Bottom line; I've enjoyed driving the car, but the cost is crazy for what you get. I hate Mercedes service with a passion and I've just recently got lucky to find an independent mechanic that is well supported by Mercedes.

This is likely my last late model Mercedes Benz. My next foray into luxury power will be to modify some classic imports from the 60's and 70's. If I'm going to throw stupid money at a car, I'd rather it increase in value than just depreciate. Then there's the cool factor...
 

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i have a 2005 CLK 55 Cabriolet. I bought it used in 2007 with 19K miles, now it has 37K miles. Its a summer only car.

Overall the car is a blast to drive. I have driven a CLK550 and it does not have the same power feel as the AMG (Even though it makes more HP).

The downsides to owning one are obvious:
1. MB service sucks (You have to fight with them to fix every little thing)
2. They are expensive to repair. Maintenance costs are above average but similar to any other MB. Car takes 8.5 quarts of synthestic oil at each oil change)
3. Depreciation is horrible. My car was 90K new and is worth 25K in trade (If i am lucky)
4. MB quality is below average. but its misleading. they put so much useless stuff in the car that something is bound to break.
5. Get one with a warranty unless you have unlimited cash to spend on it. And if it does not have a fully clean history then walk or better yet run away.

its a fun car to drive but i doubt i would do it all over again. plenty of other cars with similar performance out there.
 

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I echo what jourml8r has said.
It's a BLAST to drive...I've had mine for about 3 months now and I smile every time I drive it. The AMG shifting and the roar of the AMG V8 really is different than the regular MBs. As for warranty, given that the CLK55 doesn't have the fancy ABC or airmatics(where most of the problems have been), I'm knocking on wood that it'll be as reliable as my 2001 E55(problem free for 2 yrs). Good luck w/ search.
Patrick
 

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W209 vs W208

I have a 2002 CLK430 Convertible with 102K miles, and I am considering a 2004 CLK55 Convertible w/ 41K miles. Anyone out there familiar with W208 and W209 that can point out any differences or preferences. I know I will prefer the 55 engine over the 430, but am curious about other issues, etc.

And what did I hear about the CLK55's brake rotors being outrageously expensive? Did that apply to all CLK55s, or only some years?

Thanks in advance.
 

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CURRENT: 2011 SL550 FORMER: C300, ML350, CLK550 Cabriolet, C240, ML320, 300TD
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Your W208 is probably a more reliable vehicle, although the W209 is not terrible. The 2004 is pre-facelift, and it was less reliable than the MY2005+ facelift models. IIRC, the W208 required you to release the front roof latches manually, the W209 is fully automated. The window switches moved from the center console to the door. You'll probably find that things look more modern, but feel less old-school Mercedes solid.
 
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