Mercedes Benz CLK 320 Cdi Coupe Sport

Mention the manufacturer, Mercedes Benz, and images of cool sophisticated sleek cars filter though your head. Add on three little letters, CLK, and the mind quickly conjures up a picture of the most appealing and dynamic Coupe, that in my mind is the crème de la crème of the Mercedes Benz range.

Now, customers drooling over the CLK have a choice of either the Coupe or Cabriolet models, available on three trims, five petrol engines and two state of the art diesels in the Coupe. I was particularly interested in the new diesel and opted to test the CLK 320 CDI Coupe on the Sport trim. Oh boy, was I in for a treat.

The exterior of the CLK is beauty personified with the classic pillerless design whereby the side windows retract fully into the body that now features high strength steels in some 40% of it’s weight. The luscious long bonnet sees the tasteful round twin headlights perched on the edge of the colour coded bumper with integrated fog lights. Every way you look at the CLK, more style just oozes from her. She is simply drop dead gorgeous. The Sport trim benefits further from 18 inch alloy wheels, AMG body styling, sports suspension that lowers the body by 15mm, a boot lid spoiler, sports exhaust and front seats with multi contour seat backrests.

Inside the CLK sees a host of electrical equipment synonymous with Mercedes Benz although quite a lot are optional extras such as driver and passenger seat, steering column and exterior mirrors all electrically adjustable with memory, Satellite navigation system, a six CD interchanger located in the glove box, heated front seats, automatic climate control and Bi-xenon headlights with active light system where the headlamp beams follow the steering direction and a great asset in night time driving. All these extras soon add up and from the standard £37,065 for the CLK 320 CDI Coupe; my test car jumped a whopping 8K to £44,950. But creature comforts are essential so worth splashing out a little extra.

Under the bonnet of the CLK is the powerful 2987 cc 24-valve diesel engine with phenomenal acceleration achieving 0-62 in just 6.9 seconds, top speed of 153 mph and guaranteed to loose points on licence so effortless is the CLK to drive. Luckily the CLK comes with Mercedes Benz’s Speedtronic Cruise Control to keep the car within the designated speed limits. The seven speed Tronic automatic transmission is so dreamy, yet, with the steering wheel mounted pedals, whereby the driver can change gears manually, brings out the racing driver in you. And it does with direct control power steering coupled with direct control suspension, all you need to do to drive this car is point and go. The car simply does everything you want it do, unlike the children.

Despite all this power, the CLK has a respectable fuel consumption of 36.7 mpg on a combined cycle and further cost savings are found in a brilliant warranty package that includes ASSYST variable servicing intervals as standard, three year unlimited mileage warranty and Mercedes Benz’s MOBILO - LIFE protection against corrosion and breakdown for a staggering 30 years!

Safety features abounding the CLK are equally impressive with driver and passenger airbags as well as side and window airbags, NECK-PRO headrests protecting the front passengers in the event of a rear end collision, along with the normal seat belt pre-tensioners and belt force limiters plus ISOFIX rear child seat fastenings. Keeping the car out of the garage for costly repairs is ABS with Brake Assist, ESP with Acceleration Skid control and a tyre pressure loss warning system. Securing the CKL is an alarm, with immobiliser, central locking but it still falls into a high insurance group of 18D.

So, the fifty million dollar question is, would the CLK be in my top ten. A resounding yes! The coupe is such a stunning car to look at, drives with passion and ease and most definitely a sports car dedicated to us girlies.

Jackie Violet First's Motoring Correspondent