The 1998 Mercedes-Benz CLK-Class is a midsize, rear-drive coupe. The CLK name stands for ""Coupe Leicht Kurz,"" which is German for ""Coupe Light Short."" The car is based on the same platform as the Mercedes-Benz C-Class, but its design, price, and engines bear a closer resemblance to the E-Class. The CLK-Class was introduced in 1996, three years after the C-Class was introduced. However, it goes into production from this year onwards. The 1998 Mercedes-Benz CLK-Class is a combination of C-Class and SLK-Class technologies with E-Class styling.
Body Styles: coupe
Engines: 3.2-liter V-6
Transmissions: five-speed automatic
Models: Mercedes-Benz CLK-320
The 1998 Mercedes-Benz CLK-Class has been launched in the U.S. market this year with several new innovations, a powerful engine, and emotive styling.
The 1998 Mercedes-Benz CLK-Class looks a lot like the E-Class sedan and station wagon from the front with its long wheelbase and trademark quad headlights. In terms of overall size, the CLK-Class is comparable to the C-Class sedans with a wheelbase of 105.9 inches and a length of 180.2 inches. The coupe has a height of 53 inches.
The 1998 Mercedes-Benz CLK-Class is an official offshoot of the C-Class, but its interior is similar to the E-Class. The front seats offer a decent amount of legroom and headroom, but it feels more snug than spacious. The rear seats, of course, do not offer too much legroom, at least for adults. In fact, the rear seats lose whatever little legroom it offers when the front seats are pushed back completely. Entry and exit to and from the rear seats is also not very easy, even though the front seats power forward when its backrests are tilted. Cargo space is not adequate enough in the 1998 Mercedes-Benz CLK-Class. The steering wheel has a telescopic function, but strangely does not tilt for better adjustment. Headroom up front is just about enough for occupants who are over six feet tall. However, it is scant at the back even for preteens. The controls on the dashboard are easy to operate, but some switches are not marked clearly and are far from the driver’s reach. The overall décor of the cabin is more clinical than luxurious, but this is common for a Mercedes-Benz. The quality of the interior is good all around.
Performance & Handling
The 1998 Mercedes-Benz CLK-Class is only available with a 3.2-liter V-6 engine and five-speed automatic transmission. The engine delivers 215 horsepower and 229 lb-ft of torque, and it gets the CLK to 60 mph from standstill in just seven seconds. The five-speed automatic transmission does its job very well, shifting smoothly and decisively at the right time. The brakes are superb as well, working swiftly and with little complaints. The 1998 Mercedes-Benz CLK-Class handles very well and steers stably. It corners with little body lean, although it is not as agile as the BMW 3-Series. The overall ride quality is firm but comfortably so. Most bumps are felt in the cabin, but the harsh impacts are absorbed. However, the car loses some of its ride quality when its expansion joints and tires rumble over rough roads. Wind and engine noise is kept at bay, but road noise is not, especially from the rear tires. The engine itself growls subtly when pushed hard, but that is about as loud as it gets.
The 1998 Mercedes-Benz CLK-Class has anti-lock brakes, front side airbags, and traction control as standard. The new Brake Assist and Baby Smart features add some extra brownie points for the CLK in terms of safety. However, the car has not undergone any crash tests from the NHTSA or IIHS.
EPA Fuel Economy
Mercedes-Benz CLK-Class: 21/29 mpg city/highway
- Good safety features
- Powerful acceleration
- Refined and stable steering
- Quiet ride
You Won't Like
- Poor rear space and entry/exit
- Lack of cargo space
Modest luxury styling on a standard coupe.
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