1999 Mercedes-Benz CLK 320 Cabrio 3.2L V6 from North America


Best Convertible for the Money


The Crankshaft Sensor & Mass Airflow Sensor were replaced @ 80,0000 miles ($600 at the dealer). Both are common with this car. Parts would probably only be $100 for a do-it-yourself type.

I'm starting to hear a slight rattle from the catalytic converter. Depending on which cat is bad, this will likely cost $500-$1,500 and the cat is only available from Mercedes.

Brakes were replaced at 70,000 miles ($300) and are still in great shape, with no noticeable fade or wear.

Suspension was replaced (shocks & springs) @ 70,000 miles to improve cornering ($800 parts/labor)

Scheduled maintenance ($2-300 per year) keeps the car running smooth.

I've tried several high-performance tires that have needed replacement in 8-10,000 miles and found the ideal tire for this car. The Bridgestone RE750 has the best dry and wet traction I've found, extremely good ride quality, and has 1/2 tread left at close to 20,000 miles.

General Comments:

This car received rave reviews when it debuted and my experience has been great. The 320 cabrio is a well-built machine that is everything one would expect in a Benz. It's comfortable, quiet (even with the top down and the rear windscreen up), fun to drive, and still turns heads in 2008.

Handling performance improved remarkably when I replaced the suspension with H&R springs/Bilstein shocks, which lowered the car almost 2 inches. 18-in wheels with larger (225/40/18) tires seriously improve traction over the stock wheel/tire combination. I can take a 90-degree turn at over 60 mph without fishtailing or engaging the ESP traction control (with proper throttle action).

The V6 engine is a little weak and the transmission is geared for comfort at the expense of performance. That being said, both are rock-solid reliable and perform very well when in the right RPM range and limited to 4th gear. The transmission adapts to driving style and performs well with both aggressive and docile driving.

I bought the car in 2004 for $25,000 and could probably fetch $13,000 now. That's only $3,000 in annual depreciation! I predict that high-mileage CLK Cabrios will bottom out in the $8,000 range, since there's currently a floor of $10,000.

Overall, I think that the CLK320 Cabrio is an amazing value. Total operating costs - depreciation, maintenance, insurance, and registration - have been surprisingly low (about $300 per month) and a huge improvement in performance can be realized for under $1,500.

I plan on getting a new car soon - a '03 CL55 or SL500 are the front-runners, but I might just hold on to my classic CLK as a second car. After all, in the next few years, it will only cost about $150 a month - all in.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 11th January, 2008

14th Jan 2008, 18:29

Nice review. Can you share how the 18" wheel ride quality is compared to the stock set-up?

1999 Mercedes-Benz CLK 320 Coupe 3.2 ltr. V6 from North America


Money well spent


Blown fuse.

General Comments:

The '99 CLK is I think a perfect blend of Teutonic and exotic. It has the comfort and refinement that only a Mercedes Benz can provide in its own inimitable way. A calm, luxurious and inviting interior make the ownership experience to me one of the best. A Ferrari may corner flatter and sound racier, but the CLK is just as capable of putting a big grin on your face. It has a beautiful cabin with the coolest drink holder of any car I've ever seen. The brakes are strong and the steering is quick. It has a usable trunk and two well appointed rear seats for adults. The seats are the most comfortable and beautiful ever. The driving experience is addictive, because the car is so well equipped, rolls along with such ease and is such a complete package that you look forward to any time spent driving or being driven in it. Pace with grace is the way Mercedes Benzes perform on the road. The CLK320 Coupe does it all with superlative style.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 16th May, 2007

20th Jun 2007, 18:43

I've had the A service done at my local MB dealership. This included oil change, inspection and a change of spark plugs as they had not been done at the scheduled 160k interval. Tech pointed out rear brake pads and rotor change as the pads were down to 5%, also fuel filter and steering damper changed as these were originals.

The service was first rate and the parts manager gave me 10% off the price of all parts. My prior relationship with him is good as he used to own and still loves the W123 (which I still own) Benzes. Labour cost was reasonable considering the level of service, which included a complimentary ride home after dropping the car off and a call and pick-up at home for a ride to the dealership when the work was done.

The car always felt like a new car to me when I bought it and that much remains true. I am very impressed with the CLK, and my local MB dealer.