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A Short-lived Display of Manageable Luxury and Class: The Mercedes Benz CLK C208/A208 (1997–2003)

About the CLK class

Mercedes Benz CLK C208 on a train

The Mercedes-Benz CLK-Class was Mercedes Benz’s extravagant class, including mid-size entry-level coupés and luxurious convertibles. These were produced by Mercedes Benz from 1997 to 2010.

The design and styling of the CLK-class were derived from the E-Class, and the mechanical foundations and keystones were based on the rather than the C-Class. This class could be positioned between the Mercedes-Benz SLK-Class and CL-Class. Its prime reason was to compete with the two-door coupes in the market, such as the BMW 3 Series and 6 Series, the Volvo C70 Coupe, the Audi A4 Cabriolet, and the Maserati Coupe, including its convertible variant. In 2010, we saw the end of the CLK-class as Mercedes relocated the CLK-Class back to its roots, the E-Class.

The Mercedes Benz CLK C208/A208

Mercedes Benz CLK C208 top

The Mercedes Benz CLK C208/A208 is a timeless representation of sleek design, luxury, and modernism. This was the entry-level mid-size coupe, which came in hardtops and Cabriolet versions.

Mercedes Benz CLK C208 and A208

The CLK C208 is the hardtop executive version, and the CLK A208 is the cabriolet version. With 2-door Coupe and Cabriolet body styles, this class was considered in the course of Grand Tourer, and the layout was front-engined with rear-wheel drive. As told earlier, based on the E-class and the less expensive C-class, the Mercedes Benz CLK C208/A208 has more specifications than the E-class, but the performance is solely derived from the C-class. We will see the first generation of the Mercedes Benz CLK C208/A208 from 1997 to 2003.

Trims of the Mercedes Benz CLK C208/A208

The Mercedes Benz CLK C208/A208 had three trims

· Base C208/A208

· Elegance

· Avantgarde



  • Steering wheel reach adjustment

  • Traction control

  • Alloy wheels

  • Driver`s airbag

  • Electric mirrors

  • Optional package included air conditioning, body-colored bumpers, climate control, and an electric driver’s seat.

  • Audio remote

  • Body-colored bumpers

  • CD

  • Electric driver’s seat

  • Electric passenger’s seat

  • Optional package included Cloth seat trim, Cruise control, Full-size spare wheel, Leather seat trim, and Metallic Paint.

As we pop the hood

Mercedes Benz CLK C208/A208 engine

If we talk about the engine specifications, the Mercedes Benz CLK C208/A208 had a 2-liter inline four-cylinder petrol engine, and according to Parkers, this 4-seater 2-door coupe would make 163 hp and 230 Nm of torque. It could run 0-60 mph in 9.2 seconds and has a top speed of 126 mph. Its specification elements were a 5-speed Tip Auto automatic transmission or 6-speed manual and a rear-wheel drive. For the Kompressor C200K, the 2.2 liter inline-4 cylinder engine was supercharged, which produced more power, satisfying the speed needs of the owners. This was due to the extreme lethargies of the first models.





0-62 mph

CLK 200

2-liter inline-4

134 bhp

190 Nm

11.0 s

CLK 200 Kompressor

2-liter supercharged inline-4

161 bhp

230 Nm

9.1 s

CLK 230 Kompressor

2.3-liter supercharged inline-4

190 bhp

280 Nm

8.4 s

CLK 230 Kompressor "evo"

2.3-liter supercharged inline-4

194 bhp

280 Nm

8.1 s

CLK 320

3.2-liter V6

221 bhp

315 Nm

7.4 s

CLK 430

4.3-liter V8

275 bhp

400 Nm

6.0 s


5.4-liter V8

342 bhp

510 Nm

5.4 s

The 55 AMG (W208) of the First Generation CLK lineup

Mercedes Benz CLK 55 AMG (W208)

The Mercedes Benz CLK 55 AMG (W208) was the top-of-the-line model of the CLK class. Compared to the rest of the CLK range, the AMG version of the CLK range featured a reinforced and redesigned front bumper having a stretched lower grille from side to side and fog lights at the bottom. Unlike the rest of the range, which had halogen lamps, the CLK 55 AMG had Xenon headlights featuring clear lenses as standard. The utterly different side sills were aerodynamically profiled while a set of five-spoke 17" light-alloy wheels harmonized with the sporty appearance. Under the hood, the Mercedes Benz CLK 55 AMG (W208) houses a 5.4-liter, hand-built V-8 engine which would produce 342 hp. All the power is sent to the rear wheels through a five-speed automatic gearbox- and improved transmission by AMG over the standard 5G-Tronic Mercedes-Benz gearbox.

Interior of the Mercedes Benz CLK C208/A208

Mercedes Benz CLK C208/A208 interior

The Mercedes Benz CLK C208/A208 1997-2003 interior is undoubtedly a testament to Mercedes’s finest quality. The aura of the E-class was present all inside the cabin of the A208/C208.

Mercedes Benz CLK C208/A208 wooden trim

The wooden finish was a savory element in the interior with posh leather upholstery. Extensive seat adjustment can be seen for the drivers to set up their favorable settings. A nicely and neatly arranged dashboard with a good finish is present. A classy steering wheel with a wooden finish and a Mercedes logo in the middle is fitted with an airbag and sits up at an optimal position.

Mercedes Benz CLK C208/A208 interior 2

The center console has a CD player, LCD, and vents; below the console, the gear lever is housed with a couple of control buttons. Seats are comfortable with a plush leather finish; an even higher-grade leather finish is available in the optional package.

Mercedes Benz CLK C208/A208 seats

Ample headroom and legroom are there for the passengers upfront, but being a coupe, the C208/A208 doesn’t offer adequate legroom for the passengers at the back. A cargo space of 420 liters is a significant point for this model as it beats most of its competitors in the market in this spectrum.

The exterior of the Mercedes Benz CLK C208/A208

Mercedes Benz CLK C208

The exterior of the Mercedes Benz CLK C208/A208 is again Mercedes’s finest works. Enclosing great luxury in a relatively more minor car is genuinely an art.

Satisfying paint options with alloy wheels give a good outlook.

Mercedes Benz CLK A208

The two slanted oval-shaped headlights on either side of an iconic Mercedes grille are mesmerizing. Large and straightforward taillights make a statement.

Mercedes Benz CLK A208 side

The A208, being a cabriolet, is a head turner on the roads with the top down, while with the black top up, it just adds to the car's beauty. Overall, the Mercedes Benz CLK C208 and A208 are elegantly made. Once you look at them, static or moving, they tempt you to buy them.

Drive of the Mercedes Benz CLK C208/A208

Mercedes Benz CLK C208 drive

The Mercedes Benz CLK C208/A208 are fun to drive with that constant and effortless acceleration. The handling is odd and numb because the tail might slip at high speeds even with the traction control, but it's okay.

Mercedes Benz CLK C208 cornering

The cars tend to hold on to tight lines and sharp turns, posing a balanced ride. Nothing can get better on the highways if you’re in the Mercedes Benz CLK C208/A208. The strong point of these coupes is smooth and effortless cruising on the road for many miles. The ride is very comfortable and is based on the C-class for the exterior; the C208/A208’s chassis might feel a bit stiff.

Mercedes Benz CLK A208 drive

In the city, the ride is also very comfortable as the smooth gearbox does its job. With their compact size, the C208 or the A208 are easy to maneuver through tight spaces and traffic. Altogether. The practicality of the Mercedes Benz CLK C208/A208 is very satisfying.

What are they priced at?

The base price of the Mercedes Benz CLK C208/A208 is approximately $44,000-$53,000, depending on the trim and the optional package one wants to install.

Real-world MPG

According to Autoevolution, the fuel economy of the Mercedes Benz CLK C208/A208 also adds to its top-notch practicality. With an economy of 16 mpg on the highway, 27 mpg on the road, and 23 mpg of combined average fuel efficiency, the Mercedes Benz CLK C208/A208 suits the driver in any situation.

Highs and Lows

✔ Practical and fuel-efficient

✔ Sleek styling

✔ Perfect combination of luxury and power

✔ Assuring ride

✖ Legroom and headroom are minimal for passengers at the back

✖ The Cabriolet, the A208, has significant blind spots and, of course, a tiny backseat

✖ Handling is not up to the mark

Expert’s verdict:

Edmunds says:

“If you long for a Mercedes-Benz grand touring coupe and can do without the CL's massive presence (not to mention its huge price tag), then the CLK Class offers an attractive combination of comfort and performance.”


Mercedes Benz CLK C208 in front of beach

The Mercedes Benz CLK C208/A208 (1997–2003) is undoubtedly an impeccable combination of luxury and performance at affordable rates. These cars are a visual treat, and it just gets better when you drive one. Yes, this class’s span was concise, sadly, about 13 years, but the cars that belonged to this class are memorable and worth collecting. If this class hadn’t been discontinued, its vehicles would’ve been the finest in production today. Being the smallest and the cheapest cars of the course, the Mercedes Benz CLK C208/A208 (1997–2003) needed to show their worth and value, which they delivered very finely.


Is the Mercedes Benz CLK C208/A208 worth considering as a grand touring coupe?

Yes, the CLK C208/A208 offers an attractive combination of comfort and performance, making it a suitable choice for those seeking a Mercedes-Benz grand touring coupe without the hefty price tag.

Is the Mercedes Benz CLK C208/A208 a collector's item?

Yes, these models, with their unique blend of luxury and performance, are highly regarded by collectors. Their timeless design and limited production years make them valuable additions to any collection.

What are the available trims for the CLK C208/A208?

The CLK C208/A208 comes in three trims: Base, Elegance, and Avantgarde. Each trim offers various features, including steering wheel reach adjustment, alloy wheels, and optional packages for enhanced comfort and style.

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