The Mercedes W209 CLK-Class is a mid-size luxury 2-door coupe based on the W211 E-Class. The W209 was in production between 2002 and 2009. During this time, Mercedes sold quite a few of these which poses the question is Mercedes W209 a good car?
It is. The W209 is indeed a good car because it combines the luxury of the W211 E-Class with a sleeker 2-door coupe design. The W209 comes with quite a few engine options starting with smaller 4-cylinder engines and moving up to the two range-topping CLK beasts, the CLK Black Series and the CLK DTM.
As far as design is concerned, the W209 is mostly in line with what Mercedes offered at the time, but a 2-door coupe approach certainly made the W209 look more appealing to most people. The W209 is also available as a convertible, but the most amazing-looking CLK model of all time is the crazy CLK GTR racecar.
Reliability-wise, the W209 can be really good if you take proper care of it, but we are going to mention a few most common W209 problems. The value of these is great nowadays as they can be bought for little money. Practicality is not this car’s best trait as it is a 2-door car after all.
Mercedes W209 – The powertrain
The CLK W209 engine lineup starts with the smallest CLK200 Kompressor that offers a 1.8L 4-cylinder inline engine with 163hp. The next in line is the CLK240 which offers a 2.6L 6-cylinder engine with 170hp and the CLK280 with its 3.0L 6-cylinder engine with 231hp which brought the CLK into a 200hp+ territory.
However, the engine palette does not stop there because the W209 also comes in the CLK320 variant with its 3.2L V6 with 220hp engine and the CLK350 with its 3.5L 272hp engine. The CLK500 comes with either a 5.0L V8 or a 5.5L V8 with 306hp/388hp. The CLK 55 AMG also gets the 5.5L, but with 367hp.
The CLK 63 AMG gets the legendary 6.2L naturally aspirated V8 with 481, the DTM gets the same engine with 582hp, and the Black Series also gets the 6.2L, but with 507hp. Diesel W209 models are also available as CLK220 CDI, the CLK270CDI, and the CLK320CDI with 150hp/170hp/225hp.
The most efficient W209 engines are the diesel variants. The W209 comes with either a 5-speed automatic or a manual for less potent variants. All of them are strictly rear-wheel-drive cars.
Mercedes W209 – Design and chassis
The W209 Mercedes is a 2-door version of the W211 E-Class and that is apparent the moment you lay your eyes on the W209. However, the W209 came in a bunch of variants, but the two most popular ones are the regular coupe and the convertible. The AMG models are wider, especially the AMG Black Series and the DTM. However, the coolest-looking CLK is by far the CLK GTR.
The interior of the W209 is more or less the same as in the W211 E-Class which means that it looks dated, but is functional. As far as the driving experience is concerned, the W209 drives primarily as a luxury coupe, but AMG versions are a lot more dynamic. All in all, the W209 drives extremely nicely, even after all these years.
Mercedes W209 – Reliability and common issues
The W209 CLK-Class can be extremely reliable if you take proper care of it. The W211 E-Class is very much the same which means that both of these can last an extremely long time if you take care of them properly. The most common W209 issues are associated with the engine, the engine cooling, the transmission, oil leaks, and electronics.
The W209 is a relatively easy car to work on, especially when compared to modern Mercedes coups. All in all, the W209 is also fairly affordable to maintain if you just need to perform regularly scheduled maintenance.
Mercedes W209 – Value and practicality
The W209 is now somewhat of a bargain, especially when you consider that some of the most amazing Mercedes cars of all time are based on the same chassis. You can get these for a fraction of the costs of the new E-Class coupe and many people argue that the CLK 63 AMG is still the best Mercedes E-Class coupe.
The W209 is not all that special when it comes to practicality as it only comes with 2-doors and a tiny trunk. The convertible version is even worse when it comes to rear-seat space and because the roof mechanism eats into the trunk space when the roof is down.
Is the Mercedes W209 CLK-Class a good buy?
The W209 Mercedes CLK-Class can be a really good buy. The V8 models are still extremely entertaining to drive, and given the current emissions climate, V8 2-door Mercedes coupes are going out of production. If you are able to buy a W209 AMG, you most definitely should as these cars are a joy to drive and to look at.
If you can stretch your budget to the CLK DTM or the CLK Black Series, you are likely going to earn some money down the line because these are only going up in value. The CLK GTR costs about $10 million these days so if you can buy it, congratulations, you are extremely rich.
How long can a Mercedes W209 last?
The W209 Mercedes CLK-Class can easily last a few hundred thousand miles if you take proper care of it. They can last even longer than that but you will have to be ready to perform certain major overhauls to the car’s engine and suspension components.
Given the fact that the W209 is based on the W211, crossing a million miles with the W209 should not be an issue at all.
Is the Mercedes W209 safe?
The Mercedes W209 is now a 20-year-old car which means that it is not the safest and newest Mercedes model on the block. Crash testing organizations rated the W209 with a 4/5-star rating which means that it performs decently.
However, the W209 lacks when it comes to software safety features as it only comes with up to 40% of all the useful features modern-day cars have. All in all, you should not worry about safety too much, but don’t expect the car to be as safe as a 2020 E-Class Coupe.