Open-air fun for four: the new CLK-Class Cabriolet

Mar 24, 2003
  • Best in class for aerodynamics, interior noise levels and boot volume
  • Powerful 8-cylinder engine and new 4-cylinder engine featuring TWINPULSE technology
  • Output boosted by up to 27 hp, fuel consumption improved by up to seven per cent
Leading-edge technology, captivating styling and sheer driving pleasure for four – just some of the outstanding features of the new CLK-Class Cabriolet from Mercedes-Benz, due for launch in spring 2003 and set to continue the brand's successful tradition of four-seater cabriolets.
In terms of aerodynamics (drag coefficient of 0.30), interior noise levels and boot volume (390 litres), the new CLK Cabriolet is the best in its class. In addition, Mercedes-Benz has made further advances in the field of occupant safety by incorporating an extremely robust body structure, automatic roll-over protection, standard-fitted head/thorax bags, adaptive front airbags and belt tensioners for all four occupants. Equally exemplary is the level of comfort and convenience offered by the new Mercedes Cabriolet, which has even more interior space and standard equipment than its predecessor.
The multi-layer fabric soft-top – a new development – provides outstanding noise insulation and is supremely easy to use; it can be opened and closed fully automatically at the push of a button or by means of remote control. Four of the five available petrol engines are new to the Mercedes Cabriolet. Power output from the four, six and eight-cylinder models ranges from 120 kW/163 hp to 270 kW/367 hp, whilst fuel consumption has been reduced by as much as seven percent.
With its captivating lines, based on the design of the successful Coupé version, the new Cabriolet further emphasises the unique character of the CLK-Class within the Mercedes-Benz passenger car portfolio. Each detail of the dynamically elegant body and tastefully designed interior positively exudes exclusivity.
The letters CLK have been a byword for open-top driving pleasure ever since the launch of the first model in 1998. Featuring a host of technical innovations and immense design appeal, the new CLK Cabriolet is ideally positioned to build on the success of its predecessor, which sold around 115,000 units in total.
Soft-top: remote-control opening and closing
The newly developed Cabriolet soft-top is available in black, blue or grey.It can be opened fully automatically – including by remote control – and disappears beneath the soft-top well lid behind the rear bulkhead within a matter of seconds. The impressive design of the soft-top well and the fully lowerable side windows are key factors in ensuring unbridled open-air pleasure. Closing the soft-top is also remarkably easy thanks to a hydraulic system which raises the roof and locks it onto the top edge of the windscreen frame automatically.
The multi-layer soft-top provides outstanding temperature insulation and minimises driving noise in the interior. Furthermore, the slender C-pillars and the large side and rear windows ensure superb rear visibility for the driver, even when the soft-top is closed. The new CLK Cabriolet achieves best-in-class figures in three disciplines: interior noise level, heat insulation and all-round vision.
When the soft-top is raised, the boot holds 390 litres (VDA measuring method) – 40 litres more than the predecessor model and a new record for a four-seater cabriolet. Like the soft-top, the boot lid can be opened by remote control.
Safety: large sidebags and automatic roll-over protection
Further highlights of the new CLK Cabriolet include classic Mercedes innovations such as sensor-controlled roll-over bars, which deploy automatically within a fraction of a second in an accident situation, not to mention the large head/thorax bags in the front seat backrests. Belt tensioners and belt force limiters for all occupants, automatic belt feeders for driver and front passenger, as well as adaptive front airbags, are also part of the standard safety equipment package. Deployment of the front passenger airbag depends on the crash situation and also takes into account the weight of the seat occupant. Rear sidebags are available as an option for the first time.A rigid body structure lays the ideal foundations for outstanding comfort and safety. Some 32 percent of all the bodyshell panels are made from high-strength steel alloys, which minimise weight whilst maximising safety and stability. The bodyshell torsional stiffness – an important factor in ensuring exemplary handling and vibrostability – is around twelve percent higher than in the case of the predecessor model.
In terms of aerodynamics too, the new CLK-Class Cabriolet is a class leader. As well as a low drag coefficient (cd figure) of just 0.30, it also scores outstanding marks for front and rear axle lift. These aerodynamic attributes are vital for ensuring excellent directional stability, optimum low-noise operation and low fuel consumption.
Comfort: more room to move for all four occupants
The new CLK-Class Cabriolet succeeds in providing even more open-air driving pleasure and outstanding comfort for four people than its already impressive predecessor. Thanks to a body which is larger in every dimension (71 mm longer, for example), as well as the extended wheelbase (25 mm longer), the two-door Cabriolet now offers its occupants considerably more comfort and space. Front headroom has been increased by 23 mm, rear elbow room by 30 mm and rear knee room by almost 44 mm.
A modified EASY-ENTRY system allows the rear passengers easier entry and exit. And the single bucket-style seats now fitted in the rear provide outstanding comfort, as well as being equipped with integrated automatic seat belts and height-adjustable head restraints that can be lowered almost completely at the push of a button on the dashboard.
Equipment: automatic climate control and radio as standard
In addition, the standard equipment package for the new CLK-Class Cabriolet contains further systems which substantially enhance ride comfort and ease of use. These include the following: automatic climate control with rear compartment ventilation; Headlamp Assist; rain sensor for the windscreen wipers; cruise control with SPEEDTRONIC; radio with cassette player; leather-covered multifunction steering wheel with height and reach adjustment plus illuminated control buttons; central display for individual settings.
Innovations lifted from Mercedes-Benz luxury models make the new CLK Cabriolet a unique high-tech car in this vehicle segment. Optional equipment includes DISTRONIC autonomous intelligent cruise control, KEYLESS-GO access and drive authorisation system, COMAND APS control and display system, LINGUATRONIC voice control system for telephone/radio/navigation, THERMOTRONIC luxury automatic climate control with solar sensor and powerful bi-xenon headlamps.
As in the case of the Coupé, Mercedes customers can choose from two CLK Cabriolet lines – ELEGANCE and AVANTGARDE – thus enabling them to individualise both the vehicle design and the level of equipment.
The engines: five petrol models with outputs ranging from 163 hp to 367 hp
The engine line-up also displays the classic Mercedes hallmarks of individuality and variety, with five sophisticated petrol power plants to choose from. They deliver even better power, torque and economy than the engines installed in the predecessor models.
At the top of the range are two eight-cylinder models which offer performance on a par with thoroughbred sports car engines. The CLK 500 Cabriolet has an output of 225 kW/306 hp and accelerates from 0 to 100 km/h in 6.2 seconds, thus making it 20 kW/27 hp more powerful and 1.2 seconds quicker in the sprint than the previous CLK 430. Yet, despite this superior power output, the CLK 500 Cabriolet consumes around five percent less fuel than the preceding V8 version. In addition, Mercedes-AMG is to unveil the CLK 55 AMG, featuring a 270-kW/367-hp V8 engine which develops 15 kW/20 hp more than the predecessor model, enabling the Cabriolet to complete the burst from 0 to 100 km/h in a mere 5.4 seconds (predecessor: 6.2 seconds).
Mercedes-Benz has extended the range of six-cylinder engines for the CLK Cabriolet by adding the refined 2.6-litre power plant developing 125 kW/170 hp. The tried-and-trusted V6 engine at the heart of the CLK 320 Cabriolet (160 kW/218 hp) remains unchanged in the line-up.
As in the case of other model series, the new Mercedes four-cylinder engine featuring the unique TWINPULSE system enables the CLK Cabriolet to make further advances in terms of performance, torque delivery, refinement and fuel consumption. The TWINPULSE system combines numerous technologies such as compressor supercharging, twin balancer shafts, intercooling, variable camshaft adjustment and four valves per cylinder.
With this high-tech package beneath the bonnet, the new CLK 200 KOMPRESSOR delivers refinement on a par with a six-cylinder model and an output of 120 kW/163 hp, whilst returning a fuel consumption of just 8.8 litres of premium unleaded per 100 km (NEDC combined consumption) – around seven percent less than the equally powerful predecessor model.
The chassis: new developments for dynamic handling
The dynamic driving experience is made even more enjoyable by a chassis that has been newly designed or modified in several areas. Complete with new three-link front suspension, highly precise rack-and-pinion power steering and modified multilink independent rear suspension, the CLK Cabriolet provides the ultimate blend of active safety, agility and comfort. Optional equipment includes a chassis with even sportier (i.e. harder) springs and shock absorbers as well as a lower-slung body.
Standard-fitted 16-inch light-alloy wheels with mixed-profile tyres (size 205/55 R 16 and 225/50 R 16 at the front and rear respectively) emphasise the undeniably sporty character of the new Mercedes Cabriolet. The V8-powered CLK 500 model has 17-inch tyres whilst the CLK 55 AMG comes with 18-inch wheels to emphasise its elite sports status.
CLK-Class Cabriolet, CLK 55 AMG, driving shot, engine compartment
CLK-Class Cabriolet, CLK 500 Avantgarde, stationary shot
CLK-Class Cabriolet, CLK 500 Avantgarde, driving shot
CLK-Class Cabriolet, CLK 240 Elegance, driving shot
CLK-Class Cabriolet, CLK 500 Avantgarde, driving shot
CLK-Class Cabriolet, CLK 240 Elegance, driving shot
CLK-Class Cabriolet, CLK 240 Elegance, driving shot
CLK-Class Cabriolet, CLK 240 Elegance, driving shot
CLK-Class Cabriolet, CLK 240 Elegance, driving shot
The new Mercedes-Benz CLK-Class Cabriolet: The ELEGANCE line stands out with its exquisite fine wood trim.
The new Mercedes-Benz CLK-Class Cabriolet
The new Mercedes-Benz CLK-Class Cabriolet
The new Mercedes-Benz CLK-Class Cabriolet: The AVANTGARDE line emphasises its dynamic and progressive creden-tials with its decorative trim made of specially shaped aluminium.
CLK-Class Cabriolet, CLK 240 Elegance, driving shot