The Mercedes-Benz CLK-GTR was a V12 midengine race car developed for the 1997 FIA GT championships. It shared only lights and other exterior similarities with the normal CLK. Production of the required 25 road cars began in late 1998. A special version of the CLK is the CLK DTM AMG sports car, which looks similar to the full race car for the German Deutsche Tourenwagen Masters racing series which has to use a normally aspirated 4.0 L V8, limited to less than 500 hp. 100 Coupés and 80 Convertibles were released for sale in Europe, using AMG’s supercharged 5.4 L V8, now producing 428 kW (582 PS) and 800 N·m (590 ft·lbf). The front and rear track are widened by 2.9 and 4.2 inches (74 and 110 mm) respectively, and special tires and suspension modifications allow the car to pull 1.35 g (13 m/s²) of lateral acceleration. 0-100 km/h acceleration is just 3.9 seconds, and top speed is 320 km/h (199 mph). In Germany, the car cost 236,060 euro after taxes. In addition to hard top CLK DTM AMG, 80 convertible versions of CLK DTM were made for 2006 model year, titled Mercedes-Benz CLK DTM AMG Cabriolet. Compared to the coupé version, a speed limiter further reduces its top speed to 300 km/h (likely due to the top not able to withstand higher wind forces safely). Owners of the CLK DTM Cabriolet includes former McLaren Mercedes Formula One drivers Juan Pablo Montoya and Mika Hakkinen. Hakkinen is currently racing for Mercedes in the DTM championship. Former McLaren Mercedes Formula One driver Kimi Raikkonen owns the hard top version of the CLK DTM.
The R170-platform SLK 230 Kompressor was introduced in 1997 for model year 1998 to compete with the Porsche Boxster and BMW Z3. Setting it apart was its folding hardtop, though its additional weight dented the performance of the 185 hp 2.3 L supercharged I4 engine and automatic transmission. The SLK was on Car and Driver’s Ten Best list for 1997. A 5-speed manual transmission was added for 1999, but it was the introduction of a 215 hp 3.2 L V6 and 6-speed manual transmission in the 2001 SLK 320 that really brought the Sportlich to the car. An AMG model was added in 2001, with a 354 hp (264 kW) supercharged version of the 3.2 L V6. This SLK 32 AMG was the best-performing SLK ever, and was a direct rival of the BMW M Roadster and Porsche Boxster S. It is only offered with automatic transmission. The SLK AMG engine is also hand built. Not all Mercedes SLKs were built in Bremen, Germany, the SLK 320 being built in South Africa. The very first R170 Mercedes SLK was completed Models of the new SLK include:
– SLK 200 Kompressor – 1.8 L 120 kW (163 hp DIN) I4 supercharged engine, 0-100 km/h (62 mph) 7.9 seconds, top speed of 143 mph. (not available in Canada and the US)
– SLK 280 – 3.0 L (2996 cc) 170 kW (231 hp DIN) double overhead cam V6 engine, 0-100 km/h (62 mph) 6.3 seconds, top speed 155 mph. (starting in 2006 model year)
– SLK 350 – new 3.5 L (3498 cc) 200 kW (272 hp DIN) double overhead cam V6 engine, 0-100 km/h (62 mph) 5.4 seconds, top speed 155 mph (electronically limited).
– SLK 55 AMG – 5.4 L (5439 cc) 265 kW (360 hp DIN) V8 engine, 0-100 km/h (62 mph) 4.3 seconds, top speed 155 mph (electronically limited). A tuned version of this was used as the Formula One safety car, replaced by CLK 63 AMG at the beginning of 2006 Season.
A lifting of the R171, with more powerful engines, has been presented at the end of 2007.
– SLK 200 Kompressor – 1.8 L 135 kW (184 hp DIN) I4 supercharged engine
– SLK 280 – 3.0 L (2996 cc) 170 kW (231 hp DIN) double overhead cam V6 engine
– SLK 350 – 3.5 L (3498 cc) 224 kW (305 hp DIN) double overhead cam V6 engine
– SLK 55 AMG – 5.4 L (5439 cc) 265 kW (360 hp DIN) V8 engine
The R170-platform SLK 230 Kompressor was introduced in 1997 for model year 1998 to compete with the Porsche Boxster and BMW Z3. Setting it apart was its folding hardtop, though its additional weight dented the performance of the 185 hp 2.3 L supercharged I4 engine and automatic transmission. The SLK was on Car and Driver’s Ten Best list for 1997. A 5-speed manual transmission was added for 1999, but it was the introduction of a 215 hp 3.2 L V6 and 6-speed manual transmission in the 2001 SLK 320 that really brought the Sportlich to the car. An AMG model was added in 2001, with a 354 hp (264 kW) supercharged version of the 3.2 L V6. This SLK 32 AMG was the best-performing SLK ever, and was a direct rival of the BMW M Roadster and Porsche Boxster S. It is only offered with automatic transmission. The SLK AMG engine is also hand built. Not all Mercedes SLKs were built in Bremen, Germany, the SLK 320 being built in South Africa. The very first R170 Mercedes SLK was completed on January 29, 1997 and last on April 7, 2004.
The M-Class was the first SUV to feature stability control, a system designed to detect loss of control and instantaneously intervene with selective braking to bring the vehicle back on its intended course. This system is now hailed by safety experts, and studies have shown stability control and systems like it are capable of reducing single vehicle crashes by up to 30 percent. Furthermore, the M-Class boasted front- and side-impact airbags with advanced occupant detection for the front passenger seat, which, combined with Mercedes’ legendary safety structure, earned the M-Class the highest marks in insurance industry crash tests. For the 2007 model it was named a top safety pick. Major model variants have included the ML320, ML350, ML430, ML500 and ML55, along with the 4-cylinder ML230 and the turbodiesel ML270 CDI and ML400 CDI in Europe. The ML55, or ML55 AMG, featured a V8 engine made by AMG, modified body-work, and other performance features. The ML350 replaced the ML320 as the base model in the United States in 2004. The M-Class was Motor Trend magazine’s Truck of the Year for 1998. The ML320 was voted the 1998 North American Truck of the Year at the North American International Auto Show in Detroit, in January 1998.
The Mercedes-Benz W209 cars have been produced since 2002. They are sold under the CLK-Class model names. The W209 is based on the W203 C-Class. It replaced the C208 CLK-Class after 2004 which were the first car to carry the CLK moniker. The W209 is available in two body styles, a coupe and a cabriolet, and is manufactured with diesel and petrol engines ranging from four cylinder (CLK200) to eight cylinder (CLK500 and CLK63AMG). The cabriolet (Designated with an A, as in CLK500A) features a fully automatic retractable soft top covered by a metal tonneau that can be raised and lowered from outside the vehicle using the key fob. The W209 was introduced in 2002. At introduction, it was available with a 3.2 liter engine, a 5.0 liter engine, and a 5.5 liter engine. The 2004 CLK was the last Mercedes Benz automobile to use the venerable D2B (Digital Data Bus) optical fiber media system introduced a decade earlier. The most obvious problem with this system was the clearly obsolete CD-ROM based navigation system. The 2005 update included a new 3.5 liter 6 cylinder and the MOST (Media Oriented Serial Transport) media system used in the rest of the Mercedes Benz line, bringing along a significantly upgrade DVD based navigation system and iPod integration as optional features. The 2006 included an improved 3.5 liter 6 cylinder engine and added the steering wheel shift paddles from the AMG model to the CLK500.
The second generation C-Class was introduced in 2000, with an even sportier look than the previous generations, with a steeper front-end and shorter rear-end. The sedan debuted with a range of straight-four and V6 gasoline engines and straight-four and straight-five Diesels. The V6s were versions of the previous model with increased displacement, to 2.6 L and 3.2 L, this one with 218 PS (160 kW/215 hp). The diesels now featured common rail direct injection and variable geometry turbochargers. Six-speed manual gearboxes were now standard for nearly the entire range (except the C320 and C 270 CDI). For the first time, the number designations were no longer equivalent to the engine displacement, more specifically in the C 180 (2.0 L), C 240 (2.6 L) and C 200 CDI (2.2 L). In 2001, Mercedes increased the range, with the introduction of the new T-Modell (station wagon) and Sportcoupé body types. The Sportcoupé was actually a three-door liftback made to counter the BMW Compact, but like its competitor, it proved unpopular with the younger buyers it was targeted towards, due to high prices compared to the lower entry-level models it was competing against, and unfavorable exchange rates. Although removed from the North American lineup in 2005, it continued on sale in other markets. From October 2000 until 2007, a total of 230.000 Sportcoupés were built in the Bremen factory and in Brazil. In Canada, it was replaced by the Mercedes-Benz B-Class. A new family of supercharged four cylinder engines, dubbed M271, also debuted. All of them used the same 1.8 L engine, with different designations according to horsepower levels, including a version powered by natural gas. The 193 PS(142 kW/190 hp) C 230K was initially available only in the Sportcoupé. 4MATIC four wheel drive versions were also offered for the C 240 and C 320. The C-Class was refreshed in early 2004. In this year, the interior styling was changed in all three body styles. Different taillights were added to the Sportcoupé and several all-new M272 and OM642 V6 engines were introduced later in the year. These were available in both petrol and diesel configuration, ranging between 2.5 L and 3.5 L, and the three-valve twin spark design was replaced by the more standard four-valve design, now with variable valve timing. The C 350 could now reach 272 PS (200 kW/268 hp), while the C 320 CDI was good for 224 PS (165 kW/221 hp). In addition, these engines also received the new seven-speed 7G-Tronic automatic transmission as optional, the diesel four cylinder’s power was slightly increased, and a more economical naturally-aspirated 1.8 L (C 160) was added to the Sport coupe lineup. The C-Class is arguably one of the most popular automobiles in its class in many of the European markets. The second generation was for a long time after its release the second most popular new car in the German market, right after the Volkswagen Golf, and in 2002 it achieved success in the field of safety by scoring the maximum five stars in a EuroNCAP crash test. In the United States, the C-Class automobiles are the least expensive of the Mercedes-Benz lineup. However the W203 C-Class did acquire a poor reputation for reliability compared to other Mercedes-Benz models, an area which was targeted for improvement in the replacement model. The last W203 C-Class sedan was produced on December 14, 2006 at the Sindelfingen plant, after almost 630,000 units of the sedan were produced.
DaimlerChrysler introduced a new generation of the C-Class on January 18, 2007 and displayed it in the 2007 Geneva Auto Show. Sales started on March 31, 2007 in almost all European countries. The new vehicle has an extended wheelbase and tracks, a stiffer bodyshell and a design inspired by the most recent S-Class and some hints from the CLS-Class. The model has three levels of equipment – Classic, Elegance and Avantgarde. A high performance AMG version with a 6.2 L engine followed in September 2007, labelled C 63 AMG with 457 PS (335 kW)to rival the Audi RS4 and BMW M3. The Classic and Elegance lines retain the traditional Mercedes-Benz radiator grille, with a three-point star bonnet emblem. The Avantgarde line has a grille similar to that on Mercedes’ sport coupe models, with two horizontal bars and a large centre-mounted star. In the UK the Classic line is known as the SE and the Avantgarde line is known as the C-Class Sport , and comes with an AMG bodykit, and AMG alloy wheels as standard. The North American version is slightly different, as the Classic model is dropped. The Elegance is known as the C-Class Luxury and the Avantgarde wearing the AMG sports package is known as the C-Class sport. Both lines have an additional amber light in front of the front wheel well. New saloon and estate versions were announced in 2007, while the CLC-Class Sportcoupé will remain based on the W203 chassis. There will be an increase of component-sharing with other Mercedes’ models, namely the redesigned E- and S-Class, as well as the upcoming GLK-Class compact SUV. Versions of the car are available with a choice of rear- and all-wheel drive (in the latter case an improved version of the 4MATIC system, not available in right-hand drive format), along with a variety of four and six-cylinder engines (and a 6.2 litre V8 in the C 63 AMG). Engines are the straight-4 M271 and V6 M272 petrol engines, straight-4 OM611 + OM651, and V6 OM642 Diesel engines. Six-speed manual transmissions are standard on all models (except the C 350), with the 7G-Tronic seven-gear automatic transmission available for six-cylinder engines (7G-Tronic is available for C 230K, C 280, C 300, C 320 CDI and standard for C 350) and a five speed automatic transmission available for the four cylinder models. In the United States, the C 300 Luxury and C 350 Sport are only available with the 7G-Tronic transmission, and the C 300 Sport comes with a six-speed manual transmission, and the 7G-Tronic automatic transmission as an option. The development of the W204 C-Class involved the use of a “digital prototype”, which put a 2.1 terabyte digital replica of the car through a 15 million mile road course. This is an industry first which allowed for crash testing and more, before a physical prototype was actually constructed. The C 63 AMG is reportedly the first AMG Mercedes designed from the ground up for performance, as compared to previous AMG cars which were more or less focused on the engine. The C 63 has a revised front end architecture that is taken from the CLK 63 AMG Black series. The revised 7-speed automatic transmission now has three shift modes – Comfort, Sport and Manual – with the last one running with the converter locked allowing the driver to hold the engine at the rev limit. The ESP can now be completely turned off, interfering only under heavy braking. The car also has the quickest, most responsive steering of any Mercedes to date. Car and Driver recently tested the car and got a 0-60 mph time of 3.9 seconds; a 0-100 mph time of 9.2 seconds and a quarter-mile time of 12.3 seconds at 116 mph (187 km/h). The top speed is electronically limited to 151 mph (243 km/h). This makes the C 63 the fastest production 4-door sedan in the world in terms of acceleration.