The latest CLK-Class Coupé was launched in April 2002, and since then has proven to be even more popular than its predecessor. Now, with the high performance version, the new range has grace, grip and grunt in equal measure.

Visually, the CLK borrows its styling cues from its larger CL-Class Coupé stablemate. In profile, the roof arcs from front to rear with no upper B-pillars to interrupt the line. Four electric windows can retract fully into the bodywork at the touch of a button, giving a near open-topped driving experience. The form doesn’t disrupt the car’s function, however. As well as the increased glass area giving the interior a more spacious feel than before, the torsional stiffness of the car has increased by 36 per cent to 24,815 Nm per degree.

Standard equipment is suitably generous for this high-performance range-topper. There’s an abundance of discreet AMG styling, including 18" double spoke alloy wheels, special exterior and interior trim, two-tone nubuk leather interior, and a BOSE audio system with glovebox-mounted CD autochanger. The front seats are electrically adjustable and heated, the climate is electronically-controlled, the paint is metallic, and the steering has speed-related variable assistance. Eight airbags work with four belt pre-tensioners to give excellent occupant protection in the event of a collision.

Also new to the range is a wide choice of options previously available only on the flagship cars. Distronic – the radar-assisted cruise control system which maintains a constant gap between the car and vehicle in front, even in traffic flowing at different speeds; Linguatronic, giving voice activation of radio and telephone is available; and bi-xenon headlights are standard.

The AMG experts drew on their motorsport experience when developing the CLK 55 AMG’s brakes. And the upshot: four-piston fixed-calliper disc brakes on the front axle, with internally ventilated and perforated brake discs measuring 345 mm in diameter, and two-piston fixed-calliper disc brakes at the rear, also with internally ventilated disc brakes (diameter 300 mm). This means the brake system on the AMG Coupé can rise to almost any challenge with an impressive maximum deceleration of 10.5 metres/second².

The CLK 55 AMG Coupé costs £50,040 on the road.

Published : 22/10/02 Author : Melanie Carter

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