The Mercedes-Benz CLK 350 is a pretty popular used vehicle among the younger audience. It’s cheap to buy, combines sporty looks with relatively good performance, and is fairly reliable.
However, like every other car, the CLK 350 is not perfect and has some issues you might need to iron out. Not to worry, though, as you can repair most things yourself using a trustworthy Mercedes-Benz CLK workshop manual.
With that said, let’s see what makes the CLK350 a good car and how it fares against its competitors.
How much does a Mercedes-Benz CLK 350 cost?
The CLK 350 is a compact coupe/convertible that competes directly with the BMW 3-Series Coupe. A mint condition unit could easily cost over $49,000, while the more expensive CLK 350 Cabriolet was priced at over $55,000. However, you can find a used CLK 350 for as low as $4000 nowadays.
But, if you want recent model years ranging from 2007-2009, expect to pay over $15,000 and over $20,000 for a 2010 Cabriolet with a few thousand miles on the counter. Worth mentioning, these model years generally require a lot less maintenance compared to 2006 or older ones.
The cheapest option would be to go for a 2002-2006 model, with prices ranging from $4000 to $6000. However, although they may look intriguing at first, they might eventually bleed you out with their incredibly high maintenance costs. Needless to say that we recommend avoiding these models.
So is a used CLK 350 worth your hard-earned money? Of course, it’s no secret old luxury sedans will run into issues. However, as long as you get the vehicle inspected prior to purchase and follow the procedures found in your Mercedes-Benz CLK 350 manual to make the necessary repairs, a CLK 350 is a pretty good buy. Even models with over 150,000 miles on them can drive just fine after some minor tweaks.
Don’t already have a repair manual? Check out eManualOnline — their repair manuals will show you everything you need to keep your Merc’s maintenance costs on the lower side.
Engine and Performance
The Mercedes-Benz CLK 350 comes with a 3.5-liter V6 producing 268 hp and 258 lb-ft of torque and a seven-speed transmission helps in delivering power to the rear wheels. The sports coupe is agile and stable through the corners, although perhaps not as fun to drive as the BMW 3-Series Coupe. Still, being a Mercedes-Benz, the CLK 350 is quieter and more comfortable than its Munich-based rival.
However, the CLK 350 is not very fast in a straight line, especially compared to today’s standard, and the sat-nav is comically outdated. If you are performance inclined, a BMW 3-Series would be a better buy for the price. It comes with a massive V8 and boasts better power figures.
But for folks who are dead serious about getting a CLK 350, there’s no denying that it’s a complete package. It has everything you will ever want from a luxury coupe, including decent power, a luxurious interior, and a comfortable ride.
A car’s reliability can only be determined by how good it is in the long run and this one fares pretty good here. Indeed, the Mercedes-Benz CLK 350 is one of the most reliable vehicles built in the early 2000s. JD Power rates it at “great” or 83/100 in quality and reliability, above average for its segment — even a 2021 Audi A5 only gets an average rating when it comes to overall reliability.
Of course, a high-reliability rating ensures fewer issues and will result in lower maintenance costs. Still, even the most reliable vehicles break down at some point or another. In order to be prepared when things go south, we highly recommend getting your hands on a quality Mercedes-Benz CLK manual to be able to inspect and service your CLK 350. After all, regular maintenance is always your best bet to prevent more expensive repairs in the long run.
The fuel economy is decent, at best — the CLK comes with an EPA rating of 19 mpg in the city and 28 mpg on the highway. The numbers are comparable to other cars in its segment. For instance, the BMW 3-Series Coupe is rated at 19 mpg for the city and 29 mpg on the highway. Nonetheless, the Audi A5 performs significantly better and is rated at 27 mpg in the city and 31 on the highway.
Comparatively low Maintenance Costs
Correctly maintaining any vehicle is crucial if you want to keep it running for a long time. The CLK 350’s annual maintenance ranges from $95 to $1713, with an average of $330. Let’s be honest here, a Mercedes isn’t cheap to maintain. Still, the CLK 350 is relatively light on the pocket if you compare it with other models. For instance, the Mercedes-Benz C300 2.0-liter sedan comes with an annual maintenance cost of over $1000.
However, certain parts tend to break down more often than others. Once again, this is nothing you can’t take care of with the help of a Mercedes-Benz CLK workshop manual. They contain loads of information and will guide you through every repair.
Comfort and Safety
Despite being an older car, the CLK 350 still holds its ground when it comes to a luxurious ride. Indeed, it’s equipped with a telescoping memory steering column and ten-way adjustable power front leather seats, pretty advanced features for the time.
And let’s not forget about the dynamic and speed-sensitive 6-speaker audio system to keep the ambiance in check. And even if you can tell at first glance it’s not exactly a modern car, the leather seats and upholstery radiate a sense of luxury and comfort.
Also, Mercedes is known for making some of the safest vehicles on the planet, and the CLK 350 is no exception. The coupe is pretty well equipped when it comes to safety features for a car built several years ago, including anti-lock brakes, stability and traction control, and front impact airbags.
Overall, buying a Mercedes-Benz CLK 350 is a win-win situation. It has a great aesthetic appeal, radiates luxury to the core, and is built to last decades.
However, what really counts is choosing one in good working condition. Make sure to get the service history, and don’t be afraid to have it inspected by professionals. Once you have the estimate of what needs to be done, nothing prevents you from doing some of the repairs on your own. And when in doubt, a quick look at a Mercedes-Benz CLK 350 manual will show you how it’s done. Trust me; it will make your life much easier.