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2001 Mercedes-Benz CLK-Class Convertible

2dr Cabriolet 4.3L

Starting at | Starting at 18 MPG City - 24 MPG Highway

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  • $56,500 original MSRP
Printable Version

2001 Mercedes-Benz CLK-Class Convertible

Printable Version

2001 Mercedes-Benz CLK-Class Convertible


2001 Mercedes-Benz CLK430 Cabriolet

Source: The Car Connection

A winner, any way you slice it.

by Marty Padgett

NAVARRE BEACH, Fla. - It’s making everyone sick. For weeks I’ve been bragging about my new getaway on the Emerald Coast of Florida, an impossibly perfect stretch of shoreline punctuated by a national park, the occasional school of dolphins, and a population density that makes eastern Wyoming look like Calcutta.

When a friend found out our next jaunt to the panhandle paradise would take place behind the wheel of the latest Benz V-8 convertible, he pointed out: "If it got any better, your head would be even balder from the excitement."

Balder, yes, and redder because the entire trip through rural Alabama begs for top-down driving. And because the CLK’s fluid grace and massive V-8 power eggs even expedient drivers on to the narrower, windier byways, a normal five-hour journey is usually turned into something vaguely resembling Gilligan’s tour of duty - minus only a CD changer powered by two coconuts, that is.

Escape hatch

The CLK is the middle child in the world of Benz convertibles, too grown-up to be mistaken for the cutesy SLK-series roadsters and way too vigorous and youthful to get confused for the aging SL-Class dowagers. It’s also the only four-place convertible in the Mercedes lineup - a practical novelty that almost makes it socially acceptable to splurge on a nearly $60,000 car.

Regular readers know our fondness for the Benz CLK coupes in all versions - especially the 342-hp rifle shot that is the CLK55. That ardor goes equally for the Cabriolet versions of the same platform, but in a different way. Somehow, slicing off the roof transforms the more businesslike CLK430 into a ragtop with a matchless grace.

The top is operationally simple, but mechanically complex. Twist a handle on the windshield header and press a console-mounted button, and it first pops off the rear part of the top and raises a body-color panel behind the rear seats. The top folds away into the hold, and the panel closes to fit nearly flush with the trunk lid.

Aesthetically it’s a major high-five. Top down, the CLK looks like something from the pages of Town and Country magazine, very sleek and quietly rich. Even with the top up, the glass rear window and thickly woven ragtop make the cabin a comfortable, relatively noise-free abode. However, the folding mechanism just destroys trunk room; a laptop bag won’t fit vertically in the space underneath the top stack.

The convertible conversion makes this roomy and airy, not at all quivery. There is a very slight shudder, like the one I get when I surf by The Geena Davis Show, but it’s inevitably brief and minor. If you’re expecting an automotive lambada and a reason to harpoon this one from your shopping list, it won’t be for body flex.

Mechanical animal

The Cabrio is also linked to its hardtop cohorts by virtue of its virtuous powertrain, a 275-hp V-8 entwined with a five-speed automatic and Touch Shift control. The two work in beautiful concert, trading complementary actions like cartoon chipmunks Chip ‘N Dale. Building speed is effortless behind this team: Benz says it’ll go 155 mph and hit 60 mph in 6.9 seconds, but they don’t offer how smoothly and invisibly it accelerates in its midrange. Even on a challenging road, you’ll be able to pick off passes nonchalantly. The Touch Shift control is a mild surprise - you’ll become addicted to slapping from gear to gear with a quick whack on the shift lever.

The Cabrio’s handling leaves nothing off the menu. Braking and steering are standouts. Every manufacturer should study how Benz builds efforts into controls that make their cars feel easy to drive. Responses feel natural, especially in the steering, which needles through Alabama two-laners with the abandon of Junior Johnson. The shocks are damped ideally, even considering the Cabrio’s extra weight and less rigid body.

Seating room is an issue if you’re trying to initiate four adults into the windblown fraternity. My in-laws fit in the Cabrio’s rear seats rather easily, but leg room wasn’t luxuriant. In front, there’s virtually no issue, however. Plus, there’s a button on the dash that lowers and raises the rear headrests, a nifty gadget that provides a good 15 minutes of fun for even the most jaded drivers.

While the breezes stay manageable in the cabin thanks to clever engineers, a few quibbles waft into the interior. Why does German logic make the tranny so sweet and the radio controls so maddening? It’s no CL-Class, what with that car’s minuscule buttons and the pushing and fiddling just to change bands. But the Cabrio’s steering-wheel controls for the trip functions and the radio would be best left unintegrated. Toggling through menus is a unique frustration best left to Bill Gates, isn’t it? Then there’s the cupholder, an elegant piece of fluid movement that is nonetheless practically useless for water bottles and anything you’d prefer to keep vertical.

Down in paradise, the Cabrio makes perfect sense. Crossing the Pensacola Bay Bridge, aqua blue and sky blue separated by a thin band of white concrete, it’s hard to imagine a better life. Then again, there is a CLK55 Cabrio in the offing - one reason to go back home, I suppose.

2001 Mercedes-Benz CLK430 Cabriolet

Price: $56,500 base; $59,565 as tested
Engine: 4.3-liter V-8, 275 hp
Transmission: five-speed automatic with TouchShift control
Length: 180.2 in
Width: 67.8 in
Height: 54.3 in
Wheelbase: 105.9 in
Curb weight: 3566 lb
EPA (city/hwy): 18/24 mpg
Safety equipment: Dual front and side airbags, anti-lock brakes, Electronic Stability Program
Major standard features: Leather upholstery, AM/FM cassette with CD pre-wiring, five-speed automatic transmission, leather seating
Warranty: Four years/50,000 miles

© 2001 The Car Connection


Printable Version

2001 Mercedes-Benz CLK-Class Convertible

Safety Features & Equipment

Braking & Traction

4-Wheel ABS Std
Traction/Stability Control Std

Passenger Restraint

Driver Air Bag Std
Passenger Air Bag Std
Side Air Bag Std

Road Visibility

Fog Lamps Std
Electrochromic Rearview Mirror Std
Intermittent Wipers Std


Alarm Std
Anti-theft System Std
Printable Version

2001 Mercedes-Benz CLK-Class Convertible

Original Warranty  help
Original Warranty
An original warranty is the warranty associated with a vehicle when it is brand new. In addition to the original warranty, select items, like tires, are typically covered by respective manufacturers. Also, an act of Federal law sometimes provides protection for certain components, like emissions equipment.
The original warranty is often broken down into multiple sections, including:
Basic Warranty:
Typically covers everything except for parts that wear out through normal use of the vehicle. Examples of non-covered items are brake pads, wiper blades and filters.
Drivetrain Warranty:
This warranty covers items the basic warranty does not protect. Wear and tear items such as hoses will not be covered, but key items like the engine, transmission, drive axles and driveshaft often will be.
Roadside Assistance:
The level of service differs greatly with this warranty, but many manufacturers offer a toll-free number that helps provide assistance in case you run out of gas, get a flat tire or lock your keys in the car.
Corrosion Warranty:
This warranty focuses on protecting you from holes caused by rust or corrosion in your vehicle's sheet metal.
Please check the owner's manual, visit a local dealership or look at the manufacturer's website to learn more about the specifics of the warranties that apply to a vehicle.

Basic 4 Years/50,000 Miles
Drivetrain 4 Years/50,000 Miles
Corrosion 4 Years/50,000 Miles
Roadside Assistance Unlimited Years/Unlimited Miles

Mercedes-Benz Certified Pre-Owned Warranty  help
Certified Pre-Owned Warranty
To be eligible for Certified Pre-Owned (CPO) status, vehicles generally must be recent models with relatively low mileage. CPO vehicles must also pass a detailed inspection, outlined by the manufacturer, which is measured by the number of inspected points.
Warranty coverage can vary from one manufacturer to the next. While most certified pre-owned programs transfer and extend the existing new car warranty terms, others offer a warranty that simply represents an additional year and mileage value. Always check with the manufacturer for the specific warranties they offer.
Common features and benefits of Certified Pre-Owned warranties include:
Age/Mileage Eligibility
To even be considered for certification, a car must be a recent model year and have limited mileage. The exact requirements are established by individual manufacturers.
Lease Term Certified
Some manufacturers offer certified pre-owned cars for lease. The length of the lease is often shorter than a new car lease, but it will cost you less.
Point Inspection
These inspections entail a comprehensive vehicle test to ensure that all parts are in excellent working order. The point inspection list is simply a numbered list of exactly what parts of the car are examined. While many inspections range from a 70- to 150-point checklist, most are very similar and are performed using strict guidelines. Ask your local dealer about specific details.
Return/Exchange Program
Some manufacturers offer a very limited return or exchange period. Find out if you will get the sales tax and licensing/registration fees back should you return or exchange the car.
Roadside Assistance
Most certified pre-owned programs offer free roadside service in case your car breaks down while still under warranty.
Special Financing
Reduced-rate loans are available through many certified pre-owned programs. Manufacturer-backed inspections and warranties help eliminate the risks involved with buying pre-owned, so buyers who qualify can take advantage of the great offers.
Transferable Warranty
When a new car warranty transfers with the certification of the car and remains eligible for the next owner, it is known as a transferable warranty. Once the original transferable warranty expires, an extended warranty takes effect.
Warranty Deductible
This is the amount for which you are responsible when repair work is performed under the warranty. Some manufacturers require a deductible while others don't, so always ask.

The MBCPO Limited warranty provides vehicle coverage for 12 months and Unlimited vehicle miles and begins at the expiration of the New Vehicle Limited Warranty
Age/Mileage Eligibility 6 years / 75,000 miles
Lease Term Certified Yes
Point Inspection Yes
Return/Exchange Program Yes. See dealer for details.
Roadside Assistance Yes
Special Financing Yes
Transferrable Warranty Yes
Warranty Deductible No

Learn more about certified pre-owned vehicles

Printable Version

2001 Mercedes-Benz CLK-Class Convertible

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