Built to celebrate the winning of the 2003 DTM race series in Germany many this is not your usual road car. we found one right here in New Zealand
19s up front. 20s gracing the rear. Huge flared wheel arches. At first glace you could be forgiven for thinking that a boy racer has got his mitts on a Merc and done his best to give it some street cred. Only there is a menacing almost hypnotic atmosphere about this two door Benz that suggests more than boy racer add ons. A closer look suggests this isn’t just a bolt-on go fast kit.
The rear wing even looks like it could actually serve as a functional device. As one slides into a fitting race seat with a six-point harness you soon realise this is not your ordinary Mercedes Benz CLK with a few show off bits. The seat is just one of the many hints that something special is going on here. Once the six points of restraint have been firmly clicked into place I become aware of the carbon-fibre surroundings. It’s everywhere. A quick glance over my shoulder reveals the extent of the lightweight materials use. No longer are there the token back seats.
The ones that convince a buyer of the bread and butter CLK that it can transport more than two in comfort.
Just more carbon-fibre to be found back there¦ And a roll cage! Hang on a second. What’s a roll cage doing in a Benz? And what’s more what’s a roll cage doing in a Benz that is standard, out of the box, come as you are factory type Benz.
Another glance around the cockpit the CLK-DTM starts to reveal more of its pedigree. More carbon¦ And yes more carbon! The paddle shift tucked in behind the steering wheel is a real sign that there is a lot on offer here. The badge on the centre console starts to really sum things up. 1 of 100 it reads. Yep. There are only 100 of these little beasts being made for the world market. And the Yanks are getting none. But we found one right here in New Zealand.
Power to burn
But all this is quickly forgotten when the hand built 5.5 litre SOHC V8 is coaxed into life. No this really isn’t your usual Mercedes Benz. Not with all those ponies lurking under the hood! The overture from the exhaust even at idle would suggest the edict from the top brass at Daimler Chrysler to the engineers was to do as they wish. There is no hiding the fact there is something special lurking up front just waiting to be unleashed. This power plant is built under the AMG ‘one man, one engine’ philosophy.
Each engine has been hand built by just one engineer at the factory. Take one 5439cc-supercharged V8 that powers other modes of transport from AMG, give it that special one on one extra attention; you’ll end up with no less than 434kW arriving at 6100rpm. Of course, having eight cylinders in a vee configuration and a blower, the torque figures are right up there as well. A tree stump pulling 800Nm at 3500rpm to be exact! To top it off 690 of the 800Nm is ready for you to play with at a mere 2000rpm. Needless to say the throttle response is mind altering.
Out on the road the ride is quite refined for a mode of transport that can take out the exotic supercars of Italy. With the 5 speed AMG trans selected in full auto mode you can just potter along in the traffic. A supercar beater that you can really take to the corner dairy for the milk. Of course with its rather unsubtle exterior there is a lot of rubbernecking going on that can hinder one’s progress to the dairy. Around the streets of a busy city don’t plan on getting anywhere in a hurry. This is a real traffic stopper. But it’s not the first glance that gets the bystander. It’s the second take when they realise what they have just witnessed.
Once free of other cars the other side of this seemingly mellow beast is free to express itself. And express is the word. With a grin and a flick of the paddle shift the pilot unleashes all 582 units of power. What follows can only be described as pure racecar. It’s often said by motoring journos that a car has race like performance¦ But this CLK DTM really fits that shoe. The delivery of power is instant and relentless all the way up to 7000rpm. At this point the soundtrack is unbelievable. All signs of sound deadening were absent as the carbo fibre interior resonated to the tune of the supercharger.
Touch the redline then select another cog¦ a very fast operation with the AMG tricked box that also makes its home in the SLR¦ and she’ll step out big time and put the Dunlop 285/30/20s to the test. A test that is passed with flying colours as at no point does the car feel like it’s going to do anything that will require a change of ones under garments. One thinks that the electronics on board are doing an amazing job in keep the forward momentum piling on.
That rate is what the 6 pot front callipers are fantastic at hauling in. 360mm front rotors and 330mm at the rear coupled with ABS bring this pocket rocket to an organ altering halt.
Off camber and pot holes at huge speeds and braking is a breeze¦ and very nerve racking for the passenger, me. I even went for the death grip! All I could think was ‘I’m in a Merc so I should be alright’.
It’s this ability to stop, corner and accelerate that makes this an extremely fast package. In the right conditions (like the awesome Autobahns of Germany) the CLK DTM will hit its limited top speed of 320kph without any fuss. Limited to 320kph one asks. The general train of thought by the world’s media is that left untapped the CLK would outdo the mighty SLR in the top speed stakes. And that just wouldn’t be right now, would it?
We arrived in one piece at the chosen location to capture the beast onto the compact flash card of my Canon EOS digital camera. This car is one of those vehicles that photographers dream of shooting. The lines just lend themselves to the lens. Mind you the adrenalin had to settle before a shot could be fired. So at this point another victim was installed in the passenger seat for a ride to remember. The sound track from the outside the car is just as impressive as from inside. As the silver streak disappeared into the distance it sounded like the front row at Bathurst! Upon its return the smiles couldn’t be any wider. Another passenger that will not forget the CLK DTM in a hurry.
A huge thanks to Rick (thanks for your time) and the team at Armstrong Prestige in Christchurch www.armstrongprestige.co.nz. You never know if you like what you see in this article and you’re quick it just might be yours. Give them a call.
CLK DTM AMG
Engine: 5439cc SOHC 3 valves per cylinder supercharged V8, 0.85bar boost, 97mm bore, 92mm stroke, 10.5:1 compression, 7000rpm redline
Driveline: AMG SPEEDSHIFT 5 speed auto with sequential shift, multi clutch limited slip diff (60% lockup under acceleration, 40% under deceleration)
- Front: McPherson three-link front suspension, anti-dive device, spring and shock absorber units with adjustable coil springs and gas-filled shock absorbers, anti-roll bar
- Rear: Multi-link independent suspension, anti-squat and anti-dive device, spring and shock absorber units with adjustable coil springs and gas-filled shock absorbers, anti-roll bar
- Front: 360mm vented disc, sixpot calliper
- Rear: 330mm vented disc, fourpot calliper
- Front: 19×9 AMG multi-piece alloys, 225/35/R19 Dunlop Super Sport Race
- Rear: 20×10 AMG multi-piece alloys, 285/30/R20 Dunlop Super Sport Race
Performance: 582hp@6100rpm, 800Nm@3500rpm, 0-100kph 3.9sec, 0-200kph 10.9sec, top speed 320kph (limited)