It was twenty-five years ago, in January 1997, that Mercedes-Benz launched its CLK (model series 208) edition. It was the second production undertaken by the German luxury carmaker, which was a part of their plan to expand their product portfolio. This vehicle was for the first time presented to the public in Detroit at the North American International Auto Show (NAIAS). At this world premiere, Mercedes-Benz showed clearly all its intention to adapt to the winds of change seen in automobile manufacturing and technology.
The unveiling of CLK at this mega event held in the United States of America also highlighted how serious the brand was keen on breaking into new segments in the automobile industry. To know more about this CLK model that completes twenty-five years of existence in January, read this article exclusively presented by MWTV.
The 'Origin Story' of the Mercedes-Benz CLK model:
'March 1993' is the month and year in which the fascinating story of Mercedes-Benz CLK (model series 208) first took shape. It was when the brand, for the first time, launched an elegant four-seater coupé at the Geneva Motor Show, which caused a sensation. It has a slim radiator grille, four single ellipse-shaped headlights (two on the inside and two on the outside), and is flanked by sturdy mudguards. As per one of the vehicle designers Peter Pfeiffer, it was one of the first show cars that the company produced. Thus, Mercedes-Benz began to innovate and introduce newer car models such as CLK from this moment on.
The creation of the first official Mercedes-Benz CLK model:
It was four years later, in 1997 in Detroit, that the first CLK model was exhibited. This car series was developed using elements of C-Class Saloon as inspiration. Specifically, its floor assembly and aggregates were used as a template. However, the body design of the CLK was new, thereby establishing its own identity. It also shared a few common standard types of equipment with the C-Class Saloon. These included an exterior temperature display, traction control (TCS), leather steering wheel, remote boot lid opening, heat-insulating glass, and asymmetrically split-folding rear seat backrest to increase boot space. In addition, the CLK models generally possessed a four, six, and eight cylinders' engine. The vehicles of the CLK 208 series tasted massive success, with 233,367 units being successfully sold for five years until May 2002. After that, it led to the CLK 320 and CLK 209 series manufacturing.
The planting of the roots of the CLK (model series 208) edition by Mercedes-Benz:
In the late 1980s, Mercedes-Benz first made the brand innovative and more dynamic. The campaign for an image makeover started right at the beginning of the 1990s, with Mercedes-Benz 500 E (W 124) model proving to be the starting point. Furthermore, motorsports played its part, too, with people involved in racing looking up to Mercedes-Benz. Since the brand had started to take innovation in automobile technology up a notch in terms of quality, this interest shown by the world around led to a dramatic increase in sales.
Therefore, because of the calculated risks taken by Mercedes-Benz, CLK's (model series 208) legacy continues to grow twenty-five years later as well.