The Mercedes-Benz CLK DTM Cabrio Is One of the Rarest Modern AMGs01/25/2021
Yikes—another AMG falls victim to the garish grips of the aftermarket. Look at those tacky wheels, Pep Boys’ fender flares, and glued-on rear wing—why couldn’t the owner just leave this poor CLK drop-top alone? I mean—
Gotcha. As much as this may look like the work of some tuner shop, this red ‘vert is just as it left the factory back in 2007. If you’ve never seen such a car (even on the mean streets of Malibu or Miami), I’m not surprised—the CLK DTM AMG Cabriolet is one of the rarest and most desirable modern Mercedes-Benz, beating out even the Mercedes-Benz SLR McLaren and the Mercedes-Benz SLS AMG Black Series for scarcity. Just 100 coupes and 80 convertibles were made between 2004 and 2006, and the majority of them were sold in the European market (Mercedes never officially sold the DTM in the United States).
Created to celebrate the involvement of Mercedes in the relaunched Deutsche Tourenwagen Masters (DTM) racing series, the CLK DTM was inarguably the most track-focused AMG available, even sitting above the later CLK63 AMG Black Series. Changes levied onto the relatively staid CLK-Class were numerous and significant; the stiffened springs at all four corners are adjustable, complemented by a stiffer rear anti-roll bar, new hub carriers, driveshafts, and metal joints that replaced existing rubber bushings. A beefier limited-slip diff is also present, as is a recalibrated traction and stability control system that works with a set of large 14.2-inch front and 13.0-inch rear brake discs.
Predictably, power spikes significantly over the regular CLK55 AMG. The supercharged 5.4-liter V-8 is good for 582 hp and 590 lb-ft of torque, managed by Benz’s 5G-Tronic five-speed automatic transmission—albeit, reinforced to manage the extra oomph. Wrangle those soon-to-be vaporized rear tires, and the DTM makes its way to 60 mph in around 3.8 seconds; keep your foot in it, and this CLK won’t stop pulling until the needle sweeps to just under 200 mph.
Inside, AMG went a bit DTM-mad, replacing the normal sport seats of the CLK55 AMG with one-piece race buckets, along with cross-bracing where the rear seats used to be. In keeping with the DTM theme, Mercedes fit the drop-top with a microsuede-covered steering wheel rim, added carbon fiber seemingly everywhere, and replaced the typical gear selector of lesser CLK models with a strange little metal nubbin.
There really weren’t many cars that could match the CLK DTM for out-of-the-box track capability. As such, the CLK DTM attracted a star roster of top-tier racers: Juan Pablo Montoya, Mika Hakkinen, Kimi Raikkonen, and Jenson Button all owned one of the 180 CLK DTMs at some point. According to RM Sotheby’s, this is just one of five CLK DTM Cabriolets finished in Fire Opal Red. Additionally, the auction house notes this car was delivered new to Germany prior to—almost immediately—making its way to the Middle East, where it hopped around the United Arab Emirates, Saudi Arabia, and Bahrain.
While regular CLK55s of this vintage can be parked in your driveway for roughly the price of a fast-food Weiner schnitzel, don’t expect this rare convertible to change hands for anything less than $250,000.
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