2005 CLK320 Test drive

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ChrisEdu

MB Enthusiast
Joined
Sep 5, 2005
Messages
8,326
Location
By the southern sea
Car
E320CDi Estate - gone E320CDi Saloon - written off CLS 350CDi Coupé
My son, the one wanting a Mercedes, has found a 2005 (05) CLK320 for sale, with 87000 miles.

The car seems honest enough, a scuff on the bumper, kerbed rims, interior a bit grubby, etc...

Test drove it and was a bit surprised by a couple of things:

a) first thing that hit me was how the steering felt heavy, not light as I'm used to from Mercs;
b) how the engine revved quite freely, but didn't seem to pick up speed as fast as I thought it might - all noise and no go (at least not instant).

Last MOT did comment about slight rust on rear subframe.

What does the hive think?

My thoughts are as follow:

Power steering - maybe dirty fluid if it's not been changed; possible issue with pump; under inflated tyres (I didn't honestly look/notice); steering rack?

Revs but lacks oomph - maybe just a characteristic of it being petrol vs being used to driving the 3L diesel engines; maybe a characteristic of the 5sp auto box; something else?

I did a quick OBD scan but didn't find anything to offer any explanation for these things.

Out of interest, what would members suggest a fair price would be?

Any help appreciated, as my son really can't afford to by a total dog. Other than those things, the car seemed to be in pretty decent shape.
 
Don't worry about it folks - son has listened to my gut and decided to walk away.

Whilst, on the surface, it was a nice enough car, the uncertainty of what lies beneath regarding the steering and acceleration just made it too risky a proposition for him, especially as he's only just started working and the Bank of Dad is firmly shut! 😁
 
I have a 2006 350 and the steering is a bit heavier than I thought it would be,but it’s sharp, direct and feels great. In fact, if you can find a decent one for good money they are a great choice - for a cheap soft top anyway.
 
No, you’re right, it’s probably not for some one with a tighter budget. I’m fortunate, mine is just a run around for when I don’t want to use the big car and cost me 4K. If it’s too expensive to keep it running I’ll scrap it.
good luck with the search - don’t even think about an old range rover.
 
An 18 yr old petrol is going to drive differently to a newer diesel, the power delivery is very different.
But for a younger person on a budget? It does not have much going for it, expensive insurance, high fuel consumption, expensive to fix, likelihood of needing fixing quite high.....
If I were on a budget I would be looking at Jap or Korean petrol cars
 
An 18 yr old petrol is going to drive differently to a newer diesel, the power delivery is very different.
But for a younger person on a budget? It does not have much going for it, expensive insurance, high fuel consumption, expensive to fix, likelihood of needing fixing quite high.....
If I were on a budget I would be looking at Jap or Korean petrol cars
Indeed, but for somebody that drives a range of cars at work (management trainee with Enterprise) plus Neurodivergent, that argument is easier said than done, believe me, I've tried.🙄

Speaking with my son, after he let the seller know his decision, it did sound like the harsh reality of finances might have hit home a bit more, and having had a look at a car, and a drive (albeit me driving it), it has helped to at least partially s ratch the itch.

His search shall no doubt continue in the future, but hopefully for now he has come to terms with reality.
 
Two thoughts: insurance will rule this out. At his age, small engined mainstream cars are the only affordable route: Focus, Fiesta etc. What was his quote for insurance?

The only way to understand if a car is right is to have test driven a few. One test drive without comparison is no way to buy.

As a bloke on the internet I can describe the power delivery of a petrol over a diesel, but it’ll never make sense until you drive it yourself. And there’s no way of describing the difference in vehicle weights, or either whether a car is firing badly “over the inter web.”

IMG_0771.jpeg
 
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No such as cheap Benz when it comes to repairs.
Regards steering, I changes from 17 to 16 inch wheels and the steering felt better.
Originally 225 X 17 now 205 X16. Tyres much cheaper and last longer.
 
Two thoughts: insurance will rule this out. At his age, small engined mainstream cars are the only affordable route: Focus, Fiesta etc. What was his quote for insurance?

The only way to understand if a car is right is to have test driven a few. One test drive without comparison is no way to buy.

As a bloke on the internet I can describe the power delivery of a petrol over a diesel, but it’ll never make sense until you drive it yourself. And there’s no way of describing the difference in vehicle weights, or either whether a car is firing badly “over the inter web.”

View attachment 144079
Insurance, apparently, wasn't too bad. Yes, considerably more than his old Ford Focus 1.6, but less than £1k.

The more I think about the power delivery, the more convinced I become that something wasn't quite right. I drive the other cars in the household, all petrol, and they are more reactive, despite having much smaller engines. My son's 1.6 Focus, and the 1L EcoBoom Focus, both fee pretty nippy, unlike the CLK.

Aside his Neurodivergence issues, he is also going to be playing in the national volleyball league this coming season. As such, he'll be travelling greater distances to matches, hence the desire for a nicer car.

I had suggested he might consider just hiring a car from work, for those trips. However, despite driving all manner of vehicles for his job, including Mercs and BMWs, he's pretty sure he can't actually hire anything until he's 25!🙄 Hopefully, he might find that he can actually hire something, as to my mind at least, this would be far more sensible, allowing him to use a nicer car for those journeys, whilst retaining his Focus, which has been reliable and we know the history of.
 
he's pretty sure he can't actually hire anything until he's 25!🙄
I happen to know that in 1996 you had to be 25 to hire a Galaxy from Ford.

I know that because we planned to hire and sleep in a Galaxy for a 21st birthday weekend in Blackpool, and the only hotels which might accept a group of 2x year olds would be hotels we wouldn’t want to stay in.

The Ford dealer told us on the phone that the minimum age to hire a car was 21 and that they had a Galaxy available that weekend. They only told us upon collection that you had to be 25 to hire the Galaxy…

The only other car available was a Fiesta so the five of us were set to sleep in that. We never did, we got in it at 0445 and remembered that McDonalds opened for breakfast at 0500 so we got straight back out

Back to topic…
 
I happen to know that in 1996 you had to be 25 to hire a Galaxy from Ford.

I know that because we planned to hire and sleep in a Galaxy for a 21st birthday weekend in Blackpool, and the only hotels which might accept a group of 2x year olds would be hotels we wouldn’t want to stay in.

The Ford dealer told us on the phone that the minimum age to hire a car was 21 and that they had a Galaxy available that weekend. They only told us upon collection that you had to be 25 to hire the Galaxy…

The only other car available was a Fiesta so the five of us were set to sleep in that. We never did, we got in it at 0445 and remembered that McDonalds opened for breakfast at 0500 so we got straight back out

Back to topic…
That would make a good Top Gear challenge. Oh yeah, been done several times.😂

Funnily enough, at one point, my son has commented that he liked the idea of a camper van.😅
 
My son, the one wanting a Mercedes, has found a 2005 (05) CLK320 for sale, with 87000 miles.

The car seems honest enough, a scuff on the bumper, kerbed rims, interior a bit grubby, etc...

Test drove it and was a bit surprised by a couple of things:

a) first thing that hit me was how the steering felt heavy, not light as I'm used to from Mercs;
b) how the engine revved quite freely, but didn't seem to pick up speed as fast as I thought it might - all noise and no go (at least not instant).

Last MOT did comment about slight rust on rear subframe.

What does the hive think?

My thoughts are as follow:

Power steering - maybe dirty fluid if it's not been changed; possible issue with pump; under inflated tyres (I didn't honestly look/notice); steering rack?

Revs but lacks oomph - maybe just a characteristic of it being petrol vs being used to driving the 3L diesel engines; maybe a characteristic of the 5sp auto box; something else?

I did a quick OBD scan but didn't find anything to offer any explanation for these things.

Out of interest, what would members suggest a fair price would be?

Any help appreciated, as my son really can't afford to by a total dog. Other than those things, the car seemed to be in pretty decent shape.
I’m not convinced that a reliable Mercedes costs a huge amount more to run than any other car. Ultimately big bills down to quality and completeness of previous maintenance and luck. Mostly luck.

He could buy a 5 year old runaround and if he’s unlucky then he could spend more on it than an older Mercedes. I’d drive another one or two to get a feel for good and bad, and decide whether it’s right for him.
 
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I’m not convinced that a reliable Mercedes costs a huge amount more to run than any other car. Ultimately big bills down to quality and completeness of previous maintenance and luck. Mostly luck.

He could buy a 5 year old runaround and if he’s unlucky then he could spend more on it than an older Mercedes. I’d drive another one or two to get a feel for good and bad, and decide whether it’s right for him.
Indeed. Prior maintenance and luck are the two big factors, which is why I advised him to just keep his Focus - better the devil you know.

One thing, though, that always acts as an immediate warning sign to me, and maybe this is contentious, is when you see cheapie Chinese/Asian tyres on what is meant to be a premium vehicle. If the owner is skimping on the rubber, where else are they skimping?🤔
 
Indeed. Prior maintenance and luck are the two big factors, which is why I advised him to just keep his Focus - better the devil you know.

One thing, though, that always acts as an immediate warning sign to me, and maybe this is contentious, is when you see cheapie Chinese/Asian tyres on what is meant to be a premium vehicle. If the owner is skimping on the rubber, where else are they skimping?🤔
I would also be put off by non-premium tyres on any car, of any age, and especially a premium car.

Perhaps the only slight exception being if a dealer had just fitted the tyres for sale to make it legal but protect their margin.
 
I would also be put off by non-premium tyres on any car, of any age, and especially a premium car.

Perhaps the only slight exception being if a dealer had just fitted the tyres for sale to make it legal but protect their margin.
Even then, most dealers would surely just hike the price to cover the rubber?
 
Even then, most dealers would surely just hike the price to cover the rubber?
You’d think so, but I guess most people don’t care - or don’t look too closely in the excitement of the moment - until it’s too late. I’ve seen approved used cars at main dealers with brand new cheap rubber.

I’ve bought a couple of second hand cars which have needed new boots and because I’m fussy I’ve made specific replacement tyres a condition of the deal. That way they can factor it in to the price.
 
I always subconsciously factor in a new set of tyres and often a wheel refurb into the price of any car I’m buying (obvious exceptions apply)

In fact, it’s somewhat annoying if the vehicle has say newish mid range tyres and wheels with just a few blemishes - means it is harder to justify a fresh set and a refurb so easily :D
 
I've had quite a few CLK's. Despite the 320i's having just over 200bhp they'll never be a rocket ship of kind. They are a bit lardy on the off and ok mid range onwards. Lovely smooth engines though.

As for tyres, it wouldn't make sense to some people spending near to £1k on a car not really worth much more than double it and a bit more.
 
I can’t remember running no-name tyres on any of my cars that I’ve kept.

Even my trusty old 300TE S124 (cost back then £320) had a full set of Michelins.

Regardless of the value of said car, if you need to emergency stop in the rain the risk of an accident remains the same.

Plenty of ways to save money on car ownership but running sub-par tyres is usually a good clue as to how it had been maintained.

Would it really cost £1000 for a set of tyres for a CLK? I would be surprised but haven’t had to buy any that size recently!
 

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