C209, CLK 500 convertible, avantgarde or elegance

Elanman1

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Hi,
I'm looking for a CLK 500 convertible and new to the mercedes brand, I understand the main difference between the two is the ride, stiffer on the avantgarde. WIKI tells me there is a difference in colour tint to the windows and the colour of the grill but that's about it. I think there is more wood trim in the elegance and perhaps standard 17 inch wheels.
Is the ride on the elegance too soft, making the car more vague in the corners?
I'm thinking that cars of this age is more on general condition and replacement shocks are probably on the cards anyway. I assume when replacing the socks (perhaps springs) you can choose either avantgarde or elegance replacements.
 

mbzclk

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CLK
Hi,
I'm looking for a CLK 500 convertible and new to the mercedes brand, I understand the main difference between the two is the ride, stiffer on the avantgarde. WIKI tells me there is a difference in colour tint to the windows and the colour of the grill but that's about it. I think there is more wood trim in the elegance and perhaps standard 17 inch wheels.
Is the ride on the elegance too soft, making the car more vague in the corners?
I'm thinking that cars of this age is more on general condition and replacement shocks are probably on the cards anyway. I assume when replacing the socks (perhaps springs) you can choose either avantgarde or elegance replacements.
Go for avant or sport if offered facelift and onwards.
 

IanW

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Reading
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W209 CLK 500
I converted my CLK500 Elegance coupe to Avantgarde suspension. I needed new springs, new shocks, new ARB & drop links, new spring spacer pads.
The ride height dropped slightly - an amount that was measurable but not noticeable visually, at least not to me in 'before' & 'after' photos.
It's difficult to quantify the change in handling - previously the shocks were old (around 100K miles), so the ride tended toward 'soggy' at the best of times. Certainly, potholes & traffic calming measures have been a lot more noticeable since.
Given that any CLK you buy is going to be over 10 years old, I would suggest you are correct - buy on condition and budget for a suspension overhaul, unless the seller can demonstrate that it's been done recently. Any difference in handling between Elegance and Avantgarde suspensions will be swamped by the difference between a well and badly maintained vehicle.

Ian.
 

MikeInWimbledon

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The only way of telling if the ride suits you is to try it for yourself. Blokes on the internet have different views.

"That said...." If you're coming out of the run-flat go karts called "MINI," you'll find the all CLK's "softer" than what you're used to.

.And, again, any vehicle that's done more than 60k miles is likely to have suspension wear of some sort. Most don't worry about it, some do.

TBH, most Brits prefer Avantgarde, not for the stiffer ride, but for the look. In the same way that BMW drivers go for M Sport for the look.
 
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Elanman1

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The only way of telling if the ride suits you is to try it for yourself. Blokes on the internet have different views.

"That said...." If you're coming out of the run-flat go karts called "MINI," you'll find the all CLK's "softer" than what you're used to.

.And, again, any vehicle that's done more than 60k miles is likely to have suspension wear of some sort. Most don't worry about it, some do.

TBH, most Brits prefer Avantgarde, not for the stiffer ride, but for the look. In the same way that BMW drivers go for M Sport for the look.
As the previous poster says, I'm unlikely to be able to tell the difference by driving as most will have tired suspension, I had hoped that one of the blokes on here might be knowledgeable. Run-flats are too harsh!
 
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Elanman1

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I converted my CLK500 Elegance coupe to Avantgarde suspension. I needed new springs, new shocks, new ARB & drop links, new spring spacer pads.
The ride height dropped slightly - an amount that was measurable but not noticeable visually, at least not to me in 'before' & 'after' photos.
It's difficult to quantify the change in handling - previously the shocks were old (around 100K miles), so the ride tended toward 'soggy' at the best of times. Certainly, potholes & traffic calming measures have been a lot more noticeable since.
Given that any CLK you buy is going to be over 10 years old, I would suggest you are correct - buy on condition and budget for a suspension overhaul, unless the seller can demonstrate that it's been done recently. Any difference in handling between Elegance and Avantgarde suspensions will be swamped by the difference between a well and badly maintained vehicle.

Ian.
Thanks, it's good to know that it's not as simple as just springs and shocks.
 

MikeInWimbledon

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As the previous poster says, I'm unlikely to be able to tell the difference by driving as most will have tired suspension, I had hoped that one of the blokes on here might be knowledgeable. Run-flats are too harsh!
My point wasn’t that you’d be “able to tell the difference,” but that only you will be able to tell if any spec suits your taste.

An avantgard will be softer than go-kart MINIs on run flats, and an Elegance will be softer still. No bloke on the internet can tell you which one you’d prefer.

Add to all that, cars running 17’s will run softer than 18’s.

On top of all that, cars will be in different states of maintenance, but that’s not the prime issue here. Most cars with less than 100k won’t have needed fresh suspension on such a “cruiser” car. These aren’t cars that will have been ragged like MINIs or BMW’s
 

Chrishazle

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When I was looking for my S203, my decision on Elegance or Avantgard (I test drove both) was about the differing amount of electrical toys - and thus the potential expensive repairs when something went wrong! I decided Elegance had enough toys for me. However, on 16's it wallowed in corners, so after changing to the S204 (also Elegance!) I invested in a set of 17's which improved the handling without sacrificing ride quality.
 

MikeInWimbledon

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My memory was that Elegance and Avantgarde were pretty similar on the CLK500, Avantgarde having only slightly shorter suspension, 1" larger wheels, aluminium rather than wood trim, blue rather than green (very lightly) tinted windows, body colour door handles rather than chrome, and black behind the grill rather than silver.

And then you're into extras which the buyer specified for his particular car: Comand Satnav, multi-CD etc.

Wheels and tyres are easy to change, up or down, although most change to bigger for cosmetic reasons, just like any other car. Obviously bigger wheels are more likely to get trashed by kerbs. Ebay is full of complete sets of wheels or wheels and tyres.

Another point that hasn't been mentioned: the CLK500 weighs a good 50% more than your MINI, so handling is different across the board.

It's a Labrador, not a Jack Russell.

Screenshot 2022-01-30 at 08.41.56.png
 
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Elanman1

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My memory was that Elegance and Avantgarde were pretty similar on the CLK500, Avantgarde having only slightly shorter suspension, 1" larger wheels, aluminium rather than wood trim, blue rather than green (very lightly) tinted windows, body colour door handles rather than chrome, and black behind the grill rather than silver.

And then you're into extras which the buyer specified for his particular car: Comand Satnav, multi-CD etc.

Wheels and tyres are easy to change, up or down, although most change to bigger for cosmetic reasons, just like any other car. Obviously bigger wheels are more likely to get trashed by kerbs. Ebay is full of complete sets of wheels or wheels and tyres.

Another point that hasn't been mentioned: the CLK500 weighs a good 50% more than your MINI, so handling is different across the board.

It's a Labrador, not a Jack Russell.

View attachment 123243
Thanks for the all of the feedback, I was just looking to see if there was a little gem regarding the suspension set-up. For example, I was told that the adaptive suspension made a huge difference on the BMW X3 and it does (2014 version,anyway). Stops it being skittish when turning under hard acceleration, which is often the case when pulling out of a side road onto a busy A road.
 
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Elanman1

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When I was looking for my S203, my decision on Elegance or Avantgard (I test drove both) was about the differing amount of electrical toys - and thus the potential expensive repairs when something went wrong! I decided Elegance had enough toys for me. However, on 16's it wallowed in corners, so after changing to the S204 (also Elegance!) I invested in a set of 17's which improved the handling without sacrificing ride quality.
Thanks for the input, the amount of side wall rubber can have a huge impact. Something for me to look for when buying/trying. Most cars look a little better with more alloy filling the wheel arch but so easy to go to far.
 

MikeInWimbledon

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Thanks for the all of the feedback, I was just looking to see if there was a little gem regarding the suspension set-up. For example, I was told that the adaptive suspension made a huge difference on the BMW X3 and it does (2014 version,anyway). Stops it being skittish when turning under hard acceleration, which is often the case when pulling out of a side road onto a busy A road.
Yes, adaptive suspension is a rare (one in twenty?) major benefit on BMWs such as the X3, 3,4,and 5 series. Only costs £700 ish but that flexibility makes a big difference to comfort. It's not a LSD like a Quaiffe, which is what people normally add to reduce "skittishness" on acceleration, but it manages varying surfaces well.

I don't think MB does an equivalent to adaptive suspension on the CLK500 but you can find something similar on the E500 and S500.
 

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