Mercedes-Benz built just 100 units of the CLK DTM, and none of them ever officially came into the United States. Now, Doug DeMuro has had the rare opportunity to drive one that came into the country under the show and display rule. The regulations only allow it to cover 2,500 miles per year.

Mercedes built the CLK DTM as a celebration of the company’s dominant performance in the 2003 DTM championship. It was the ultimate version of the vast CLK-Class range, including big flared fenders, a fixed rear wing, and plenty of carbon fiber components. 

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Mercedes reduced weight wherever possible, including some bizarre choices in the cabin. As DeMuro shows, the company simplified the steering down to four buttons, but none of them were for the cruise control. Instead, Mercedes put that equipment in the center console in a spot nearly behind the driver. The firm also installed carbon fiber door panels but left off a way to control the power locks.

The CLK DTM features a version of AMG’s supercharged 5.5-liter V8 that makes 574 horsepower (428 kilowatts) and 590 pound-feet of torque (800 Newton-meters) in this application. To push the output so high, the performance division does modifications to the pistons, valve train, intake, cooling system, and exhaust. The company estimated the model could reach 62 miles per hour (100 kilometers per hour) in 3.9 seconds.

The potent engine hooks up to a five-speed gearbox with paddle shifters, and DeMuro points out that it’s the worst part of the vehicle by modern standards. The transmission is slow to shift and lets down the impressive powerplant.

Unfortunately, owning a CLK DTM in the United States is still difficult, and they rarely come up for sale. When the vehicles are available, the prices are high. For example, Gooding and Company auctioned one at Pebble Beach in 2016 for $407,000 and another there in 2015 for $451,000.

Source: Doug DeMuro via YouTube

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