CLK DTM AMG: Showpiece of the Week

It's always fascinating to see how a manufacturer turns a triumphant season in motorsport to its advantage. The old adage of 'win of Sunday, sell on Monday' isn't always an easy to pull off when you've been supplying championship-winning Formula 1 engines, but are best known for hatchbacks and people carriers (see Espace F1 for Renault's enterprising solution). Even when the synergies do suggest themselves, the dots aren't necessarily joined up with much conviction. Citroen and Volkswagen, for example, spent the last ten years politely sharing domination of the WRC with nothing more to show for it in the showroom than a lacklustre Polo GTI and a so-so DS3. 

Of course, when carmakers do get it right, the results tend to be memorable. Typically (though not always) this occurs when they resolve to throw even more money, power and components at a road car already jam-packed with all three. Mercedes-AMG has made this kind of endeavour a speciality, and did not miss the opportunity in 2003 when Bernd Schneider romped to his third DTM championship in a CLK. Another manufacturer might have been content with already building the CLK55 AMG, a 362hp coupe in its own right - but not Affalterbach.

Instead, for 2004, it built a triple-barrelled initialism called the CLK DTM AMG. The direct reference to the Deutsche Tourenwagen Masters series was obviously key, although it was hardly necessary given the drastic steps taken to properly imitate the racing car's silhouette. While admittedly not quite as staggering as the V12-powered CLK GTR launched in 1998 - built to satisfy an FIA GT1 obligation, and famously the most expensive production car in the world at the time - the model nevertheless wore the kind of wild sill and arch extensions that made its homage entirely unambiguous. 

It hardly stopped there either. Inside the rear seats were deleted and the fronts replaced with one-piece carbon-fibre affairs complete with six-point harnesses. Outside those are 20-inch wheels at the back, clad in 285-section tyres and mounted to a rear suspension that had to be made over not just with new springs and dampers, but different linkages, hub carriers, bushes and a reinforced driveshaft, too. There was a mechanical limited-slip differential as well - all rather handy when AMG had opted to force an additional - and characteristically unhinged -  220hp through the axle. To put its 582hp output into its proper context, the contemporaneous 996 version of the 911 GT2 produced only 483hp. 

The immoderate scale of the number turned out to be (almost) the last hurrah of Mercedes' 5.4-litre V8. By 2004, it was well on the downward slope to retirement, destined to be replaced by Affalterbach's own prodigal son a few years later: the gone-but-not-forgotten naturally-aspirated 6.2-litre lump. The DTM didn't get the stock M113 V8 as used by the CLK55, it inherited instead the Kompressor version from the SL55, and even then it was modified in the pistons, crankcase, valve gear, cooling system, exhaust and supercharger. By the end of all the fettling, you had mid-range access to 590lb ft of torque - around 200lb ft more than a Lamborghini Gallardo delivered in the same year. 

Fused to the remarkably robust old 5G-Tronic torque-converter, the DTM would crack 62mph in sub 4 seconds and could be trusted to nudge up to 200mph - which, despite weighing 1742kg, made it technically faster than Ferrari 360 Challenge Stradale. It was considerably less common, too. Only 100 coupes were built, and only 40 of those were made available in right-hand drive. Unsurprisingly, very lightly used examples have been attaining value pretty much ever since, although admittedly not at the near vertical rate of some rivals. This being PH, there is a choice of cars in the classifieds at the moment, but Showpiece of the Week goes to the Obsidian Black car at Romans with just 7,233 mile on the clock. Yours for £275,000. 


Engine: 5,439cc, V8 supercharged
Transmission: 5-speed automatic, rear-wheel drive
Power (hp): 582@6,100rpm
Torque (lb ft): 590@3,500rpm
MPG: 20.6 (combined)
CO2: 328g/km
First registered: 2005
Recorded mileage: 7,233
Price new: c.£180,000
Yours for: £275,000

See the original advert here.






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Comments (44) Join the discussion on the forum

  • sidesauce 16 Apr 2018

    582hp/590 lb ft in 2004?? Utter madness! Even today, those numbers aren't to be sniffed at.

  • Vitorio 16 Apr 2018

    Love it, but then im a sucker for DTM style widebodies

  • Burwood 16 Apr 2018

    Epic car. The sound is stupendous

  • irocfan 16 Apr 2018

    Loved the look of it then - love it now.

  • ghost83 16 Apr 2018

    Loved it! When the first mph show debuted with clarkson there was one of these on display in the main hall and I couldn’t believe how stunning it was!

    Still beaut

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