The DTM Road Racer

A ti­tle cel­e­bra­tion be­comes a play­thing for the rich and fa­mous

Motor (Australia) - - THE HEROES -

THE MEAN­ING OF ‘CLK’ gives a clue to why Mercedes’ ul­ti­mate AMG fet­tled ver­sion made a stand­out driver’s ma­chine in the mid noughties. The Ger­man Coupé Le­icht Kom­pakt trans­lates to coupe, light­weight short – as in wheel­base. With a blown 428kW, you needed to be sharp to han­dle the CLK DTM AMG, which made it the run­about of choice for many F1 stars of the era. How­ever, there is more to the CLK DTM AMG’s would-be leg­end sta­tus. With just 100 built in coupe form and only 40 of these in right hook – all for Europe and with pur­chase by in­vi­ta­tion – it’s a rare and de­sir­able beast. The hottest of the CLKs, perched above the Black Series, was con­ceived to cel­e­brate the brand’s third vic­tory in the Deutsche Touren­wa­gen Masters and AMG didn’t hold back in giv­ing the CLK DTM an at­ti­tude that re­flected its name­sake. This was ev­i­dent even stand­ing still, the CLK form be­ing treated to flared arches, a large sin­gle-plane rear wing, dif­fuser and larger front in­takes. The track fo­cus spilled into the cabin with a suede wheel, shift pad­dles for the Speed­shift 5G-tronic au­to­matic, car­bon-fi­bre fixed back front seats. The 322km/h top speed sign­posts the re­lent­less per­for­mance. This was where the bent eight banged the speed lim­iter, rather than the point it ran out of steam. Plucked from a glo­ri­ous AMG era in which the blower was the forced in­duc­tion means of choice, the DTM’s 428kW and 800Nm 5.4-litre V8 is big­ger and torquier than a cur­rent AMG GT R’s, and only 2kW shy. Only two tenths slower than a 2018 GT R too, at 3.8sec from 0-100km/h, which says more about the en­ter­tain­ment value in­her­ent in de­ploy­ing the grunt in this crazy, po­tent, me­chan­i­cal LSD-equipped SWB rear-drive coupe than it does any short­age of ur­gency. Age has not wea­ried this motorsport-in­spired Merc icon, it’s only made it lesser known and all the more de­sir­able.

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