Mercedes-Benz built just 26 street-legal examples of the CLK GTR, including five roadsters. It makes the Bugatti Chiron look as common as a homely Toyota Corolla, and odds are you’ve never seen one in the metal before. They’re all in the hands of wealthy collectors who keep them safely tucked away in a heated garage where the floor is clean enough to eat off of. There’s an exception to the rule, and a YouTuber caught it all on camera.
The owner of CLK GTR Roadster No. 3 strongly believes cars are meant to be driven — and driven very, very hard. Shot at a car festival in England, the video shows the big Benz power-sliding on the event venue’s lawn before going flat-out, rally stage-style, on a narrow road that winds through a dense forest. It would take serious courage to drive like that in a beater, let alone in a high-end, limited-edition Mercedes worth over $2 million. Just imagine: The slightest loss of control would send the CLK GTR flying into the tree before shattering into 2 million pieces. Trust us, they’d no longer be worth a buck each.
The sound you hear in the video is a mighty 6.9-liter V12 engine that makes 612 horsepower at 6,800 rpm and 568 pound-feet of torque at 5,250 rpm. Those figures are impressive today, and they were simply mind-blowing 20 years ago when the CLK GTR was built. The roadster takes just 3.6 seconds to hit 60 mph from a stop, and with the pedal to the metal it goes on to a top speed of 200 mph. The technology packed into the flagship Benz trickled down from the company’s racing program — literally. The CLK GTR was built solely for homologation purposes.
The Mercedes-Benz CLK GTR is certain to get a lot more valuable in the coming years. Future collectors born today will be spending unfathomable amounts of money on these cars at high-brow auctions in four decades’ time. The temptation to let it sit in a garage and patiently wait for it to appreciate in value is nearly irresistible, so seeing one racing down a back road in the forest is a rare (and totally awesome) sight.