Complaints: Mercedes-Benz has more work to do on the CLK's instrument panel. The fuel gauge is counterintuitive. It gives the impression that the tank is full when it's empty and that it's empty when it's full. The climate-control gauges are equally confusing.

Praise: Overall, an excellent rework of the CLK concept. Here's to Mercedes-Benz for increasing the luxury quotient of the new car, especially in the selection of materials. The previous model felt like something less than a Mercedes-Benz, which isn't cool at all.

Head-turning quotient: "I want you to take me to school in that Mercedes." A home run in styling.

Ride, acceleration and handling: Triple aces in all three categories. The new CLK will please almost anyone who doesn't lust for a Porsche -- or AMG version of the CLK 500.

Capacities: Seats four adults. Small cargo volume at 10.4 cubic feet. Fuel tank holds 16.4 gallons; premium unleaded is required.

Engine: The V-6 in the CLK 320 develops 215 horsepower at 5,700 revolutions per minute and 221 pound-feet of torque between 3,400 and 4,600 rpm.

Mileage: Not bad, all things considered. I averaged nearly 27 miles per gallon at some rather serious speeds carrying 200 pounds of cargo.

Price: The new CLK 320 goes on sale in the fall. Pricing is not firm at the moment. But you're looking at something in the neighborhood of $45,000.

Purse-strings note: It's a buy. Compare with Audi TT coupe, BMW 3-Series coupe, BMW M3 and Chevrolet Corvette.