Mercedes-Benz SLK Roadster 2004 - 2008

Mercedes-Benz SLK Roadster 2004 - 2008

Review by it
Monday, May 16, 2016

Pros:

  • Beautiful and neat styling
  • Quality interior
  • Excellent folding metal roof

Cons:

  • Not as nimble as some rivals
  • No diesel option

Overview

The new Mercedes Benz SLK convertible comes with glamorous looks and unique styling thanks to the designers taking inspiration from the design of formula-one cars. It is the perfect car for driving around town, cruising down the motorway with the roof down or pushing it through winding country lanes. The interior is comfortable and luxurious and comes with enough space for luggage for a weekend away.

Exterior and Interior

The SLK is an exquisite car with the same folding metal roof being carried through from the older model to this newer one. The lines have been sharpened and the front of the car features a formula-one inspired design. The interior of the SLK presents a clean and user friendly space with all the buttons and switches being well laid out and feel solid. The seats are extremely comfortable and there is plenty of room in the cabin for two people to sit with ease with plenty of places to store small items in. The boot is fairly large for a roadster with there being 300litres of space when the roof is up, however, this does shrink down to 208litres when the roof is lowered, but it still isn't much smaller than a BMW Z4. The metal folding roof is a brilliant piece of engineering. It will keep out all road and wind noise and in the winter it will also keep out the cold weather making you feel as though you're driving a coupe rather than a roadster. The roof itself is very quick to open, or close, taking 22 seconds each way. The Airscarf system that Mercedes introduced blows lovely warm air onto the back of your neck when the roof is down keeping you warm, and with the option of heated seats, you will feel nice and warm even with the roof down. The wind deflectors also work extremely well protecting you from all but the worst wind buffeting when the roof is down. The SLK underwent a slight improvement inside in 2008 and all cars now come with built-in Bluetooth hands-free phone technology as well as an upgraded sat-nav system with complete iPod and MP3 compatibility.

Performance and Economy

If you're new to the sports car experience the smallest 200 Kompressor engine is more than quick enough going from 0-60mph in 7.4 seconds and handles very well too. However, the 280 and 350 are both excellent engines and perform wonderfully with both of them going from 0-60mph in 6 seconds or under. The 350 is probably the better choice to go for as it was upgraded in 2008 making it even quicker managing 0-60 in just 5.2 seconds while manages an impressive 29mpg which is only 1mpg behind the 280. If you're a real hard core speed nut though the 55 AMG will not disappoint propelling you from 0-60mph in just 4.9 seconds thanks to its 355bhp. The exhaust note is mind bogglingly orgasmic and with the stiffened suspension it handles beautifully. The five-speed automatic in the 200 Kompressor is a bit disappointing though, as the automatic gearbox in the larger engines perform superbly with smooth gear changes and acceleration. The manual gearbox is also a disappointment with it feeling clunky and it lacks precision which you really want in a sports car like this. The 55 AMG comes with a seven-speed automatic that comes with three modes. The standard mode is designed for comfort and cruising by optimizing the fuel economy and the smoothness of the drive. The sports mode holds onto gears for longer when you accelerate and is perfect for enthusiastic driving. The manual mode leaves a lot to be desired though feeling dull and if it is revved too high before changing gears you end up bouncing off the rev limiter.

Like to Drive

The SLK is the perfect car for driving around town, cruising down the motorway with the roof down or winding through country lanes. It feels agile and quick with the low slung body helping to prevent any body roll in the corners and supplying plenty of grip. The 'Sport' mode sharpens the throttle making it more enjoyable for the more enthusiastic drivers.

Faults and Repairs

There are few problems with the SLK and provided it has its regular checkups (it will tell you when it needs them) it should never let you down. The roof has been known to seize up after prolonged periods of being left up which usually happens in winter so just make sure that it does work when test driving one as well as all the other switches and electrics.