SLK350 vs. BMW Z4 3.5i - Mercedes Benz SLK Forum
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#1 Old 01-04-2011
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SLK350 vs. BMW Z4 3.5i

I am in the market for a new car lease and trying to decide between the SLK350 and BMW Z4. Both are amazing cars and I know what kind of preference opinions I will get here.

My only reservation about the SLK is the comfort of the seats. I just couldn't seem to lean back at all during my test drive and was constantly upright and not real comfortable. Has anyone else experienced this? Also, I read on-line that it may be possible for dealers to remove the restrictions on seat controls and that the seat actually does recline more. No idea if this is true or not.

Other than that, the car is amazing. I prefer its look to the Z4 and the cockpit is extremely impressive. Also, the car insurance on the SLK is about 40 dollars less expensive than the Z, for some reason. For now, it looks like the dealerships in question are quoting about the same for each car.

I would be wanting the Premium 1 pkg, multimedia pkg and Harmon Kardon LOGIC 7 upgrade. Though, I listened to the basic stereo of the 350 (w/o LOGIC 7) and it was pretty impressive on its own.

Any responses much appreciated....thank you.
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#2 Old 01-04-2011
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Hi. Well, sadly, I must admit this SLK is not the most comfortable seat Mercedes has ever made. They look stunning, in my opinion, so thin. The thinness of the seats also help the cabin feel larger to me. I like this feeling of a larger cabin. I can live with the seats. They lean back enough for me. I simply find my back hurts after some time.

The Z4, nice car. It's a new generation, whereas the SLK new generation will arrive next summer, so the right now the Z4 has some advantages of just coming out recently.

The SLK will have the advantage that you should be able to get CRAZY discounts as in a few months it will be the old model. Keep shopping around.

I think for the long haul, Mercedes are nice to have.

You have to do what's best for you. I think you'd enjoy being in the Mercedes family and here at SLKWORLD.

However, get the car you truly prefer after research.

I'd say wait until the new SLK too, but of course, for a year or so, dealers will want so much for the brand new model, you could really be waiting a while. One nice thing about the 350 right now though is it does have 300HP. THe new model is only going to have a few HP more, although it will get better MPG with direct fuel injection, I don't mind the maturity of the proven engine.
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#3 Old 01-04-2011
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Since 2008, there has been a lot of problems regarding the N54 engine on the Z4, due to the High Pressure Fuel Pump failure (HPFP). You can easily check it out on the web. Its on ABC news last October 2010.

http://www.autoblog.com/2010/10/26/a...ms-lawsuits-w/

This reason alone is enough to keep me FAR away from the BMW Z4.
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#4 Old 01-04-2011
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Thanks mb911 and JonnyBravo for the feedback. Yeah, it's going to be a tough decision for me, no question. I will continue my research and look at the SLK again in more detail. The first time I sat in it, the seats seemed awful. The 2nd time, not nearly as bad. Maybe I'm getting used to it. Keep in mind, I am coming from a BMW 3-series, which is very comfortable and reclining as far as the seating. Perhaps I just have to accept the fact that seating in a 2-seater just isn't going to be as luxurious and comfy.

I also like the fact that the SLK seems excellent for safety, with the high percentage of steel making up the car, etc. It feels a lot heavier than the Z4 and more sturdy. I love the look of the car, particularly the black on black. I'm 42 years old and male, so I want the color that will be least feminine.....
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#5 Old 01-04-2011
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why would anyone consider a car that already has a known serious problem?

Jon
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#6 Old 01-04-2011
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jonnybravo View Post
why would anyone consider a car that already has a known serious problem?

Jon
Jon, I'm going to have to research that issue. I have read a lot online about the Z and heard nothing of that problem. That doesn't mean it's not a concern...just never heard about it until now. I appreciate you bringing it up though. You'd think BMW would have addressed it since 2008, no?
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#7 Old 01-04-2011
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Hello and welcome.

Specifically on the seat issue, I am 6 feet 4 inches tall and though there is enough legroom, there is definitely a lack of lumbar support. My Honda, which costs about half as much, has better seats, and the Lexus is bliss by comparison.

However, in the SLK I find that by setting the seat a little more upright than I might otherwise helps make it more comfortable. That isn't very logical, as I'd normally recline it a bit to get more weight into the seat back. But it works for me. I think I'd get used to it if it were my only car. Most hard seats are good in the long run even though they lack showroom appeal.

Have never been in a Z4 though I agree that the latest ones look very appealing. We owned a Z3 which was quite nice, very reliable, with a traditional seating position for a sports car, but too cramped for me. My wife loved it though (it was hers!).
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#8 Old 01-04-2011
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The BMW engine problem is with the turbo.

The incline of the seat is only a problem with P01 Pkg. If you have manual seats like I do, then you can find a comfortable position plus save $2,500. The problem is finding a car without P01.

I find the seats very comfortable in my new 2010 SLK and the cockpit very spacious. I actually like the layout of the cabin and the control system with all of it options (most I'll never use). I have the HK Logic 7 too. At first, I thought it was a joke, but after listening to it for a while, I really like it.

I must say the layout of the center stack is overly complicated compared to say the Japanese brands, and I consider the radio and ventilation controls kind of goofy. The cupholders are really wierd and still trying to figure out how they work. However, they are just part of the vehicle's idiosyncrasies and charm.

I also have the Sports Pkg. I really like the wheels, but the suspension is kind of hard riding. This is to be expected with a reduced suspension travel with higher rate springs. One problem is the low chin which is easily scratched, so one must be aware of curbs and parking stops.

But to sum it up, the car is very pleasant to drive, and I enjoy it. I consider it a luxury cruiser with some sporty touches. It's also a car that'll I'll keep for many years.

The Z4 is likely be sportier or better handling, but I consider it a rather ugly looking car. It's also plenty expensive. My SLK cost $40K with an MSRP of nearly $57K!
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#9 Old 01-04-2011
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I wouldn't let the seats get you down too much. Like mb911 said, they look great and help add space in the cabin.

There are ways to make them more comfortable. For example, I put a small pillow behind my back to help with the lumbar support on long trips.

I would go with the SLK, but as a disclaimer I own one.
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#10 Old 01-04-2011
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mr Mojo View Post
The BMW engine problem is with the turbo.

The incline of the seat is only a problem with P01 Pkg. If you have manual seats like I do, then you can find a comfortable position plus save $2,500. The problem is finding a car without P01.

I find the seats very comfortable in my new 2010 SLK and the cockpit very spacious. I actually like the layout of the cabin and the control system with all of it options (most I'll never use). I have the HK Logic 7 too. At first, I thought it was a joke, but after listening to it for a while, I really like it.

I must say the layout of the center stack is overly complicated compared to say the Japanese brands, and I consider the radio and ventilation controls kind of goofy. The cupholders are really wierd and still trying to figure out how they work. However, they are just part of the vehicle's idiosyncrasies and charm.

I also have the Sports Pkg. I really like the wheels, but the suspension is kind of hard riding. This is to be expected with a reduced suspension travel with higher rate springs. One problem is the low chin which is easily scratched, so one must be aware of curbs and parking stops.

But to sum it up, the car is very pleasant to drive, and I enjoy it. I consider it a luxury cruiser with some sporty touches. It's also a car that'll I'll keep for many years.

The Z4 is likely be sportier or better handling, but I consider it a rather ugly looking car. It's also plenty expensive. My SLK cost $40K with an MSRP of nearly $57K!
I agree. I love my manual seats and wouldn't upgrade to power if it were free.
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#11 Old 01-04-2011
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jonnybravo View Post
why would anyone consider a car that already has a known serious problem?

Jon
This describes all BMWs all the time.
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#12 Old 01-04-2011
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Originally Posted by lkchris View Post
This describes all BMWs all the time.
All things considered, I think this is a little unfair. I have leased 2 3-series BMW's and they've never had any serious issues. The only times I've had to take the thing in were for electronic malfunctions with the stereo/satellite radio.

Thanks to all for your feedback regarding the comfort of the seats. I would like to test drive the SLK another time, so I can see if maybe I'm getting used to them.
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#13 Old 01-04-2011
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Originally Posted by ponia003 View Post
I wouldn't let the seats get you down too much. Like mb911 said, they look great and help add space in the cabin.

There are ways to make them more comfortable. For example, I put a small pillow behind my back to help with the lumbar support on long trips.

I would go with the SLK, but as a disclaimer I own one.
Thanks for the feedback. I didn't find the lumbar support to be an issue....I just couldn't find that I could recline to the point of being comfortable. The seat kept me straight upright the whole time. The pillow may help, though.
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#14 Old 01-05-2011
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For those who care, I found a review on cars.com that sums up perfectly my issue with the SLK 350's seats:

The SLK350's cabin is definitely cozy if you're around 6 feet tall, and the car's optional power seats don't help matters. If you're tall, you'll find that the seats work against you in your quest to get comfortable in the car. If you move them back to increase legroom, the backrest automatically moves forward incrementally so it doesn't get mashed against the rear wall of the cabin. Now, I can understand Mercedes' concern for its seats, but shouldn't driver comfort come first? Even though I was able to get relatively comfortable, I was never able to put the seat exactly where I wanted.

The link...for those interested:
http://www.cars.com/mercedes-benz/sl...s/?revid=55661
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#15 Old 01-10-2011
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I just wish they would put a DCT equiv in the SLK - the box in the Z4 is amazing; would love it in the SLK; so sad to find out even the R172 isn't going to get a double clutch box
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#16 Old 01-10-2011
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The DCT is very good in the BMW, but after reading a few reviews from the BMW forum, it turns out to be a ho hum feature after time. The 7-G transmission in my SLK does a very good job and my car get decent mileage. Also, I've read praise from many sources for this transmission. BTW, I thought the BMW was a 3 liter engine?
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#17 Old 01-10-2011
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I thought it was a 3 litre as well either naturally aspirated or twin turbo on the 335i

Just wish the SLK auto box was a bit more sporty, putting it in S and driving around at 30-40 MPH it tends to be in 5th and running at under 2k RPM so you are out of the torque band and always tends to have to drop a gear to get a decent boost.

Maybe if no DCT then a S+ button which keeps the revs in the 2-3k mark?
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#18 Old 01-10-2011
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Last Saturday I went with title and checkbook in hand to test drive a 2011 Z4 35i. On paper the car appears to be perfect. After a 20 mile test drive I can say the motor, transmission, and iDrive navi and related electronic bits are far superior to the SLK. However, the Z4 suffers badly from chassis flex, wind noise is like having a window open, road noise from tires is unbelievable, suspension in "normal" (comfort for SLK) is harsh, radio is needed to drown out all the intrusive noises which makes having a conversation with the passenger difficult. At the end of the test drive the salesman smiled and asked if I really liked it. My reply was that I did not like it at all but I would like it's motor and transmission transplanted into my SLK. Driving my SLK back home it reminded me, even with its faults, what a truly exceptional car it is. I may be the one guy here who is waiting for the R173.

The Tracks are calling me
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#19 Old 01-10-2011
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The SLK is sometimes a bit too comfortable and easy to live with. So we end up taking it for granted. It becomes 'ordinary'. Other cars that we don't know as well start to look very attractive, which of course cars like the Z4, Boxster, Cayman, Elise, 370Z etc. are...

But you know what? They ain't an SLK, which is very well sorted car... There's nothing else around at the moment that I'd prefer to have.

As for the seats, I think having the back a little more upright than I might otherwise have set it means I actually have found a very comfortable setting....
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#20 Old 01-10-2011
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Concerning seat adjustment:
I had the anti collision feature for the driver seat disabled.
Now I have to pay attention, during seat adjustment, not to drive the back in to the rear firewall; but my seat is now perfect!


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