Hello all, a new member here from San Diego who has been enjoying the SLK55 for about a month. I’ve been fortunate enough to own some nice rides (posted-up in the previous cars thread) but I can truthfully say that so far I’ve enjoyed this car more than any that I’ve previously owned. It’s been interesting reading the owner’s report from others so I thought I’d contribute mine.
Let’s get the cons out of the way:
Neptune’s Catamaran! That is some serious-wind buffeting. This is my 7th convertible in a row, so I consider myself somewhat knowledgeable in this area. I even have Air Guide which is flashy but ineffective with the windows down. Windows-up the turbulence is fine (as is the case with most verts) but I wish the rear windows rolled-up when the top is down, like on the SL. Judging from the number of wind-management posts on these forums, I’m not the only person that’s noticed this. I suspect that the jug-eared mirrors are the culprit.
The NAV is just OK –about a generation behind BMW iDrive for its user interface. It seems to have most au courant
functionality like streaming Bluetooth and 3-D mapping but I do wish the screen was a couple pixel-rows larger. Plus I’m thinking of taking out a restraining order on the Sirius sign-up stalkers.
Trunk-space: Given the market-position of the SLK, the inability to fit a golf driver in the trunk was a serious oversight by the design team. Made more painful as it dashes the optimism engendered by the ease with which a carry-bag and the other clubs fit. I remember the trunk of my ex-girlfriend’s R171 SLK350 being bigger.
In some ways the R172 seems like the red-headed step child of AMG. Two examples:
* Where is the beautifully-embossed leather AMG gear-shifter. What’s that Mercedes-AMG? You can put one in the C63 but not on the more expensive (albeit slightly) SLK55?
* Also, every AMG gets a descriptive side plate - except the SLK. Combining a V8 badge from the Chrysler remaindered bin with an e-Bay quality AMG emblem just looks half-assed, in comparison.
Love the looks top-up or top-down. Although not as photogenic as the R230 SL, this car has serious presence in the flesh; a quarter-turn from head-on being my favorite viewing angle. I like the departure from the current R231 SL – a design on which all seem to agree that Mercedes crapped the bed.
Audi is often cited in this area, but in my opinion, Mercedes has the most beautiful exterior lighting packages on their current models – including the SLK. Now I just need to wire-up one of those new MB lighted-star grills and I’m set. I’m kidding…sort of.
That is some sweet-ass carbon fiber trim. Maybe even worth the ridiculous premium. Love the interior layout and the solar-lighting is cooler than in other applications that I’ve seen.
Chicks dig the Magic sky-roof. Nuff said.
Good outward visibility, better than the r171.
Front height clearance is slightly better than other sporty cars I’ve owned. Kerb-stones that would have been taken at ramming-speed by my previous cars are just-cleared by the SLK and I haven’t scraped once coming out of a driveway. I do miss the ability to raise the suspension a couple of inches for clearance – a neat trick on the SL55 – but I don’t miss the air-suspension that facilitated that feature.
Seats and seating position – excellent. Preferred over BMW or Porsche. I’d also say that MB’s seat controls are the most intuitive – unsurprising since they are arranged in the representation of…wait for it…a seat!
I’d place the Harmon Kardon stereo above units from other makes but not of course to the level of an uprated B&O or Burmeester.
At first I thought the squared-off steering wheel was different just for the sake of difference. But it grows on you after awhile.
If we’re honest, with 8.6 lb/hp this is a seriously fast car for a convertible and it feels every bit of it. On paper, it performs at the level of a Ferrari F430 cab, better than the R230 SL63 and accelerates faster than the new Porsche 911S Cab or Audi R8 Spyder V-8. I know these things because a fun way to kill an hour is to look through Car and Drivers performance test library and see all the “fast” cars that are left in the R172 SLK55’s wake.
I don’t even mind the C/Eco mode. Now, when I sit at a light burning gas – it just feels wrong.
Final rating: 9/10 (deducting a point for the golf-driver thing)