Observations of the SLK AMG at 2,000 miles. - Mercedes Benz SLK Forum

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#1 Old 08-09-2013
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Observations of the SLK AMG at 2,000 miles.

My SLK 55 AMG now has 2,000 miles on it, thought I'd give you an update regarding my thoughts on the vehicle;
Things I like most

I really enjoy the looks of the car. It's a beauty, and the elegance and styling of the vehicle is great! I've always loved black cars, and was a bit worried about the Arctic White with black trim.. but it was a good choice, and always looks clean!

I was worried a bit about the AMG sport package. I loved the idea about raising the top speed limiter to 174 mph, but was worried the ride may be too harsh. I've never driven another SLK, but can say the ride is not too harsh at all for me. It's stiff, but not harsh. Love the way the car handles, and the turning radius is remarkable!
The stereo system sounds great, plenty of "thump" and clarity from the Harmon-Kardon system. Navigation system is among the best I've used at giving a verbal heads up on upcoming turns. I also like the lane aid at the bottom of the screen. In difficult places like Houston, knowing which lane to be in really helps!
The car is "peppy", but I wouldn't call it fast. Speed and acceleration is all relative I suppose, and most of my previous sports cars have been Corvette Z-06's. The SLK is more refined, quite, and a nicer ride than the Z-06, but the power of the SLK is not too impressive after the 'vettes.
The AMG package required a differential oil change at 2,000 miles. The Houston dealership had 65 mechanical bays! I was treated very professionally, and in/out in an hour! Very pleasant experience at the MB dealer.
I'm large (6-2/230 lbs) and the SLK is not "claustrophobic" and is relatively easy to enter/exit. The seats are great! Seats are comfortable for long drives, and hold me in place during cornering. My wife is small, and love the seats too. So apparently they are really good for all sized drivers!

Things I'd design differently:
The ECO mode is the default position and activates at every start. I really like the feature of deactivating 4 cylinders at highway speed (the transition is flawless), but I don't care for the engine start/stop at every corner. I've read other's who's engines do not stop as often as mine appears to! I start up my car in the mornings, drive 300 yards to a neighborhood stop sign, and the thing shuts off! It also shuts off at almost every stop made. It would sure be nice to be able to set the default ECO to either on or off depending on driver preference.

When driving in ECO mode (and maybe other modes too, not sure), during sudden and hard (attempts at) acceleration, the transmission seems to be trying to "figure out" which gear to downshift too. This seems to occur most frequently in the 40-50 MPH range. It's definitely a lag that needs attention as I feel myself leaning forward in anticipation of what's not occurring! At low speeds, and highway speeds, the problem seems much less noticeable.


Overall, it's a really nice car! I've had quite a number of "fancy" cars during my years, but the SLK is able to give me that little thrill of anticipation each time I get in it. That's what I expect from a good car, and the SLK delivers!

I plan to vacuum the oil out and change the filter soon. I know you purists don't care for the vacuum method, but my rationale is that I'm going to have the dealer perform the service at recommended intervals, and I'll change oil once in between those performed by the dealer. Using this strategy probably doesn't do the SLK a bit of good, but it satisfies my inability to conform to the new oil change intervals that my subjective reasoning won't adjust to!

Any comments or questions welcome!

Regards.

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#2 Old 08-09-2013
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I am not sure how you can say that a car that does 0-60 in 4.3 is peppy but not fast? Most Ferraris are not this quick, and it is faster than a Aston Martin for 100k or so less.
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#3 Old 08-09-2013
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"Peppy" does seem a poor choice of words, but if you come from a 3.7s car I guess 4.3s might seem "peppy" in comparison. I guess my old Mustang GT, which I though was fast at the time, would seem "peppy" compared to my 32.
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#4 Old 08-09-2013
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For me, fast is a relative term, and my perception of the AMG is based on the cars I've owned previously. For many years the Corvette Z-06's have been my daily driver and the Z-06 is WAY faster than the AMG. I'd become accustomed to the vett's acceleration. So after years of driving the 'vetts, the AMG seemed a bit sluggish. I'm sure someone who had driven a slower vehicle would think my AMG was very fast! I was attempting to give perspective between the two cars.

No intent to belittle the AMG (after all, I sold the Z-06 to get the new AMG)! Just stating my perception of its acceleration.

Regards
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#5 Old 08-09-2013
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I know this is difficult to adjust to, but changing the oil more frequently than recommended may actually do your engine harm. I have had oil tested several times in two similarly driven; same mileage Accords and found that with doubling the oil changes in one, the engine wear based on oil analysis was higher per mileage than the engine where the oil was changed based on factory spec. I did the same to 2 Honda motorcycles and found the same: increasing frequency of oil changes increased engine wear per mileage.

G.

Plus you get to save some money for premium waxes etc.
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#6 Old 08-09-2013
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That's really interesting GDB069!

Any theories on why that happens? I'll hold off on the oil change for a while, and do a bit more investigation.
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#7 Old 08-10-2013
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Quote:
Originally Posted by thompstl1 View Post
For me, fast is a relative term, and my perception of the AMG is based on the cars I've owned previously. For many years the Corvette Z-06's have been my daily driver and the Z-06 is WAY faster than the AMG. I'd become accustomed to the vett's acceleration. So after years of driving the 'vetts, the AMG seemed a bit sluggish. I'm sure someone who had driven a slower vehicle would think my AMG was very fast! I was attempting to give perspective between the two cars.

No intent to belittle the AMG (after all, I sold the Z-06 to get the new AMG)! Just stating my perception of its acceleration.

Regards
LOL, no offense here. I know exactly what you're trying to say. 4.3 seconds 0-60 is indeed a fast car relative to everything else on the roads these days. But if you're coming from a bunch of other fast cars or an even faster car, then there's no OHMYGOSH rush. The SLK55 just feels "normal".

I've had a chuckle at some of the comments from other SLK55 owners on this board who've written reverent praise for the "awesome" power of the SLK55 and expressed concern for their safety with so much power on tap. And I'm not belittling their experience either. It's a totally subjective reaction based on one's perspective. I'm sure that someone coming from an Accord or C300 sedan into their first 400 hp roadster would feel exactly that emotion the first time they mash the gas pedal to the firewall with the top down. I envy them.

Whatever the subjective feeling one has with this car, objectively it has all the power anyone needs to make the car really enjoyable in real world driving on public roads. I certainly don't feel the car is starved for power or torque. Mercedes did a fine job with this little roadster! No complaints here.
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#8 Old 08-10-2013
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Thanks so much CT SLK! You captured my point perfectly!
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#9 Old 08-11-2013
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Originally Posted by thompstl1 View Post
Thanks so much CT SLK! You captured my point perfectly!
No sweat, I know a guy whose "hobby" is chasing land speed records for piston driven cars. He holds or at least has held records a couple of times. I have no doubt he would be bored with anything doing under 300 mph. I think his last land speed record was just over 400 mph (for the class he was pursuing).

It all comes down to perspective. My perspective is that this 60+ guy is nuts. But he ain't dead yet. No doubt his perspective is that I am not living life fully.
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#10 Old 08-12-2013
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Originally Posted by CT_SLK View Post
4.3 seconds 0-60 is indeed a fast car relative to everything else on the roads these days. But if you're coming from a bunch of other fast cars or an even faster car, then there's no OHMYGOSH rush. The SLK55 just feels "normal".
I really have to say, 0-60 in 4.3 really isn't that fast anymore. When an S class can get to 60 in under 4 seconds, a car this small just seems slow. What's even more incredible is when you are dusted by an E63 wagon, then the car REALLY REALLY feels slow. Even a C63 wagon can do 0-60 in 3.6 seconds.

Look at the stock BMW 550i, it does the 0-60 around 4.7 seconds, and it's not even an M car. Even worse, at freeway speeds you'd have trouble keeping up to a stock 550i, forget about trying to pass one.

It used to be the relatively low weight meant the SLK 55 could keep up, but the recent AMGs and Ms have so much more power that it has negated any benefits of the lighter weight. Among light weight cars, you have things like the 135is and Cayman S that demolish the SLK when it comes to handling. The SLK needs some serious kick in the pants if it wants to stay relevant as a sports car.
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#11 Old 08-12-2013
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Originally Posted by thompstl1 View Post
That's really interesting GDB069!

Any theories on why that happens? I'll hold off on the oil change for a while, and do a bit more investigation.
Some cars have different oils loaded into the engine from the factory that takes advantage of the microparticles during break-in to better 'break-in' the engine. There's a lot of research going either way on this, and a lot of different ideas on it. Also, the factories must have accommodated for typical wear when planning the duration during the first couple oil changes.
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#12 Old 08-12-2013
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135i and Cayman S are both hardtop cars, so pretty much by definition will have a stiffer chassis than the SLK. That helps a lot with handling.

0-60 doesn't define the SLK IMHO, it never has and never will be a hard core sports car.

On the oil front, the formulation is designed to protect the engine over the intended oil drain interval. Changing it out every couple of thousand miles is simply unnecessary and offers no advantage. The other thing to consider is that in choosing the factory fill, Mercedes know what they're doing.
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#13 Old 08-12-2013
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Originally Posted by cyberdrakon View Post
I really have to say, 0-60 in 4.3 really isn't that fast anymore. When an S class can get to 60 in under 4 seconds, a car this small just seems slow. What's even more incredible is when you are dusted by an E63 wagon, then the car REALLY REALLY feels slow. Even a C63 wagon can do 0-60 in 3.6 seconds.

Look at the stock BMW 550i, it does the 0-60 around 4.7 seconds, and it's not even an M car. Even worse, at freeway speeds you'd have trouble keeping up to a stock 550i, forget about trying to pass one.

It used to be the relatively low weight meant the SLK 55 could keep up, but the recent AMGs and Ms have so much more power that it has negated any benefits of the lighter weight. Among light weight cars, you have things like the 135is and Cayman S that demolish the SLK when it comes to handling. The SLK needs some serious kick in the pants if it wants to stay relevant as a sports car.
Oh sure, there are faster cars than an SLK55 out there. But all of the cars you mentioned taken together and lumped in with the sum of all Ferraris, Jaguars, Lamborghinis, Maseratis, and Aston Martins on U.S. roads will still equate to less than 1% of the cars you will encounter every day. By definition all of those cars are extremely low production models with very limited appeal relative to the total 15,000,000 unit annual U.S. new light vehicle market. You can lump the SLK55 AMG in that group as well. Not a lot of people are willing to pay $70K+ for a small 2 seat roadster even if it does have a nifty folding hardtop.

Compared to the tens of millions of Accord's, Camry's, endless SUV's, Minivans, Pickup Trucks, Malibu's, Commercial Vans, Corolla's, Civic's, Fusion's, C300's, 328i's, A4's, etc. the SLK55 AMG remains a near supercar.

The SLK55 AMG is neck and neck with a C6 Vette coupe. It's also a match for an Audi RS4. And a Mustang GT isn't going to run away from it. Ditto for the obese Camaro. The SLK55 remains a fast car by any reasonable standard. And I'll still maintain that anything with enough torque to rip off a 4.3 second run to 60 mph has plenty of power for the real world of public roads.
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#14 Old 08-12-2013
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Originally Posted by CT_SLK View Post
..will still equate to less than 1% of the cars you will encounter every day. By definition all of those cars are extremely low production models with very limited appeal relative to the total 15,000,000 unit annual U.S. new light vehicle market. You can lump the SLK55 AMG in that group as well. Not a lot of people are willing to pay $70K+ for a small 2 seat roadster even if it does have a nifty folding hardtop.
Depends on where you live obviously. In the area of California where I live (Arcadia), I see more AMGs than I see Hondas, and more BMW Ms than Fords.

Where I live in Asia (Da-an district of Taipei) I will see at LEAST 1 Ferrari/ day (not the same one) sometimes several, 1 Lambo/week, and countless AMGs (real ones, not just 'badge engineered') among many other luxury cars. There is probably 1 mercedes/BMW to every other car on the road around here (not including taxis).

So with that perspective, the SLK 55 is very slow.

Funny enough, in both of these places Toyotas are still the most frequent car I see.

With the R170, a folding hardtop was a novelty, but now BMW Zs and 3s have folding hardtops, as do VWs, Mazdas, and Peugeots.


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Originally Posted by cyberdrakon View Post
It used to be the relatively low weight meant the SLK 55 could keep up, but the recent AMGs and Ms have so much more power that it has negated any benefits of the lighter weight. Among light weight cars, you have things like the 135is and Cayman S that demolish the SLK when it comes to handling. The SLK needs some serious kick in the pants if it wants to stay relevant as a sports car.
Unless you are on the track, it's much faster, braking a lighter car. I agree that the SLK needs to be more focus on handling. It is sad when you read car journalist say, the SLK can't hold a candle to the new Boxster. And it's not just one article, it is every article currently out comparing the two. I had the new Boxster for 48 hours and it really is world's apart from my SLK350, yes it is newer but the newer SLK isn't as great.
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Originally Posted by GeeJay View Post
135i and Cayman S are both hardtop cars, so pretty much by definition will have a stiffer chassis than the SLK. That helps a lot with handling.

0-60 doesn't define the SLK IMHO, it never has and never will be a hard core sports car.
I actually drive my SLK as a hardtop most of the time and if the roof mechanics ever give me a single complaint, they are ALL going out of my car. I pointed out these cars because they are in the same price/weight segment and might be cross-shopped. Boxster S would outhandle and out-accelerate an SLK 55, and a chip-tuned Z4 sdrive35 would do the same.

My point is that the SLK 55, while still a great car, doesn't have any real performance advantages anymore, and if MB doesn't let it have more power or better handling, it'll drive the SLK farther and farther into the 'economical' luxury convertible category. Basically it will be for people that can't afford SLs but want one. While most of the other AMG models got 75+ hp boosts when they were revised and/or improvements to handling, the SLK 55 got heavier and only a 50 hp boost. There's still no limited slip option for the SLK 55, while all the other AMGs have that option.
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I actually drive my SLK as a hardtop most of the time and if the roof mechanics ever give me a single complaint, they are ALL going out of my car. I pointed out these cars because they are in the same price/weight segment and might be cross-shopped. Boxster S would outhandle and out-accelerate an SLK 55, and a chip-tuned Z4 sdrive35 would do the same.

My point is that the SLK 55, while still a great car, doesn't have any real performance advantages anymore, and if MB doesn't let it have more power or better handling, it'll drive the SLK farther and farther into the 'economical' luxury convertible category. Basically it will be for people that can't afford SLs but want one. While most of the other AMG models got 75+ hp boosts when they were revised and/or improvements to handling, the SLK 55 got heavier and only a 50 hp boost. There's still no limited slip option for the SLK 55, while all the other AMGs have that option.
IIRC, the limited slip rear differential is available on the SLK55 R172 with the performance package.
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I suppose I started the fuss by saying I thought my new AMG was "peppy" rather than fast. We all could compare the AMG to other vehicles to validate our perspective. In my case, I drove a Z-06, and a 5,150 pound Jeep SRT-8. The heavy Jeep turn in a very consistent 4.5 second 0-60 in this blistering Texas heat.

So, I wasn't really "blown away" by the AMG's acceleration first time I put it through it's paces. Again, there is no God ordained 0-60 time that designates fast from quick or slow. I recorded my reflections on the vehicle at 2,000 miles. Wasn't meaning to demean the 55, just giving my observation.

On the J.D. Powers assessment I filled out for the new car this week, I added that for a price of $83,565 (plus TTL), The SLK should have 30-50 more horsepower (again in my opinion) to set it apart from the crowd and make it more competitive with other vehicles in that price range.

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#19 Old 08-12-2013
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Originally Posted by cyberdrakon View Post
I actually drive my SLK as a hardtop most of the time and if the roof mechanics ever give me a single complaint, they are ALL going out of my car. I pointed out these cars because they are in the same price/weight segment and might be cross-shopped. Boxster S would outhandle and out-accelerate an SLK 55, and a chip-tuned Z4 sdrive35 would do the same.

My point is that the SLK 55, while still a great car, doesn't have any real performance advantages anymore, and if MB doesn't let it have more power or better handling, it'll drive the SLK farther and farther into the 'economical' luxury convertible category. Basically it will be for people that can't afford SLs but want one. While most of the other AMG models got 75+ hp boosts when they were revised and/or improvements to handling, the SLK 55 got heavier and only a 50 hp boost. There's still no limited slip option for the SLK 55, while all the other AMGs have that option.
I did get your point. I guess everyone would like more power, including me sometimes.

My point was that a folding roof even when raised doesn't make as much a contribution to chassis stiffness as a proper tin-top. And there is more weight to carry around in the form of pumps, levers and thicker doors etc.. An open top car is inevitably compromised for stiffness versus weight compared to properly designed tin-top. The big V8 over the nose in the SLK must also compromise turn in, again favouring the mid engined Cayman and Boxster.

I'm sure MB would be much happier for folks to buy an SLS if they want the grunty top banana..

Anyway not trying to argue here, the SLK 55 AMG is still an aspirational car for many and is still a lot quicker than probably 99% of cars on the road..
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#20 Old 08-12-2013
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Originally Posted by GeeJay View Post
I did get your point. I guess everyone would like more power, including me sometimes.

My point was that a folding roof even when raised doesn't make as much a contribution to chassis stiffness as a proper tin-top. And there is more weight to carry around in the form of pumps, levers and thicker doors etc.. An open top car is inevitably compromised for stiffness versus weight compared to properly designed tin-top. The big V8 over the nose in the SLK must also compromise turn in, again favouring the mid engined Cayman and Boxster.

I'm sure MB would be much happier for folks to buy an SLS if they want the grunty top banana..

Anyway not trying to argue here, the SLK 55 AMG is still an aspirational car for many and is still a lot quicker than probably 99% of cars on the road..
Yes, but not if you live next door to Jay Leno and only hang out at 911 Turbo S club rallies.
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