This post may be a bit longer than some others around these parts, so please bear with me. I appreciate anyone's time that is taken to respond or even read it.
So, i've been reading these forums for many, many months and researching my next car purchase for well over a year now and it's finally time to start a thread and hopefully receive some fair and reasonably unbiased input about purchasing one of these fine vehicles from you fine folks. I should probably detail at least a little bit about myself which might help you gauge whether or not this is the right decision for me, though I know that in the end that i'm the one who has to make it. I have questions which probably only owners and people not selling these things can answer.
For starters, I like long walks on the beach, sunsets, holding hands, and...
I want a roadster. I start there and am working backwards from that, which eliminates a bunch of cars on the road. I adore convertibles; while other cars might catch my eye, the ones that I want inevitably are droptops. My budget is not to spend more than 75k or so when it's all said and done, so the only real contenders that I know of are the SLK, Vette, Z4, and Boxter. I don't like the new TT enough to buy it, and don't want something overly plastic and value build quality which knocks a lot of other possible convertibles out. I do want to buy new, and am not interested in used unless it were like a super gently used 2014 or maybe 2013 and those are few and far between.
The reasons that I would buy an SLK are numerous: the styling is very well done, first and foremost. It drives very well (at <100 miles at least), and the interior is ridiculous. The fit and finishes seem very well done, which is to be expected in a Mercedes. I like the idea of a hardtop convertible a lot, as I live in the midwest US and it does get cold for a few months and cool for a few months and we get all 4 seasons evenly here. The magic sky feature is awesome, too. My current car is a soft top convertible and i've never had an issue with that really, but I would imagine that a hard top is even better. The SLK 55 AMG is the only one in the SLK line that I think that i'd get. 5.5L V8 with 400+ horses? Yeah. I'm not a track guy or even a fast driver really, but would love to have a car with the sound and fury and experience that this would give. It'd be a lot of fun on the back roads, for sure.
The concerns that I have are just a few really. I am a worrier by nature, try as I might not to be. I'm a planner and a thinker and like to try to come to the best decision that I possibly can given the information that I have and check emotion at the door when making purchases. That's a little tougher, as the best overall value might be a Kia in reality. I am not buying a Kia.
I'll try to break this up into sections to make it more digestible. Thanks again for still being here if you haven't given up on this thread yet. These are the things that i've thought about, but i'd like to hear some feedback about any or even all of the items here if anyone is kind enough to take the time to do so, and also, maybe even more importantly, give me some things to think about that I might not have even considered yet before pulling the trigger.
First up, of course, is money. ~75k is a lot of money to a fella like me and is going to blow a big hole into the ole savings account. I am single, though, and with a face like this probably will be for the long haul so at least there's not much of a chance that i'll have to sell the car to recoup the cost anytime soon due to a wife or kids. I know that these are better than most cars, but it's still a good chunk of money and it's hard to find data on what the ownership cost of these things is really like, which is where all of you wonderful people hopefully come in. I have searched and read pretty much every thread on here about problems and maintenance stuff and it hasn't scared me off yet, but it's still that big nagging question. I've had 2 cars in about 18 years and no major issues with either, so it's always a risk to switch to a different one when I know what i've got and that it works and wasn't a lemon. I've never owned a Mercedes. Parts and labor for this car will be significantly more than the car I have now, so it's even higher stakes. If I budget $500 a year for things not related to gas and tires, is that sufficient? The oil change every year will be more than I pay now but I can't even imagine how much along with the rest of the recommended maintenance. How much should I expect for the major, minor, and anything else (60l, 75k, 100k major stuff). I am the kind of person who does do it though and tries to make things last. How much will this car be in the shop? An almost impossible question to answer, I know, as the phrase "your mileage may vary" can be taken literally in this case, but do people who do the maintenance have a lot of little nagging things? How much does the dealership want to help take care of things? Do a lot of them just bleed you dry, even in the first however many years or do they want to keep you happy and buying their brand from them for life? And no, I really can't do much myself except wash and vaccuum it, and change the air filter. I live in the 'burbs, have no lift, and am not mechanically inclined, so I leave it to the people who know what they're doing. I probably won't have the budget to pre-pay maintenance or additional warranty. Is it a bad choice not buying that?
Other cost things that i've considered but would love additions to if I haven't thought about them: I already use premium gas, so that's no change and the mileage will actually be a little better in this car, so that's good. Insurance will go up, as will property tax (signficantly), which sucks, but part of being in the nice car club. I know that i'll need a set of rears probably once a year and a set of fronts once every two years (i'm a 6-8k miles a year guy). I have come to accept that, too. What else changes that might be a negative/more costly part of my life due to this?
Second-to-lastly, I have no idea how this car really handles in the snow. Not like Minnesota kind of snow where it's measured in feet, but the 1-3 and 4-6 inch kind of storms we get here on occasion. I don't usually go out in it, but might have to at some point. What about ice and just generally slickness and sleet? I have never owned a rear wheel drive, nor one with this much power, so it'll be an adjustment to be certain. I do not think that a convertible in a climate like this is a bad idea as some people might. A sports car might be, though, unless I keep a "beater" to get through the 3 winter months. How needed is that? Do I really _NEED_ a set of snow tires? Can I get by without since I don't live in a place that gets a ton of snow, and when we do get snow it's usually a few inches a few times a year?
And finally lastly, I also worry about any damage to the exterior, but have even in my car now which isn't even expensive but has been a great car for a long time. Do people act more aggressively toward you because you _DO_ have a nice, shiny car? Hopefully I won't ever come back to someone vandalizing it like the one person on here who had their roof and possibly other parts seriously damaged and felt terribly for them. I have kept my cars almost entirely ding free and try to always park a little away from people, in end spaces, whatever I can not to have other people who are careless damage it. That certainly won't change and may get ramped up even more (if that's even possible) with this one. Would you leave it parked on the street in a not super major kind of town, but reasonably big (Louisville, Cincinnati, Indianapolis, St. Louis, Columbus), if, say, you were going to a baseball game for 3 hours, or dinner for an hour or two? Or never, ever, that's a terrible idea? I do park on the street now and never had a problem, but with the three pointed star I didn't know if I needed to change that, too. It could just be a gigantic bullseye to have a bright red SLK AMG.
I know that everyone's experiences will vary but i'd love to hear the good, the bad, and the ugly. And yes, I realize that this is the "enthusiast's" forum for this car so most people are going to give the positive, but hopefully I can solocit some honest feedback about the not-so-good things, too as well as things that I might not have considered or thought about (possibly lots of things that I haven't thought about, as i'm really not that bright).
I love you guys for taking the time to read and respond to my ramblings. It really is appreciated. Most of the people on here really do seem pretty awesome.
And for no good reason, here are some dancing bananas.