Strange "for sale" ad. - Mercedes Benz SLK Forum

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#1 Old 01-04-2009
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Strange "for sale" ad.

In our local newspaper's classified ads, there is one for an '07 SLK 350 with the "rare 6 speed manual transmission". To my information this is VERY rare, as none were made. Am I wrong?
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#2 Old 01-04-2009
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I believe that the 6-speed was still available in 2007 on the 350. IIRC
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#3 Old 01-04-2009
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I think the manual was standard up until the '08 model year. I vaguely remember browsing the MBUSA.com website in the past couple of years and seeing the 7-speed automatic as an option, except for the AMG where the automatic was all one could get.

Anyway, here's what I found on AOL autos:


"2007 Mercedes-Benz SLK-Class Overview

Introduction

The Mercedes-Benz SLK-Class is good-looking little roadster that's easy to live with, with Mercedes cachet and a stowaway hard top that turns the car into a closed coupe with the touch of a button.
The SLK350 comes with a 3.5 liter V6 rated at 268 horsepower. A six-speed manual transmission comes standard, while a seven-speed automatic is optional."
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#4 Old 01-05-2009
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but in fact, all the dealers spec-ed them with autos, so it IS in fact a rare option.

I think it was midway through 07 that the manual was officially discontinued, but a late 06 order could have still taken long enough in the pipeline to be made as an 07.


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#5 Old 01-05-2009
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Yes, our local dealer does everything to discourage the ordering of 6 speed SLK 300s where the manual is still available. The dealer requires a $5000 NON- REFUNDABLE deposit upon order. And the dealer does everything else he can do to discourage customers from going with the 6 speed. He tells customers that they are almost impossible to re-sell. If that's true, I certainly don't know why.
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#6 Old 01-05-2009
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Dolebludger View Post
He tells customers that they are almost impossible to re-sell. If that's true, I certainly don't know why.

I find that hard to believe, we had to search high and low to find a 6-speed, my wife had no interest in an auto. (I tried to talk her into a 55, she almost went for it, until she found out auto-only)
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#7 Old 01-05-2009
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Amen to that.

The only reason I didn't buy the SLK55 was because it was automatic only. It was a major pain to find a black SLK with the 6-speed manual. I ended up buying an '05, simply because it was the only one I could find anywhere near Seattle in the 6-8 months that I was looking for one.

And I just can't fathom why Mercedes would discourage people from ordering the manual. On my test drive of the manual, it was an entirely different car from the auto, to the point that my girlfriend, who could really care less about cars in general, noticed and commented that it felt like an entirely different beast.

I am not impressed at all with the 7-speed auto, even when in Sport mode. It just doesn't have the pep and response of the manual, not even close. My manual can do burnouts all day long, I can easily drift corners, and it punches people back in their seats so hard that all my racing friends don't believe it is a naturally-aspirated V6. There is a hugely noticeable difference in torque curve and accelerator response between the auto and manual, and it definitely does not favor the auto.

Also, I have to say that the Mercedes 6-speed manual in my SLK is the finest manual transmission I have ever driven, hands-down. And I have owned a 911 Turbo with the tranny upgraded to a 996/X-50 6-speed. It simply didn't compare. I think it has something to do with the MBZ tranny being a direct-link.

One thing is for sure; when I was looking at the SLK, it was a toss-up for me whether I would go with a BMW 335i convertible, the Porsche Cayman S, or the Mercedes Benz SLK-350/55. One of the primary reasons I chose the SLK was because its manual transmission was hands-down better than either of the other cars, and that is a shocker considering how great Porsche's manuals have always been (IMHO, the best on the market outside of the MBZ 6-speed in my SLK).

Another big plus on the manual transmission with these cars is that it will make them HIGHLY collectible in 15-20 years. The rarity of the transmission combined with the noticeable boost in performance should be a huge bonus for us lucky manual owners down the road.

All that being said, it is remarkably fun to drive into a mountain tunnel with other traffic, drop it into neutral and gun the engine, and watch all the heads turn. These SLKs have the sexiest stock exhaust note I've heard outside of Porsche and Ferrari, and when you get em up to 6,000RPM... holy cow! It makes me smile every time. While you could do this in an auto, it would be rather silly. Real men drive manuals.

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#8 Old 01-05-2009
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Well, in the case I reported above, it is not Mercedes Benz USA that is discouraging people from ordering the manual -- it is the local dealer. He says he can't sell them here. I know the GM of that dealership, and he is motivated by pure profit. Why, if there were a lot of potential customers wanting the SLK 300 manual, his lot would be full of them! I don't know why people around here don't want them. I wonder if it is just a "local thing" here in Oklahoma, or if people from other locations are shunning the manual. It's weird to me.
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#9 Old 01-05-2009
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I think people are just getting lazy, you can't talk on the phone, smoke, drink coffee, etc... & drive a stick. But it's not just MB, most Vipers & Vettes are coming in Autos.
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#10 Old 01-05-2009
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I'm going to quote my father here, even if I do sound like an old fart:

It ain't a sports car if it ain't a stick.
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#11 Old 01-05-2009
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Your father is correct, IMO, and I AM an old fart. It may sound strange, but I wanted the 7 speed auto on our SLK 280 -- but only because I wanted it for a GT car, and we already had a "pure sports car" complete with 6 speed manual. But not everybody wants an SLK for the same purpose and use, so I don't understand why 6 speeds allegedly don't sell.
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#12 Old 01-05-2009
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I also find it odd that Mercedes almost forces people to buy autos, saying it will reduce the resale value if you buy a stick, while the opposite is true with Porsche. With Porsche, they'll warn you that the resale value will drop if you order an auto, and try to talk you out of it. An auto Porsche is worth about 5-10% less (at least) than a manual. If you're talking about collectible Porsches, such as any of the 993s, an automatic transmission will drop the value by over 50% (or perhaps a better way to look at it is that a manual transmission makes a 993 worth more than twice as much).

That's because true driving enthusiasts, especially collectors, will always prefer a manual transmission. It takes more skill, and there are many things you can do in a stick that you just can't do in an auto, no matter how many gadgets and gizmos the manufacturers come up with (like wheel paddles, sport modes, etc).

For instance, you can't force engine braking with an auto. An auto will never shift at exactly the right TIME in an apex, because there is no way to computerize that. And paddles for an unskilled driver will kill you in that situation. An auto, no matter how advanced your TCU is, will never know that some annoying punk in a Corvette has just pulled up next to you and is revving, and that you need it in 4th RIGHT NOW so you can jump on it and embarass the balding middle-aged dentist driving it. Outside of a few custom-built drag-race autos (and the GT-R ), you won't ever find an auto that can properly launch (at over 4k RPM). And even the custom autos and the fancy ones like in the GT-R won't ever properly time the downshift in a corner when you want the rear out next to you. Simply put, the same driver in the same car model with an auto will never keep pace with the manual model on a track. NEVER.

I'm completely unsurprised by Chevy's choice of going automatic in the Corvette. That car was never built to be anything more than a cheap way for a dentist to brag about horsepower to his friends. I've been to many PCA and other track events, and without exception, every single Corvette out there was being driven by some dentist who just couldn't keep up with any other car on the track (I've seen Audi RS4's spanking the hell out of Z06's). What a joke. Just the sight of a Vette makes me cringe, I always feel embarassed for the driver.
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#13 Old 01-05-2009
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Dolebludger View Post
Your father is correct, IMO, and I AM an old fart. It may sound strange, but I wanted the 7 speed auto on our SLK 280 -- but only because I wanted it for a GT car, and we already had a "pure sports car" complete with 6 speed manual. But not everybody wants an SLK for the same purpose and use, so I don't understand why 6 speeds allegedly don't sell.
OK, that situation makes sense. If I wanted the SLK for just a cruiser or GT, it would make sense to go with the auto. And frankly, the SLK would make a great boulevard cruiser or GT.

As to the 6-speed not selling; that isn't true at all. When I was shopping for my SLK, the dealerships were telling me the manuals didn't stay in stock and they were hard to find. One dealership (Phil Smart in Seattle) had two customers already looking for an SLK manual and said they could put me on a list, or try to find one from another dealer elsewhere in the country.

Also, remember, it's the rarer cars that always become more collectible. Around 2030-2040, a 2005 manual SLK-350 in good-to-mint condition will see far more value than the auto. And yes, I DO plan to keep mine that long.
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#14 Old 01-05-2009
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Well, maybe it is just a local thing here that the 6 speed is a slow seller, or maybe my dealer's GM is making an error in judgment. Because, the SLKs that are "upmarket" from my 280 have more power and have the harsher "sports car ride" that would seem to mandate a manual. See, the 280s had 16" wheels and taller aspect tires, coupled with a suspension that was almost as smooth as a sedan, while retaining more "sports car" handling than one would expect. We wanted a little touring car for two, and we got it.

Know what you mean about keeping a car a long time. My somewhat modded S 2000 manual is 7 years old, and still looks and runs like new. My 5 year old C 320 sedan does the same. No plans to trade those any time soon! The '07 SLK 280 seems to be following the same path, so it may be around for decades as well.

What is the ultimate shame to me is no manual on the 55 AMG. If we resolve than manuals are for sports cars, and automatics are for sedans, GTs and such, the 55 AMG sure ain't no GT!
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#15 Old 01-06-2009
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It is truly a shame about the SLK-55.

I can understand offering the automatic as standard and charging extra for the manual, if Mercedes really wants people to use the auto. But I just can't understand forcing people to use an automatic, and not even giving us the option of a manual. It cost Mercedes a purchase from me. I would have bought the SLK-55 but they only sell it with an auto, so I said "no thanks." I'm not a housewife driving with her latte and the lapdog, and I'm not over 60 years of age, thank you very much. I'm a sports-driving "enthusiast" (adrenaline junkie) looking for the ultimate roadster so I can get on with my "British Gentleman" groove while taking care of business on the freeway/track.

Here Mercedes is offering a high-horsepower little roadster that could do some serious damage in its respective class, but will never be taken seriously by sports-driving enthusiasts because it is only offered in the automatic. It's an insult to the AMG badge, frankly. I mentioned the SLK-55 at a PCA meet and that it only comes in auto, and was met with chuckles and looks of disbelief. Exact quote from a buddy of mine: "What do you expect from a company that caters to 60-yr-old housewives?"

It just doesn't make sense. It's like Rolls-Royce selling a $400k Phantom that only comes with a cloth and plastic interior. Or GMC selling a Hummer H1 that only comes with 14" wheels. A high-horsepower roadster with mandatory auto (especially with an AMG badge!) is an oxymoron!!

Perhaps so many years of dilluting the SL bloodline has left Mercedes with only a bunch of non-sports drivers as the SL and SLK's only buying market. Whatever the case, it's sad. You look at the original Gullwing and the early SL's, and they were targeted squarely at the most extreme of the sport-driving enthusiasts. The Mercedes SL was the Ferrari Enzo of the 1950's, it would put a serious hurting on the Porsche Spyder and just about any other sports car on the market. That car was as serious a sports car as you could find in its day. That sadly just isn't the case anymore. Porsche drivers don't look at an SLK (or especially an SL) and think of it as competition. They just think you're some middle-aged fart putting down to Starbucks trying to impress other people with your "wealth." An auto tranny definitely doesn't help with that image.

I really want that SLK-55, but there's no way I'm buying it with an automatic transmission. We SLK owners really need to start a petition. Perhaps if Mercedes heard enough interest from current SLK owners, they might consider at least adding the manual to the SLK-55 as an option.
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#16 Old 01-06-2009
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PS - Am I really the ONLY slk driver that just gets total chubb thinking about doing powerstands in the SLK-55? That would freakin rawk!!
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#17 Old 01-06-2009
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You, sir, are not alone. If I were considering a car with the power and price of a 55 AMG -- and the pure sporting purpose of its suspension, I would be hard pressed to shell out my $ for one with an automatic. For a less powerful and considerably less expensive 280 or 300 -- for touring purposes, the automatic is fine, and even preferable to me.
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